You are here

Trail to Summit: Program and Materials

Online Training Resources

Trail to Summit: Instructional Framework and Materials

Trail to Summit Reading is an instructional framework provided by the Colorado Department of Education to help readers who struggle with accurate and automatic word reading. Studies indicate when students fall behind in beginning reading, they rarely catch up on their own – but we change that by using a highly structured framework that focuses on critical word recognition skills. Trail to Summit can be used as a tutoring program or across Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III settings to complement existing programming or to bolster or enhance existing programming.

The framework breaks word reading and spelling into smaller skills involving letters and sounds. It is a phonetically based, sequential, structured approach that uses multisensory techniques. The Trail to Summit framework teaches the sounds of the English language and their corresponding symbols, spelling rules and generalizations, syllable types, syllable division patterns, and basic morphology skills. The framework uses a specific order of introduction to reading skills based on how we learn language. The lessons are structured to include the same basic parts for each meeting: phonological awareness skills, phonics and word study skills, spelling, and application through oral reading.


Trail to Summit Logo, mountains and sun

Trail to Summit Framework

The linked pdf is a 250+ page document that includes a framework overview, assessing where to start with a student, the essential parts of a lesson plan, and a systematic scope and sequence. Each lesson includes a phonemic awareness warmup, phoneme-grapheme flashcard activities, a review of past learning, a lesson of the day, practice with the new concept, spelling activities, and practice reading connected text. 


Scope and Sequence

The Trail to Summit scope and sequence is split into three levels or trails: Trail to Sunshine Peak, Trail to Pikes Peak, and Trail to Mount Elbert. As students progress through the trails, they are building their decoding skills and phonics knowledge in a logical manner where new learning is building upon previous learning starting with the most basic concepts and then moving to more complex concepts.  


Blank Lesson Plan Template 

Blank lesson plans to fill out using the appropriate order of introduction as laid out in the scope and sequence. Each lesson plan has eight components and a place to note areas of strength, areas of weakness, and concepts to be revisited.


Student Response Template

Blank student response templates are used for students to record their responses to lesson plan activities. Filing student responses with past lesson plans makes progress tracking easy.  


Phoneme-Grapheme Cards

The phoneme-grapheme cards are used to introduce new letter sounds and are used in the flashcard fluency and blending activities. Phoneme-grapheme correspondences are introduced in the order described in the scope and sequence. As new correspondences are introduced, the new flashcards are included in the fluency and blending activities.  


Consonant Blend Cards

Once consonant blends are introduced, these cards can be added to the fluency and blending activities. It's important for students to understand that in blends with two graphemes, each grapheme represents a sound. Example: 'bl' represents two sounds /b/ +/l/ that blend together. 


Morpheme Cards

Students will learn about morphemes or units of meaning within words. These units of meaning maintain distinct spelling patterns that can be helpful in word recognition. Learning the meaning of morphemes also helps to build vocabulary skills and aid in reading comprehension.


Decodable Booklists

This page includes three lists of decodable books for checkout from Colorado Public Libraries. Some of the books on the lists contain more easily decodable features than others. You will want to match the books with the concepts your student is learning. If there are a few instances of words with more complex patterns, preview the words before reading and help the student read those words. It's important to make sure that students are not guessing at these words and know they include patterns that they have not yet learned but will soon learn about.

Decodable Text Passages From UFLI

Decodable passages from the UFLI Foundations Toolbox can be used in conjunction with Trail to Summit materials. Check the concept for each decodable text and align it with the concept being practiced to ensure that students are utilizing the skills that have been taught.