The ability to read is a fundamental component of success in school and life. While reading at all grade levels is essential, third grade is observed as the gateway when students are expected to move beyond “learning to read” and begin “reading to learn.” Research shows reading successfully by the end of third grade is a significant predictor of school success. Early reading difficulties link to long-term consequences, such as dropping out of school.

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Iowa Code 279.68 and Iowa Administrative Code 281-62 promote effective evidence-based programming, instruction, and assessment practices across schools to support all students to become proficient readers by the end of the third grade. General requirements are:

  • Provision of universal screening in reading for students in kindergarten through third grade
  • Progress monitoring for students who are at risk and persistently at risk in reading
  • Provision of intensive instruction – including 90 minutes daily of scientific, research-based reading instruction - for students who are persistently at risk in reading
  • Notice to parents that a student is persistently at risk in reading, including strategies the parents can use at home to help the child succeed
  • Notice to parents of such a student’s subsequent progress
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Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan Support Site

A repository of tools and resources to support the work aligned to Iowa's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan.

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The purpose of the guidance documents are to aid Iowa’s public school districts in (1) interpreting and implementing Iowa Code 279.68, and (2) determining how best to use the funds provided by this code.

  1. Early Literacy Guidance (2018-03-30) provides the specific requirements and permitted actions by public school districts, frequently asked questions, and definition of terms.
  2. Early Literacy Technical Assistance Appendices (2020-01-06) are to be used as companion technical assistance to Iowa’s official guidance for 279.68. This document will be continually updated throughout the year, and revised versions will be highlighted for the user. Appendices are organized by topic:
    • Appendix A: Assessment: Universal Screening and Progress Monitoring - Appendix A lists the approved tools for universal screening and progress monitoring and includes information on the universal screening window, benchmarks, and using another approved assessment for individual students.
    • Appendix BContinuous Improvement - Appendix B contains tools for systemic reflection to be used within a collaborative inquiry process. These tools initially focus on the analysis of universal screening and progress monitoring data within early literacy.
    • Appendix C: Data Reporting - Appendix C provides technical assistance for the data reporting requirements of ELI, updates to procedures for reporting data, and tips to navigate the state supported data system and assessments.
    • Appendix D: Early Childhood - Appendix D includes information about preschool and kindergarten, GOLD and IGDIs data, Iowa Core and Iowa Early Learning Standards, and programming decisions that impact assessment, curriculum, and instruction.
    • Appendix E: Finance - Appendix F contains ELI Budget Guidance, application for funds, and budget contact information.
    • Appendix F: Intensive Intervention and Core Instruction - ;Appendix F includes resources on the intensification of instruction, a list of reviewed interventions and criteria, links to the Iowa Reading Research Center pertaining to core instruction, and tools for determining intervention success for students and systems (return-on-investment).
    • Appendix GParent/Guardian Notification - Appendix G contains links to example parent/guardian letters, contracts, and meeting guidance, as well as the link to the Parent (Guardian) Resources tab within the Iowa Reading Research Center website.
    • Appendix HPersistently at Risk - Appendix H contains the technical assistance documents to support teacher observation and portfolio review as well as resources to understand literacy status (Adequately Progressing, At Risk, and Persistently at Risk) and multiple graphic displays of “how-to-think-about” missing or incomplete data.
    • Appendix I: Specific Student Populations - Appendix I will provide technical assistance regarding specific student populations, including special education students, students with disabilities, students who are blind/visually impaired and deaf/hard of hearing, English learners, non-public students, homeschool (dual-enrolled/HSAP) students, students with dyslexia, and students whose parents/guardians wish to refuse assessment and/or intervention.
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Support Materials

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Parent/Guardian Letters

ELI Parent/Guardian Letters

Image based languages were required to be posted as PDF. Schools can hand enter the student information or use Adobe Pro to complete the letters. All other languages are posted as Word documents that can be downloaded and individualized directly.

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2021-2022 ELI Allocations

2022-2023 ELI Allocations

2023-2024 ELI Allocations

2024-2025 ELI Allocations (available September 2024)

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