This review focuses on interventions or practices designed to help children in kindergarten through third grade learn to develop skills that are considered foundational to developing solid reading abilities. The following research question guides this review: “Which instructional practices improve beginning readers’ foundational reading skills?” Specific recommendations in the guide will center on questions like:
- Should phonemic awareness always be introduced in the context of letters?
- How can teachers boost students’ oral language skills so as to improve their reading for understanding?
- What words and strategies should I include in teaching vocabulary?
- Does explicit, systematic phonics instruction mean skills are to be taught in isolation?
- Can foundational reading skills be taught embedded in meaningful context?
- What kind of text supports the teaching of beginning reading skills?
The guide will account for the teaching of foundational reading skills at different elementary grade levels by describing how to adapt practices for students in different grades and by focusing some recommendations on the teaching of foundational reading skills at specific grade levels.