A new What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) practice guide focuses on the foundational reading skills that enable students to read words, relate those words to their oral language, and read connected text with sufficient accuracy and fluency to understand what they read.
The authors conducted a thorough literature search, identified studies that met protocol requirements, and then reviewed those studies against WWC standards. The review focused on studies published since 2000. The guide, Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade, provides four recommendations that can be used to improve literacy skills from kindergarten to third grade (Years 1–4). Each recommendation is assigned a level of evidence based on the quantity and quality of the research:
Teach students academic language skills, including the use of inferential and narrative language, and vocabulary knowledge (minimal evidence)
Develop awareness of the segments of sounds in speech and how they link to letters (strong evidence)
Teach students to decode words, analyse word parts, and write and recognise words (strong evidence)
Ensure that each student reads connected text every day to support reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension (moderate evidence)