Literacy

Accessibility Guidelines: Selecting, Administering, and Evaluating Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment
This document addresses accommodation selection and accessibility decisions for instruction and statewide assessment. The action steps serve as a reference to guide the process of selecting, administering, and evaluating instructional accommodations for use by English Learners, students with disabilities, and EL students with disabilities.
Publication Date: November 2021
Publisher: Arizona Department of Education

AEM Center Brief: The Right of Students with Disabilities Who Need Accessible Educational Materials to Receive These Materials in a Timely Manner
The purpose of this brief is to help families and educators understand the right of students with disabilities who need accessible educational materials to receive these materials in a timely manner. This right is based on provisions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as in the disability civil rights statutes Section 504 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Author: Joanne Karger
Publication Date: 2021
Publisher: National Center on Accessible Educational Materials

Comprehension Strategies
This webpage provides several videos and supplemental materials. See an overview of each strategy, expert interviews about comprehension strategies, and how the strategies work in a classroom.
Publisher: WestEd

Connecting Word Meanings Through Semantic Mapping
This article explains several semantic maps or graphic organizers to help students, especially struggling students and those with disabilities, to identify, understand, and recall the meaning of words they read in the text.
Authors: Judy Zorfass and Tracy Gray
Publication Date: 2014
Publisher: PowerUp WHAT WORKS at the American Institutes for Research

Content Area and Disciplinary Literacy Strategies and Frameworks
This document defines the terms content area literacy and disciplinary literacy and their distinct approaches, what they mean, and how they are best combined in classroom literacy instruction.
Publication Date: 2017
Publisher: International Literacy Association

CSR: A Reading Comprehension Strategy
This module outlines Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR), a strategy for helping students to improve their reading comprehension skills. Students work together in small groups to apply comprehension strategies as they read text from a content area, such as social studies or science.
Publication Date: 2022
Publisher: IRIS Center, Vanderbilt University

Deeper Learning for Students with Disabilities
This report reviews previous efforts to promote better educational outcomes for students with disabilities. We also describe research-based instructional strategies that can support them and other struggling learners and the kinds of policies and local resources needed to ensure that all young people have meaningful opportunities to learn deeply and become truly prepared to succeed in college, careers, and civic life.
Authors: Sharon Vaughn, Louis Danielson, Rebecca Zumeta, and Lynn Holdheide
Publication Date: August 2015
Publisher: Students at the Center and Jobs for the Future

Differentiated Instruction: Maximizing the Learning of All Students
This module discusses the importance of differentiating three aspects of instruction: content, process or instructional methods, and product or assessment. It explores the student traits of readiness level, interest, and learning preferences that influence learning.
Publication Date: 2022
Publisher: IRIS Center Vanderbilt University

Digital Frayer Model: Supporting Vocabulary Acquisition With Technology and UDL
This article explores how an explicitly taught instructional practice that integrates an evidence-based practice with technology impacts vocabulary acquisition for students with learning disabilities. It describes an assistive digital spin on the Frayer model and examines how co-teachers can collaboratively use UDL to reduce barriers and address learner variability in an inclusive classroom setting.
Authors: Robin Dazzeo and Kavita Rao
Publication Date: June 2020
Publisher: TEACHING Exceptional Children

Do You See What I Mean? Visual Literacy Supports for Students with Disabilities
Many learners with disabilities are visual learners and are best able to understand and remember content when they can see it represented in some way; in other words, they need to “see what we mean.” This article describes picture books, graphic notes, and story kits, three visual supports helpful for teaching and supporting literacy development.
Author: Paula Kluth
Publication Date: 2017
Publisher: Reading Rockets

Enhancing Science Vocabulary Knowledge of Students With Learning Disabilities Using Explicit Instruction and Multimedia
This study investigated the use of a multimedia tool to determine its efficacy in supporting science vocabulary growth among middle-school students with high-incidence disabilities such as learning disabilities. The results demonstrated positive science assessment outcomes.
Authors: Victoria VanUitert, Michael Kennedy, John Elwood Romig, and Lindsay M. Carlisle
Publication Date: 2020
Publisher: Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal

Evidence-Based Practices for Vocabulary Instruction
Vocabulary acquisition is a critical component of learning as students advance through school and engage with a range of subject-specific concepts and ideas. Content area teachers can support students’ development in vocabulary by using a cohesive set of instructional practices, such as Strategies for Reading Information and Vocabulary Effectively (STRIVE) explained in this brief.
Publication Date: 2020
Publisher: Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk and University of Texas at Austin

Exploring Digital Literacy Practices in an Inclusive Classroom
This article provides insight into how a 21st century literacies perspective can support inclusive literacy practices that create a community of learners, use digital tools to make the curriculum accessible, and link academic goals with real‐world platforms.
Authors: Detra Price-Dennis, Kathlene Holmes, and Emily Smith
Publication Date: September/October 2015
Publisher: The Reading Teacher

Graphic Organizers: Guiding Principles and Effective Practices
Research and best practices have shown that, for graphic organizers to be effective instructional tools, several factors must be addressed. This packet will present strategies and approaches for incorporating these elements, along with outlining the primary categories and uses for graphic organizers.
Publication Date: 2015
Publisher: William and Mary Training and Technical Assistance Center

How to Provide Meaningful Feedback: Teacher’s Guide
No matter how a teacher provides feedback—verbally or visually, to a group or one on one, publicly or subtly—the goal is the same: to improve students’ academic and behavioral outcomes. This brief describes the components and types of effective teacher feedback and provides examples, nonexamples, and tips that teachers can use in the classroom.
Authors: Blair Payne and Elizabeth Swanson
Publication Date: 2021
Publisher: Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk

Improve Reading with Complex Texts
This article groups the essential features of close reading into four major categories: short, complex texts; rich discussions based on worthy questions; revisiting and annotating the text; and being inspired by the text. Educators should consider these the look-fors that deepen student interactions with text.
Authors: Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey
Publication Date: February 2015
Publisher: Phi Delta Kappa International

Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices
This practice guide presents specific and coherent evidence-based recommendations that educators can use to improve literacy levels among adolescents in upper elementary, middle, and high schools.
Authors: Michael L. Kamil, Geoffrey Borman, Janice Dole, Cathleen Kral, Terry Salinger, and Joe Torgesen
Publication Date: 2008
Publisher: Institute of Education Sciences

Literacy and Text Reading in Middle and High School Social Studies and English Language Arts Classrooms
This study examined the amount and type of text used in ELA and social studies instruction in Grades 7–12 as well as the emphasis put on effective instructional practices in vocabulary and reading comprehension to enhance students’ ability to read for understanding.
Authors: Elizabeth Swanson, Jeanne Wanzek, Lisa McCulley, Stephanie Stillman, Sharon Vaughn, Deborah Simmons, Melissa Fogarty, and Angela Hairrell
Publication Date: 2016
Publisher: Reading & Writing Quarterly

Morphological Awareness: One Piece of the Literacy Pie
Identifying morphemes is a skill that helps students problem-solve words they do not know how to read and spell. This is especially important when students are reading textbooks with academic language so that they can gain the knowledge they need in the subject areas they study.
Publication Date: 2020
Publisher: International Dyslexia Association

MTSS for All: Including Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities
This brief provides suggestions for ways in which MTSS can include students with the most significant cognitive disabilities so that MTSS provides a whole school and whole district approach to be implemented by educators. Ideas for how to make MTSS fully inclusive of all students are presented following a short history of MTSS and a summary of current MTSS models.
Authors: Martha Thurlow, Gail Ghere, Sheryl Lazarus, and Kristin Liu
Publication Date: January 2020
Publishers: National Center on Educational Outcomes and TIES Center

On the Importance of Listening Comprehension
This paper reviews evidence showing that listening comprehension becomes the dominating influence on reading comprehension starting even in the elementary grades. It discusses key language influences on listening comprehension for consideration during assessment and treatment of reading disabilities.
Authors: Tiffany P. Hogan, Suzanne M. Adlof, and Crystle N. Alonzo
Publication Date: May 2014
Publisher: International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology

Providing Reading Interventions for Students in Grades 4–9
This practice guide offers four recommendations that focus on practices to improve students’ ability to read words accurately and automatically and on practices for helping students to understand the text they read. Each of the recommendations helps improve reading and comprehension.
Authors: Sharon Vaughn, Russell Gersten, Joseph Dimino, Mary Jo Taylor, Rebecca Newman-Gonchar, Sarah Krowka, Michael Kieffer, Margaret McKeown, Deborah Reed, Michele Sanchez, Kimberly St. Martin, Jade Wexler, Seth Morgan, Armando Yañez, and Madhavi Jayanthi
Publication Date: March 2022
Publisher: Institute of Education Sciences

Reciprocal Teaching: Seeing is Believing
This article explains reciprocal teaching as engaging students in reading and has been shown to increase comprehension through four basic components: predicting, clarifying, questioning, and summarizing. It helps reduce the cognitive load on students with disabilities by explicitly teaching the critical aspects of comprehending text. Reciprocal teaching supports all students to be independent and reflective readers with higher-level comprehension skills.
Authors: Joan Baker and Lisa Emerson
Publication Date: May/June 2014
Publisher: William and Mary School of Education

Rethinking How to Promote Reading Comprehension
This article discusses how reading comprehension is not a skill someone learns and can then apply in different reading contexts. It is one of the most complex activities that we engage in on a regular basis, and our ability to comprehend is dependent upon a wide range of knowledge and skills. It explores the idea that comprehension cannot be reduced to a single notion because it is not a single ability.
Author: Hugh Catts
Publication Date: Winter 2021-22
Publisher: American Federation of Teachers

Right to Supportive Learning Environments and High-Quality Resources
This research brief discusses every child’s right to literacy-rich learning environments that provide high-quality, open educational resources such as accessible books, texts, and digital resources for all to use, manipulate, and learn from.
Publication Date: 2019
Publisher: International Literacy Association

Scaffolding Comprehension Strategies Using Graphic Organizers
In this lesson collaborative strategic reading is initially presented to students through modeling and whole-class instruction. To facilitate comprehension during and after reading, students apply four reading strategies: preview, click and clunk, get the gist, and wrap-up. Graphic organizers are used for scaffolding of these strategies while students work together in cooperative groups.
Author: Susan Ruckdeschel
Publisher: International Literacy Association

Secondary Reading Instruction (Part 1): Teaching Vocabulary and Comprehension in the Content Areas
This module describes how teachers can incorporate vocabulary and reading comprehension skills instruction into content-area lessons and will introduce you to a variety of effective practices including the use of graphic organizers to help students better understand what they read.
Publication Date: 2022
Publisher: IRIS Center Vanderbilt University

Secondary Reading Instruction (Part 2): Deepening Middle School Content-Area Learning with Vocabulary and Comprehension Strategies
This module examines some reasons that adolescents struggle with content-area text and overviews effective strategies teachers can use to improve the vocabulary and comprehension skills of students with a wide range of abilities and across a variety of subjects.
Publication Date: 2022
Publisher: IRIS Center Vanderbilt University

Self-Questioning - Teach with Tech
Using a self-questioning strategy can encourage struggling learners to monitor their understanding of the text. This strategy guide provides strategies to help students utilize critical features of the self-questioning approach. Supporting materials include a 4th grade sample lesson plan and videos.
Publication Date: 2015
Publisher: PowerUp WHAT WORKS at the American Institutes for Research

Steps of Interactive Modeling
This article describes how interactive modeling incorporates key elements of effective teaching: modeling the skill or procedure, engaging students in active learning, and immediately assessing their understanding.
Publication Date: 2017
Publisher: Center for Responsive Schools

Succeeding in School: Essential Features of Literacy Development
This brief discusses two areas of literacy development that students must learn so that they can do well in school: foundational reading skills and academic language. Teaching students foundational reading skills and academic language should be connected. Progress in reading and progress in academic language will influence each other.
Authors: Scott Baker, Jessica Turtura, and Brian Gearin
Publication Date: 2017
Publisher: National Center on Improving Literacy

Summarizing - Teach with Tech
This guide provides strategies for helping readers understand the purpose of summaries and how to identify the main ideas and key details in a text. Supporting materials include 2nd and 6th grade sample lesson plans and videos.
Publication Date: 2015
Publisher: PowerUp WHAT WORKS at the American Institutes for Research

“Teach Reading? But I’m not a Reading Teacher!”
This article provides a structure that any teacher, regardless of content area and training in reading instruction, can use to help students hone the literacy skills necessary to explore, develop, and expand content area knowledge.
Authors: Beth Hurst and Cathy J. Pearman
Publication Date: 2013
Publisher: Missouri State University

Teacher Read-Aloud That Models Reading for Deep Understanding
This strategy guide offers the research basis, procedures, example lesson plans, and related resources for teachers to demonstrate to their students how to search for meaning and use strategies for understanding.
Author: Jan Miller Burkins
Publisher: International Literacy Association

Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School
This updated practice guide provides teachers with guidelines for and examples of systematically and explicitly building students’ English language and literacy, while teaching history, mathematics, science, and other disciplines. The recommendations in the practice guide emphasize academic vocabulary, content-area instruction, writing instruction, and small-group intervention for English learners who are struggling in schools.
Authors: Scott Baker, Nonie Lesaux, Madhavi Jayanthi, Joseph Dimino, C. Patrick Proctor, Joan Morris, Russell Gersten, Kelly Haymond, Michael Kieffer, Sylvia Linan-Thompson, and Rebecca Newman-Gonchar
Publication Date: April 2014
Publisher: Institute of Education Sciences

Teaching Vocabulary Explicitly
This document discusses the meaning of vocabulary and why it is important to teach. It explains how to teach individual words explicitly and how to teach word-learning strategies. Step-by-step examples are provided to help teach the strategies and to help students to use the strategies independently.
Authors: Susan Hanson and Jennifer Padua
Publication Date: 2014
Publisher: Pacific Resources for Education and Learning

Text Structure Strategies for Improving Expository Reading Comprehension
This article presents practical, evidence-based strategies for teaching students how to use text structure to improve their expository reading comprehension. Detailed procedures and examples are provided.
Authors: Julia Roehling, Michael Hebert, J. Ron Nelson, Janet Bohaty
Publication Date: July/August 2017
Publisher: International Literacy Association

The UDL Guidelines
The UDL Guidelines are a tool used in the implementation of Universal Design for Learning. These guidelines offer a set of concrete suggestions that can be applied to any discipline or domain to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.
Publication Date: 2018
Publisher: CAST

The Use of Graphic Organizers in Inclusive Classrooms for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
This article expands on the traditional graphic organizer formats to show how they can be differentiated to meet the needs of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities through the use of Universal Design for Learning.
Authors: Elizabeth Reyes, Shawnee Wakeman, and Jessica Bowman
Publication Date: 2020
Publisher: TIES Center University of Minnesota

Traveling Terrain: Comprehending Nonfiction Text on the Web
Strategic instruction and explicit teaching of targeted comprehension strategies can allow students to integrate skills into their current competencies, thus improving their overall reading ability. This lesson identifies three skills of identifying text features of nonfiction text in a Web format, locating specific information, and generalizing information to be taught in strategic lessons that build upon each other and allow for scaffolding of skills when necessary.
Author: Sheila Seitz
Publisher: International Literacy Association

Unlocking Social Studies Text How High School Teachers Can Support Students with Reading Difficulties
This article discusses embedding discipline-specific literacy instruction within social studies content can assist a variety of students, including those with reading difficulties, to build higher-level reading abilities, increase knowledge acquisition, and improve their overall content learning. Five instructional practices are outlined that can be embedded into existing instruction to further engage students in the subject matter and provide support for discipline-specific reading.
Author: Jeanne Wanzek
Publication Date: Spring 2021
Publisher: American Federation of Teachers

Using Morphological Strategies to Help Adolescents Decode, Spell, and Comprehend Big Words in Science
This article describes a morphological instruction approach for helping students navigate big words in science. Reasons why big words in science are particularly challenging for many students are described, and guidelines for selecting and prioritizing high-utility science morphemes for targeted instruction with adolescent readers are provided.
Authors: Jennifer L. Zoski, Kristin Nellenbach, and Karen A. Erickson
Publication Date: 2018
Publisher: Communication Disorders Quarterly

Using Universal Design for Learning to Design Standards-Based Lessons
This article presents a process that teachers can use as they develop standards-based lesson plans. By applying UDL during the lesson planning process, teachers can identify clear goals and develop flexible methods, assessments, and materials that address the needs and preferences of varied learners. General educators and special educators can use this process to develop inclusive lesson plans that address learners with and without disabilities.
Authors: Kavita Rao and Grace Meo
Publication Date: November 2016
Publisher: SAGE Journals

Video Examples of the Prioritized Educator Competencies
These video resources show educator competencies in action. These competencies have the most leverage in transforming classroom practices to be personalized, student-centered, and more equitable. Footage includes teachers demonstrating key techniques and strategies, experts and peers discussing practice, students reflecting on their experiences.
Publication Date: April 2021
Publisher: KnowledgeWorks Foundation

Vocabulary Instruction: A Critical Analysis of Theories, Research, and Practice
In this content analysis, articles published in The Reading Teacher and Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy between 2007 and 2017 were dissected to identify and code embedded word-learning strategies, grade levels addressed, target student populations, and desired outcomes.
Authors: Stephanie Moody, Xueyan Hu, Li-Jen Kuo, Mohammed Jouhar, Zhihong Xu, and Sungyoon Lee
Publication Date: October 2018
Publisher: Education Sciences

Word Analysis - Teach With Tech
Being able to analyze words is not only a critical foundational reading skill, it also is essential for vocabulary development. This strategy guide provides strategies to help students meet standards related to vocabulary acquisition and word use. Supporting materials include a 5th grade sample lesson plan and videos.
Publication Date: 2014
Publisher: PowerUp WHAT WORKS at the American Institutes for Research

Word Analysis to Expand Vocabulary Development
WhenWhen students engage in word analysis they break words down into their smallest units of meaning—morphemes. This article offers effective strategies for classroom word study, including the use of online tools, captioning, and embedded supports to differentiate instruction.
Author: Judy Zorfass
Publication Date: 2014
Publisher: PowerUp WHAT WORKS at the American Institutes for Research