Guides from Other Organizations

We've collected many of our favorite guides, published by organizations devoted to early literacy, teaching reading and writing, reading interventions, dyslexia, and other literacy topics. Guides written especially for families can be found in the Parent Engagement section below.

About Reading

The Joy and Power of Reading

This summary of research and expert opinion highlights the importance of reading volume, access and exposure to print materials and books, reader choice and variety, and reading aloud to developing readers. (Scholastic)

Literacy Resource Guide for Families and Educators

This guide highlights the enormous amount of literacy resources available from the U.S. Department of Education through its clearinghouses, networks, projects, and partnerships. (Parents' PLACE and the U.S. Department of Education)

Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read

This 64-page booklet summarizes what National Reading Panel researchers have discovered about how to teach children to read successfully. Clearly written and well organized, the guide lists the main research findings related to phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension and suggests best instructional practices in each area. (Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement and the National Institute for Literacy)

Afterschool & Community Programs

Accelerating Achievement Through Summer Learning

This resource is for program providers, education leaders, policymakers, and funders who are making important decisions about whether and how to strengthen and expand summer learning programs as a way to accelerate student achievement. In addition to 13 case studies of diverse program models, the report includes a look at key research on what works in summer learning and an overview of supportive state policies. (National Summer Learning Association)


Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making

This guide offers five recommendations to help educators effectively use data to monitor students' academic progress and evaluate instructional practices. The guide recommends that schools set a clear vision for schoolwide data use, develop a data-driven culture, and make data part of an ongoing cycle of instructional improvement. The guide also recommends teaching students how to use their own data to set learning goals. (U.S. Department of Education)

A Comprehensive K-3 Reading Assessment Plan: Guidance for School Leaders

This guide provides valuable information for school leaders as they develop a comprehensive assessment plan as a critical element for preventing reading difficulties. The general principles outlined in this document, such as the early identification of students who are struggling in learning to read, are all based on scientific findings, but the detailed recommendations for implementation derived from practical experiences in helping many school leaders implement successful plans. (Center on Instruction at RMC Research Corporation)

Curriculum and Instruction

Supporting Student Success Through Time and Technology

With this step-by-step guide, learn how to successfully implement blended learning and expanded learning time at your school. The first part of the guide profiles six expanded learning time schools across the country that have implemented blended learning for various purposes, in various ways, and with varying degrees of success. The second part of the guide offers a seven-step roadmap for planning and implementation, based on the experiences of the six schools profiled in part 1, along with insights from blended learning and expanded learning time experts. (National Center for Time and Learning)

Using Instructional Routines to Differentiate Instruction: A Guide for Teachers

This publication helps educators plan differentiated instruction using 72 formatted activities called Instructional Routines, which provide a structure for teaching specific foundational reading skills. (Center on Instruction at RMC Research Corporation)

Student Center Activities Aligned to the Common Core State Standards

This publication helps educators create differentiated reading instruction experiences for their students by showing the relationship between two distinct resources: Student Center Activities, created by the Florida Center for Reading Research for K–5 classroom teachers as differentiated reading activities for use in small student groups, and the Common Core State Standards. (Center on Instruction at RMC Research Corporation)

Why Teach Spelling?

This resource is a compilation of three documents that support the teaching of spelling in today's schools: a discussion of "Why Spelling Instruction Matters," a checklist for evaluating a spelling program, and tables of Common Core State Standards that are linked to spelling instruction. For your convenience, we have also included a Word formatted file of the checklist that is downloadable for use in evaluating your own spelling program. (Center on Instruction at RMC Research Corporation)

Building the Foundation: A Suggested Progression of Sub-skills to Achieve the Reading Standards: Foundational Skills in the Common Core State Standards

This document contains five sections, each targeting one grade level in: Print Concepts, Phonological Awareness, Phonics and Word Recognition, and Fluency. It also includes instructional examples aligned to the sub-skills, giving teachers samples of activity types that facilitate acquisition of the sub-skills. Each chart includes up to three grade levels to inform instruction for students who are either struggling and need extra support or intervention, or for students performing above grade-level expectations and require enrichment, to allow a teacher to see which skills should have been mastered in the previous year and what students are preparing for in the upcoming years. (Center on Instruction at RMC Research Corporation)

Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade

Students who read with understanding at an early age gain access to a broader range of texts, knowledge, and educational opportunities, making early reading comprehension instruction particularly critical. This guide recommends five specific steps that teachers, reading coaches, and principals can take to successfully improve reading comprehension for young readers. (U.S. Department of Education)

Educator's Guide: Identifying What Works for Struggling Readers

This report published on the Best Evidence Encyclopedia (BEE) website provides an extensive review of the research on the outcomes of 27 early childhood programs. Six of the programs produced strong evidence of effectiveness in language, literacy, and/or phonological awareness. All of the effective programs had explicit academic content, a balance of teacher-led and child-initiated activity, and significant training and follow-up support. (Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education)

Teaching Reading IS Rocket Science

This report discusses the current state of teacher preparation in reading. It reviews the reading research and describes the knowledge base that is essential for teacher candidates and practicing teachers to master if they are to be successful in teaching all children to read well. (American Federation of Teachers)

Differentiated Instruction

Milestone Moments: Learn the Signs. Act Early.

This booklet provides parents with a checklist of key cognitive and physical milestones from 6 months to 4 years, ways to help your child learn and grow, and what to do if you're concerned about a developmental delay. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Getting Ready for School Begins at Birth

This 12-page booklet for parents and caregivers describes key skill areas children need to develop to become lifelong enthusiastic learners and what adults can do to support that development. (Zero to Three)

Teaching Our Youngest: A Guide for Preschool Teachers and Child Care and Family Providers

This guide draws from research to provide practical tips to foster children's language abilities, increase their knowledge, help them become familiar with books and other printed materials, learn letters and sounds, and recognize numbers and learn to count. (Early Childhood-Head Start Task Force)

English Language Learners

Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School

This practice guide provides four recommendations that address what works for English learners during reading and content area instruction. Each recommendation includes extensive examples of activities that can be used to support students as they build the language and literacy skills needed to be successful in school. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence. (What Works Clearinghouse, U.S. Department of Education)

Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners in the Elementary Grades

The target audience for this guide is a broad spectrum of school practitioners such as administrators, curriculum specialists, coaches, staff development specialists and teachers who face the challenge of providing effective literacy instruction for English language learners in the elementary grades. The guide also aims to reach district-level administrators who develop practice and policy options for their schools. (U.S. Department of Education)

Intervention and Prevention

Intensive Interventions for Students Struggling in Reading and Mathematics

This publication provides research-based guidance that reflects "best practices" for intensifying instruction in reading and mathematics for students with significant learning difficulties in K-12, including students with disabilities. (Center on Instruction at RMC Research Corporation)

A Parent's Guide to Response to Intervention (RTI)

This guide for parents provides basic information about Response to Intervention (RTI), an example of the three-tier model, progress monitoring, RTI and special education evaluation and eligibility, RTI in action, and questions parents should ask. (National Center for Learning Disabilities)

Assisting Students Struggling with Reading: Response to Intervention (RtI) and Multi-Tier Intervention in the Primary Grades

This guide offers five specific recommendations to help educators identify struggling readers and implement evidence-based strategies to promote their reading achievement. Teachers and reading specialists can utilize these strategies to implement RtI and multi-tier intervention methods and frameworks at the classroom or school level. Recommendations cover how to screen students for reading problems, design a multi-tier intervention program, adjust instruction to help struggling readers, and monitor student progress. (U.S. Department of Education)

Extensive Reading Interventions in Grades K-3

This synthesis of research on K-3 reading interventions presents findings from 12 studies that focused on students with reading difficulties who received supplementary reading interventions for at least 100 sessions. The summaries of the studies are followed by suggested implications for practice. (Center on Instruction at RMC Research Corporation)

Learning Disabilities

IDA Handbook: What Every Family Should Know

This handbook not only contains invaluable information like the characteristics of dyslexia, what it is and what it isn’t, but also provides information on valid assessments, effective teaching approaches, self-advocacy ideas and a vast array of resources. Further, the handbook contains information that will be useful throughout a child’s life, from elementary school through college. (International Dyslexia Association)

The Dyslexia Toolkit

This guide for parents provides basic information about dyslexia, common warning signs, and information on how to support your child with dyslexia at home and at school, using audio books and digital books, and accommodating students with dyslexia. (National Center for Learning Disabilities)

Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teaching of Reading

These standards provide an evidence-based framework for course content in teacher training programs and instructional reading programs. Written for general educators and specialists, the standards address the needs of all students–students with dyslexia, students struggling with learning to read, and proficient readers. The standards are not a curriculum; they list critical content knowledge, skills, and abilities — the foundation for good reading instruction. They can also be used to help parents select and advocate for effective teaching methods. (International Dyslexia Association)

Parent Guide to IDEA

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the key federal education law that serves students with LD. Being informed will help you support your child’s learning needs and advocate for his or her success. This guide takes you through the special education process — a process that is the same regardless of your child’s particular difficulties or disabilities. Along the way, special emphasis is placed on the category of specific learning disability — only one of the thirteen disability categories defined by IDEA. Throughout this guide you will find personal stories that relate the experiences of parents like you, terms to know, and practical tools such as checklists, sample letters, and questions to ask. (National Center for Learning Disabilities)

Tool Kit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilities

A compilation of current information that will move states forward in improving results for all students with disabilities. The Tool Kit will be added to over time to include more information designed to support states’ efforts and to communicate the results of research on teaching, learning, and assessments. (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs)

Parent Engagement

Bringing Attendance Home: Engaging Parents in Preventing Chronic Absence

Created with the help of practitioners who have worked successfully with families to improve attendance, this toolkit is filled with ideas, activities and materials that you can use to spark conversations with parents about how good attendance can help them fulfill their dreams and aspirations for their children’s futures. (Attendance Works)

Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships

This guide presents a new framework for designing family engagement initiatives that build capacity among educators and families to partner with one another around student success. Based in existing research and best practices, it is designed to act as a scaffold for the development of family engagement strategies, policies, and programs that are linked to student achievement and school improvement. (Southwest Educational Development Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Education)

Home-to-School Connections Guide

This classroom resource guide highlights solutions for connecting home and school in order to improve student learning and success. Whether you're a teacher, parent, or district administrator, this guide provides you with relevant and valuable tools and resources for how best to strengthen the bonds between schools, families, and communities for student learning and success. (Edutopia)

Parent-Teacher Conference Tip Sheets for Principals, Teachers and Parents

Parent–teacher conferences are an important component of ongoing home-school communication and family involvement in children's education. These three tip sheets for principals, teachers, and parents can help ensure that conferences achieve their maximum potential. Designed to be used as a set, the tip sheets combine consistent information with targeted suggestions, so that parents and educators enter conferences with shared expectations and increased ability to work together to improve children's educational outcomes. (Harvard Family Research Project)

Pathways to Success

This brochure offers families advice on helping children succeed in school. It includes academic tips in each core subject from prekindergarten through grade 12, and provides handy information for parents and guardians on many of the key issues affecting their children's education. Topics include vocational education, the No Child Left Behind Act, standards and testing, and resources for English language learners and students with disabilities. (American Federation of Teachers)

Dad's Playbook: Coaching Kids to Read

By taking the time to read to and with their children, fathers can play an important role in helping children learn to read. Dad's Playbook tells the stories of 20 dads from different walks of life who are giving their kids the best shot at a bright future by helping them learn to read. This publication also teaches dads about the five skills children need to be readers by third grade and helps dads incorporate reading into everyday activities. (National Institute for Literacy, The Partnership for Reading)

Shining Stars: Get Ready to Read

Parents are a child's first and most important teacher. This series of booklets gives parents easy-to-adapt ideas on how to help their young child get ready to read. Each booklet includes a story that models effective ways to introduce books and reading to a young child, suggested activities, and a checklist to guide parents as they think about their child's reading skills. (National Institute for Literacy, Partnership for Reading)

A Child Becomes a Reader II: Kindergarten through Grade Three

This booklet offers advice for parents of children from grades K-3 on how to support reading development at home and how to recognize effective instruction in their children's classrooms. (National Institute for Literacy, The Partnership for Reading)

Helping Your Child Become a Reader

This 60-page booklet features dozens of fun activities parents can use to build the language skills of young children from birth to age 6. It has a reading checklist, typical language accomplishments for different age groups, and resources for children with reading problems or learning disabilities. (U.S. Department of Education)

A Child Becomes a Reader I: Birth to Preschool

Researchers have found that children begin to learn reading and writing at home, long before they go to school. This booklet summarizes the most important research findings, defines important terms, and lists reading skills that kids at different ages are developing. (National Institute for Literacy, The Partnership for Reading)

Reading Tips for Parents

This publication offers practical ideas parents can use to help get their children ready to read and strengthen their reading skills. It lists guidelines for identifying a good early reading program, and describes the five essential components of reading. A brief sketch of the No Child Left Behind law is also included. (U.S. Department of Education)

Put Reading First: Helping Your Child Learn to Read: A Parent Guide, Preschool through Grade 3

This brochure describes the National Reading Panel's findings on how to help children learn to read. Designed for parents, it lists the most important things parents should see teachers doing at school, and gives suggestions for how to help a child at home. (National Institute for Literacy, Partnership for Reading)

A Compact for Reading

A Compact for Reading is a written agreement among families, teachers, principals, and students to work together to improve the reading skills of kindergarten through third grade students. The guide helps individuals set reading goals. The School-Home Links Reading Kits are a collection of research-based activities designed to help families reinforce the reading and language arts skills that their children are learning at school. (U.S. Department of Education)

Encouraging Your Child to Read

This booklet outlines the reading and language skills that children develop at different ages and suggests activities to help develop these skills — activities that every family can try and that are fun for both caregivers and children. (Harvard Graduate School of Education)

Policy, Politics, Statistics

Accelerating Achievement Through Summer Learning

This resource is for program providers, education leaders, policymakers, and funders who are making important decisions about whether and how to strengthen and expand summer learning programs as a way to accelerate student achievement. In addition to 13 case studies of diverse program models, the report includes a look at key research on what works in summer learning and an overview of supportive state policies. (National Summer Learning Association)

School-Wide Efforts

Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice

This guide describes the skills that principals leading schools serving children from age 3 to age 8 — typically Pre-K-3 — must have to ensure the academic, social, emotional and physical well-being and success of all young children. It represents a new vision for school leadership from a child-centered focus by applying the latest research and knowledge on child development and early childhood education to set expectations for effective principal practice. (National Association of Elementary School Principals)

Teaching Attendance: Everyday Strategies to Help Teachers Improve Attendance and Raise Achievement

This teacher toolkit is designed to help teachers build a culture of attendance in the school and community, and maintain it throughout the school year. (Attendance Works)

Summer Reading

Accelerating Achievement Through Summer Learning

This resource is for program providers, education leaders, policymakers, and funders who are making important decisions about whether and how to strengthen and expand summer learning programs as a way to accelerate student achievement. In addition to 13 case studies of diverse program models, the report includes a look at key research on what works in summer learning and an overview of supportive state policies. (National Summer Learning Association)

Getting a Head Start on the Common Core

This report describes how education leaders can use summer programs to stop summer learning loss, and build student and staff capacity to succeed in the new Common Core environment. Part of the "Putting Summer to Work" series. (Partnership for Children & Youth)


A Guide to Teaching Nonfiction Writing

The Common Core Standards along with grade-level expectations and standards from most states now call for a strong emphasis on reading and writing nonfiction texts — from the beginning. This means that learners of all ages need to become acquainted with the structures and features of informational texts, both as readers and as writers. This guide offers strategies for using those features to enhance understanding and increase efficiency in seeking and recording information and to communicate ideas. (Heinemann)

Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers

This practice guide offers educators specific, evidence-based recommendations that address the challenge of teaching writing in elementary school. The guide provides four recommendations: provide daily time for student writing; teach students to use the writing process for a variety of purposes; teach students to become fluent with handwriting, spelling, sentence construction, typing and word processing; and create an engaged community of writers. (What Works Clearinghouse, U.S. Department of Education)

"I'm wondering what to read next." — Matilda, Roald Dahl