An Early Reading
Scope and Sequence
using the The Tolman Hourglass 
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The Tolman Hourglass was created by Dr.Carol Tolman to describe a scope and sequence for teaching children to read using research evidence.

Dr. Tolman describes this through the visual representation of an hourglass to assist teachers and other professionals understand why and how certain skills build sequentially. 

She begins by describing Seidenberg and McClelland's Four Part Processor model (1989) that describes the 4 active processes that occur in the reading brain: phonological, orthographic, meaning, and context and how these help us to understand the skills required for learning to read.

Videos below include an overview of the Tolman Hourglass Scope and Sequence and four further videos that go into more detail. 

Carol Tolman, Ed.D, was awarded a doctorate in Educational Psychology with a concentration in literacy and has been a consultant at the state, district, and school levels in the US for over 15 years. Prior to earning her doctorate, Dr. Tolman was a classroom teacher and Special Educator with more than 25 years of experience in public schools at the elementary and secondary levels. She spent 12 of those years designing and implementing an innovative, exemplary reading clinic for academically challenged middle and high school students. Dr. Tolman has published Working Smarter, Not Harder: What Teachers of Reading Need to Know and Be Able to Do and The Relationship between Teacher Knowledge and Effective RtI: When we Know Better, we Do Better (IDA Perspectives). Carol is co-author of LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) Presenter’s Kits, co-author of LETRS Modules 1, 2nd Edition, co-author of LETRS Module 10, 2nd Edition, and co-author with Dr. Louisa Moats of the LETRS 3rd Edition series of text and on-line supports for teachers of reading and spelling. 


For more on Dr. Carol Tolman, visit:


Overview of the Tolman Hourglass Scope and Sequence

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Understand what needs to be taught using The Tolman Hourglass

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The Top of the Tolman Hourglass:

Phonological Awareness

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The Bottom of the Tolman Hourglass: Orthography

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Connecting Assessment to the Tolman Hourglass

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