The 10 Essentials of Reading Instruction

1. Above all, good teachers matter.
Learners need teachers who demonstrate what it means to live richly literate lives, wearing a love of reading on their sleeves.  Teachers need professional development and a culture of collaborative practice to develop their abilities to teach.

2. Readers need long stretches of time to read.
A mountain of research supports the notion that teachers who teach reading successfully provide their students with substantial time for actual reading.

3. Readers need opportunities to read high-interest, accessible books of their own choosing.
Students need access to lots of books that they can read with high levels of accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. They need opportunities to consolidate skills so they can use skills and strategies with automaticity within fluid engaged reading.

4. Readers need to read increasingly complex texts appropriate for their grade level.
A consensus has formed around the resolve to accelerate student’s progress so they can read increasingly complex texts. Teachers can find ways to scaffold instruction to provide students with access to these texts when they cannot read them independently.

5. Readers need direct, explicit instructions in the skills and strategies of proficient reading.
The National Reading Panel strongly supports explicit instruction in comprehension strategies, suggesting that the teaching of even one comprehension strategy can lead to improved comprehension, and that teaching a repertoire of strategies can make an even larger difference (National Reading Panel 2000).

6. Readers need opportunities to talk and sometimes to write in response to texts.
Talking and writing both provide concrete, visible ways for learners to do the thinking work that later becomes internalized and invisible.

7. Readers need support reading nonfiction books and building a knowledge base and academic vocabulary through information reading.
The strength of a student’s general knowledge has a close relationship to the student’s ability to comprehend complex nonfiction texts. Students who read a great deal of nonfiction gain knowledge about the world as well as about vocabulary.

8. Readers need assessment-based instruction, including feedback tailored specifically to them.
Learners are not all the same, and learners do not all need the same things to progress.  Teaching, then, must always be responsive, and our ideas about what works and doesn’t must always be under construction.

9. Readers need teachers to read aloud to them.
is essential to teaching reading.  Teachers read aloud to open the day, using stories and poems to convene the community and to celebrate what it means to be awake and alive together.  They read aloud to embark on shared adventures, to explore new worlds, and to place provocative topics at the center of the community.

10. Readers need a balanced approach to language arts, one that includes a responsible approach to the teaching of writing as well as reading.
The National Reading Panel’s recommendations in 2000 supported the need for children to have balanced literacy instruction.  Pressley and his colleagues conducted research in balanced literacy, seeking out examples of exemplary teaching in the primary grades and studying the approach to instruction.  In every case, whenever they found a classroom with high literacy engagement, they found balanced teaching in place (Pressley et al. 2002). (Adapted from A Guide to the Reading Workshop, primary and intermediate additions).


Parent Video Resources 1

Reading With Your Child! (For all ages!)

Picking a “Just Right Book” (For all ages!)

How to Support Your Child

According to the U.S. Department of Education, families can spark enthusiasm in children and lead them to a very important understanding- that learning is enjoyable as well as rewarding and well worth the effort required.

This page contains extension activities related to picking a book, sight words, phonics and decoding, comprehension, writing, fluency, and speaking and listening.


  • Read as often as possible with your child.
  • Encourage your child to read independently at least 25 books annually.
  • Discuss ideas in books your child reads.
  • Read an action story or tale of adventure to replace an evening TV program.
  • Be a role model. Let your child see you read for pleasure.

High Frequency Words

Believe it or not, 50% of all reading texts are made up of the same 100 words! The most frequently used and repeated words in the English language are known as high frequency words. This list of words includes the, a, is, of, to, in, and, I, you, and that. Think about the number of times that you have seen these words in a piece of reading material. It’s probably too many times to count.

Directions for Electronic Flashcards

  1.  These electronic flashcards are for independent practice.
  2.  Your child will read the word out loud as it flashes on the screen.
  3.  The words will automatically change every 3 seconds.

First 100 High Frequency Words for Kindergartners and First Graders

Second 100 High Frequency Words for Second Graders