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Foundational Reading, Comprehension, and Motivation


Closing in on Close Reading - Describes three practices that bring close reading to the lower grades.

Get Close to Think Deeply: Creating Primary-Level Close Readings - Plan for and implement close readings (Grades 1-3).

Improving Reading Comprehension (Grades K-3) - Recommends five specific steps to improve reading comprehension for young readers.

Reading for Meaning - Utilize a research-based strategy that helps all readers build the skills that proficient readers use to make sense of challenging texts.

Reciprocal Teaching for the Primary Grades: "We Can Do It, Too!" - Teaches students to work in small groups to coordinate the use of four comprehension strategies: prediction, clarification, summarization, and student-generated questions.

Seven Strategies to Teach Students Text Comprehension - Access sets of steps that good readers use to make sense of texts.

Uncovering Text Structure in the Early Grades - Help students unpack meaning, understand the content, and remember what they have read by teaching the structure of literary and informational texts.

What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide: Improving Reading Comprehension (K-3) - Offers five specific steps that educators can take to improve reading comprehension for young readers.


Achieve the Core’s Fluency Packets - Utilize sets of materials uniquely designed to address the skills needed to read fluently in Grades 2-3. Read three short Aligned blog posts, which provide a foundational understanding of fluency.

Foundational Reading 

Center on Instruction Building the Foundation - Offers a suggested progression of sub-skills to achieve the Reading Standards.

Florida Center for Reading Research - Offers student centered activities developed by teachers for use in PK-5 classrooms.

Literacy Essential Professional Development Modules - Provides professional learning to develop a deeper understanding of Literacy Essentials.

Iowa Reading Research Center Resources - Provides opportunities to teach and provide student practice opportunities for various reading and writing skills, as well as offering other guidance and information through a variety of literacy resources listed below.

Reading Rockets - Access a library of effective, research-based classroom strategies to build and strengthen literacy skills in print awareness, phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing.

What Works Clearinghouse: Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding (Grades K-3) - Provides an evidence-based educator practice guide.

Foster Children’s Motivation

Reading: What Else Matters Besides Strategies and Skills? - Explores important elements of reading development.

Simple Practices to Nurture the Motivation to Read -Covers self-selection, the read-aloud, building a balanced book collection, making one’s passions public, and providing rewards that demonstrate the value of reading.

Teacher Practices that Impact Reading Motivation - Use Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI) or practices to encourage engagement.


Effective Vocabulary Instruction - Find out more about the relationship between vocabulary and comprehension, and practical ways that parents can introduce new words to their kids.

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Informational and Literary Texts

Informational Texts

Building World Knowledge: Motivating Children to Read and Enjoy Informational Text - Find three techniques to help children become familiar with the language and structure of nonfiction books.

How to Teach Expository Text Structure to Facilitate Reading Comprehension - Offers ways to help students analyze expository text structures and pull apart the text to uncover the main idea and supporting details.

Improve-A-Text Technique - Engage children in adding to a published text to make it better.

Question the Author Strategy - Identifies specific steps to follow during a question the author lesson.

Using Compare-Contrast Text Structures with ELs in K-3 Classrooms - Offers strategies for young learners, and is particularly helpful to EL students. 

Literary Texts

Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA) - Guides students in asking questions about a text, making predictions, and then reading to confirm or refute their predictions. 

ELA/Reading Literature Teaching and Learning Strategies - Find strategies that connect the CCSS to best practices.

Story Retelling - Highlights a unit of study for K-3 classrooms.

Summarizing - Teach students how to discern the most important ideas in a text, how to ignore irrelevant information, and how to integrate the central ideas in a meaningful way.

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Text Complexity

Navigating Text Complexity - Provides a curated collection of text complexity resources, tools and research.

Promote Deep Thinking! How to Choose a Complex Text (Grades 1-3) - Explore the various factors that contribute to complexity.

Text-Dependent Questions

Depend on the Text! How to Create Text-Dependent Questions (Grades 1-3) - Learn how to prepare questions that challenge students to think at deeper levels each time they do a close reading.

QAR Questions and Answers by Type - Use this guide when planning and teaching students the Question Answer Relationship (QAR).

ReadWorks: Passages and Text-Dependent Questions (Grades K-3) - Create a free account to access passages and text-dependent questions.

Text-Dependent Questions in Action in the Early Grades - Illuminates the skill that requires students to read closely and provide text-based evidence in action. 

Text Discussion

The Power of Interactive Read Alouds - Read about how dialogic discussions provide opportunities for children to develop their use of new vocabulary in a meaningful way, make connections between new and previously-learned information, and learn literary elements. Utilize a Dialogic Reading Planning Form.

Text Discussion in Elementary School - Facilitate whole-group, small-group, or partner text discussions to engage students with a text.

Text Sets

Teaching the Iowa Core (Grades 3-12) Reading Standards - Find a list of helpful websites for locating books to build text sets.

Text Sets: One Theme, Several Books (Grades K-1) - Read a blog that offers ideas and resources for developing text sets.

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