Common Core Standards
Learn, plan, and implement Common Core in your classroom. Use the Resource Correlations tool to find Common Core-aligned resources from Reading A-Z, the ELL Edition, or Science A-Z or view all correlated resources at once. We have also provided information on key CCSS topics, why they are important, and how Reading A-Z can be used to implement elements of CCSS.
What Are Foundational Skills?The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have identified a set of skills that students must master before they can become fluent readers and comprehend what they are reading. Since these skills are at the very foundation of becoming a proficient reader, they are called foundational skills. These skills are taught somewhat sequentially, with some natural overlapping of skills:
- Concept of print
- Phonological awareness
- High-Frequency Words
AlphabetStudents need to know the English language is presented using 26 letters. They must be able to recognize, name, and form these letters in order to read and write.
Print ConceptsWhen introducing students to written language they must understand the basic organization and features of print: read left to right; top to bottom; letters create words and words create sentences; spaces between words; ending and beginning punctuation. Children frequently come to understand these concepts through owning their first books.
Phonological AwarenessThis foundational skill is about recognizing the sounds of language. It begins with word awareness and being able to recognize, for example, the number of words that make up a spoken sentence. Secondary mastery of these skills includes recognizing rhyme and syllables. At the most detailed level, the phoneme level, students can discern the sounds that make up a word. They can segment the sounds within a word, blend sounds together to make a word, and substitute sounds to make new words.
PhonicsStudents must match a unit of sound (a phoneme) to the letter or letters that make the sound. Separating the written word into its individual sounds and blending the individual sounds of letters to make words is the foundation of reading.
High-Frequency Word RecognitionStudents must be able to recognize and read a collection of high-frequency words by sight and do so with increasing automaticity.
FluencyStudents must be able to read and comprehend text on-level – accurately, at the appropriate rate and with the correct expression. This is best accomplished by repeated readings of text passages of increasing complexity while tracking the reading rate and accuracy.
Become your school's Common Core expert. We'll focus on one key Common Core topic each month.
Why Are Foundational Skills Important?Students must master foundational skills before they can become fluent readers and comprehend text. Foundational skills instruction is the first reading instruction that students should receive. Each skill should be consistently reinforced. Foundational skills are essential for students to learn how to both read and write. They are the skills that help them to decode unknown words and use word knowledge to comprehend more complex writing across varying levels and genres.
How Do Reading A-Z Resources Support Teaching Foundational Skills?Reading A-Z provides easy access to a rich collection of resources necessary to help all students develop strong Foundational Skills in reading. Many of these resources are available in printable and projectable formats.
- Alphabet Books and activities build skills in letter naming, recognition, and formation.
- Books, lesson plans, and activities address all phonics and phonological awareness elements.
- High-Frequency Word Books and the Most Common Word Flashcards provide students the opportunity to work with words in isolation and in context.
- Leveled Fluency Passages and Reader's Theater Scripts support practicing fluency.