K-2 Foundational Skills Materials Review

Come and listen to informational presentations about each program on Monday, May 8th from 5:15pm - 6:15pm at the District Office. Submit your questions here for reps to consider as they are creating presentations. All questions must be submitted by May 1st.

Community Feedback Request


During the 2016-2017 school year, the Ames Community School District has been piloting three programs to support teachers as they provide instruction to all students in the areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, and handwriting. Before engaging in the pilot, a K-2 Word Study Team made up of teachers from each building, instructional coaches, and administrators vetted several programs using sections from a reading rubric developed by the Center on Instruction. The three programs selected were based on strong alignment to best practices and research around how to best deliver instruction in these areas.

Program Summaries

Below is a list of research-based characteristics necessary for high quality instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, and handwriting. Click on any of the links below for more information on each set of materials.

Fountas & Pinnell Phonics Lessons


Reach into Phonics

Explicit Instruction

Repeated Practice for Students

Multisensory Practice Opportunities

Research Based

Scope & Sequence aligned to Phonics Research

Reading & Spelling Practice Aligned

Why Pilot?

Since all of these materials include essential components for instruction in our target areas, the District must determine which materials will best meet the needs of our students, will best support our teachers, and will best match with our District initiatives. The questions teachers and administrators are answering throughout the pilot include:

  • Which program best aligns to District initiatives, including:

    • Needs-based small group instruction

    • Data-driven instruction (responding to individual student needs)

    • Gradual release of responsibility

    • Student engagement

  • Which program demonstrates the best results for Ames students?

  • Which program is best for Ames teachers to implement?

How to Choose?

The District is gathering several different layers of data in order to make this important decision. In conjunction with the Iowa Reading Research Center, the District is gathering student growth data on two assessments throughout the pilot. Additionally, survey data is being gathered from teachers, administrators, parents, and community members. Finally, the Word Study Team is scoring each program using the rubric adopted from the Center on Instruction to evaluate each program’s alignment to the research in the areas of phonics, phonemic awareness, instructional design and assessment. All of these pieces will be analyzed at the conclusion of the pilot to determine a final recommendation for a set of materials to be implemented during the 2017-2018 school year.

Opportunities to View Materials:

District Office
May 8th, 2017