IES Practice Guide: Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade

by Marianne Dudek

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U. S. Department of Education publishes frequent practice guides in education providing the available evidence and expertise on current challenges in the educational field. The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) develops these practice guides in conjunction with an expert panel, combining the panel’s expertise with the findings of rigorous research, concluding with recommendations for addressing these challenges. The strength of the research evidence supports their recommendations and answers the question, “What works in education?”. These practice guides typically include 3-5 evidence-based recommendations that can be implemented in a school setting with little or no cost and are designed to align to the school’s standards.

One of the most recently published guides is Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade, which can be used with a previously published companion guide Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade. Together these practice guides make recommendations for preparing students to be successful readers. In addition to the practice guide, there is a Professional Learning Communities Facilitator’s Guide, and a Professional Learning Communities Participant’s Activities Guide that support the document and assists professional learning communities in applying evidence-based strategies to help K-3 students acquire both language and literacy skills. The practice guides confirm the findings of the National Reading Panel, recommend the importance of oral language and encourage the integration of reading and language skills.

In the above-mentioned practice guide, the recommendations made are:

Recommendation 1: Teach students academic language skills, including the use of inferential and narrative language and vocabulary knowledge.

Recommendation 2: Develop awareness of the segments of sound sin speech and how they link to letters.

Recommendation 3: Teach students to decode words, analyze word parts, and write and recognize words.

Recommendation 4: Ensure that each student reads connected text every day to support reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.

For additional information please visit the website:

For the practice guide:

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