Common Core State Standards

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.

Resource Correlations

Key Topics

Foundational Skills

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:
  • Alphabet
  • Concept of print
  • Phonological awareness
  • Phonics
  • High-Frequency Words
  • Fluency

Common Core State Standards Foundational Skills video


Students 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 Concepts

When 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 Awareness

This 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.


Students 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 Recognition

Students must be able to recognize and read a collection of high-frequency words by sight and do so with increasing automaticity.


Students 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.

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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.

Also available:
  • Shared Reading Books and lessons teach foundational skills, including concepts of print and a variety of reading strategies.
  • 1,000+ Leveled Books and lesson plans support reading at 29 different levels.