Elementary Literacy Adoption

Reading Foundational Skills Curriculum Preview

Issaquah School District is reaching the conclusion of a 2-year process of selecting new curriculum to teach K-5 reading foundational skills.  

This curriculum adoption process is designed to select assessments and instructional materials to meet the following learning needs:

  • Early identification of reading difficulties.  This adoption includes the selection of a literacy screener to identifying reading difficulties associated with dyslexia.
  • Core curriculum for teaching phonics, phonological awareness and developing reading fluency.
  • Evidence based, general education* interventions to address the learning needs of students with dyslexia or reading difficulties associated with dyslexia.


Virtual Curriculum Preview :

The Reading Foundational Skills Adoption includes several resources.  Below are short descriptions of the resources and links to preview or learn more about each resource.  

Component 1: Benchmark Phonics Classroom

Benchmark Phonics Classroom is being recommended for use with all kindergarten students to lay a strong universal foundation of phonics and decoding. Click here to view an extensive Benchmark Phonics Brochure

Component 2: Heggerty

Heggerty provides explicit instruction on phonemic awareness.  Heggerty will be used for universal instruction (Tier 1) in kindergarten and first grade, as well as for targeted or intensive interventions (Tiers 2-3) K-5th grade.

General Information

YouTube Channel

Component 3: Really Great Reading

Really Great Reading will be used to provide explicit, targeted and intensive instruction (Tier 2-3) for students in 1st through 5th grade who are assessed to have skill gaps in phonological awareness and phonics.

Overview Document


Component 4: Words Their Way Classroom

Words Their Way Classroom will be used for instruction of reading foundational skills for students at or above standard in phonological awareness and phonics.  This program uses a placement assessment to focus small group instruction on actual learning needs.

Demo Login Instructions & Overview

Overview Video

Component 5: i-Ready Reading

i-Ready Reading will be used as a screening and benchmark assessment tool.  The i-Ready Reading diagnostic is a literacy screener meeting the state requirements for a screener for reading difficulties associated with dyslexia.  Additionally i-Ready includes an adaptive on-line / digital personalized learning pathway to reinforce learning, and provides resources for small group instruction with the teacher.

i-Ready Assessment

i-Ready Dyslexia Screening

NCII Evaluative Ratings

Family Support Resources

Component 6: Flyleaf Decodable Texts

Flyleaf Decodable texts will supplement the decodable texts provided with the core curriculum to ensure all students can access text paired with their phonics instruction.

Emergent Readers

Reading Series 1



Kathy Connally
Director of Teaching & Learning

State Standards

What materials we use now:

  • Making Meaning (Comprehension Strategies)
  • Fountas and Pinnell Phonics
  • Work Study based on Words Their Way
  • Benchmark Bookroom Materials
  • Good Habits, Great Readers, Bookroom Materials
  • Lucy Calkins Units of Study in Narrative, Informational and Opinion Writing
  • Handwriting Without Tears

Adoption process and timeline

During a literacy adoption, a team of teachers and staff will survey parents and teachers, review evidence-based practices and instructional materials to make recommendations for integrating new instructional materials into a balanced literacy program. 


The literacy adoption will accomplish the following:

  1. Provide research-based, standards-aligned, quality instructional materials. Review and select Reading and Writing instructional materials to support a comprehensive literacy program as aligned to state standards and current research on research-based practices.
    • Provide instructional materials to teach Common Core Standards for Reading Foundational Skills (click here for information on these standards).
    • Provide instructional materials to teach Common Core Standards for English Language Arts Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language standards (click here for information on these standards).
  2. Provide instructional materials for tiered supports in Literacy. Provide literacy materials that support multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) for structured learning in the general education program for students with reading difficulties.
  3. Comply with current legislation requiring the use of research-based assessments and instructional materials to provide tiered support in the general education classroom for students with decoding and reading fluency challenges by the fall of 2021. (Click here for info about the dyslexia law)
  4. Provide professional development. Support a comprehensive, multi-tiered instructional materials with professional development on core instructional practices including developing a deeper understanding of the following:
  • High leverage and research based instructional practices.
  • Multi-tiered Systems of Support for literacy assessment and instruction
  • Reading difficulties including those associated with dyslexia
  • Matching intervention and instruction to assessed student needs 

The Literacy Adoption will be broken into 3 phases:

Phase 1: Review, select and implement tiered instructional materials for Reading Foundational Skills standards.

Phase 2: Review and selection of instructional materials for remaining Reading standards and Writing / Language standards.

  • Review and select reading and writing instructional materials together to ensure a cohesive and comprehensive literacy program and explore opportunities for integration of reading and writing instruction. This does not preclude selection of separate reading and writing programs.
  • Propose an implementation plan. The current default plan would be to implement reading first in the fall of 2022, then writing two years later in the fall of 2024.

Phase 3: Implementation of Reading and Writing instructional materials.

DRAFT Timeline: Adoption teams may recommend adjustment of the timeline for decisions and/or implementation.

2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24 2024-25 
F19 W20 S20 F20 W21 S21 F21 W22 S22 F22 W23 S22 F23 W24 S24 F24 W25 S25
  Phase 1: Reading Foundational Skills Materials Selection Foundation Skills Initial Use Training                    
    Foundational Skills Field Test Implementation of Reading Foundational Skills instruction materials
   Phase 2: Reading and Writing Material Selection  Phase 2 follow-up if needed
        Phase 3: Reading Initial Use Training              
Reading Field Test Implementation of Reading instructional materials
            Writing Field Test      
    Writing Initial Use Training
  Implementation of Writing Materials


Meeting Schedule for Phase 1

Adoption team meetings are scheduled for the following dates:

  • December 17, 2019
  • February 3, 2020
  • March 16, 2020
  • May 4, 2020


March 1 and 8, 2021

The adoption committee met on March 1st and March 8th, 2021. They reached 100% consensus to recommend the following curricula listed below. This adoption will include a design for how the materials will fit together and there will be support for using them in a sustainable and manageable manner. The recommendation was approved by Rich Mellish, Executive Director of TLS, and presented to the Instructional Materials Committee.


  • Benchmark Phonics Workshop & Heggerty Phonemic Awareness

1st Grade:

  • Heggerty Phonemic Awareness 

1st – 5th Grade:

  • Words their Way Classroom 
  • Really Great Reading 

Additional Tools to support instruction:

  • i-Ready Reading Personalized Learning Pathway and Tools for Instruction
  • Flyleaf decodable readers


  • iReady Reading Diagnostic for early identification of students with reading difficulties including those associated with dyslexia.

February 11, 2021 

The Reading Foundational Skills committee met on February 11. After debriefing the January 25 session with Dr. Alicia Roberts Frank, the committee was updated on field testing, the timeline for the process, and next steps in scoring and reaching consensus for material/curriculum recommendations. A detailed review of field-test scoring criteria took place. The committee reached 100% consensus on the following: 

  • Heggerty Phonemic Awareness will be adopted as a universal curriculum for tiered instruction
  • iReady will be adopted as a personalized learning curriculum along with the iReady Literacy Screener

A plan for professional development was shared which included discussion of personalized learning curriculum and the scope and sequence for core universal, targeted, and intensive intervention materials. 

January 14, 2021

RFS Committee reconvened and reviewed the purpose of the committee to recommend a literacy screener, general education instructional materials, and intervention materials for adoption and use in 2021-22.

The instructional materials will address reading difficulties associated with dyslexia (phonemic awareness, decoding and fluency) and serve as a launch for multi-tiered supports for literacy instruction.

Field-testing and decisions made to date:

  • Agreed to pilot only iReady as a literacy screener
  • Agreed to include Heggerty as supplemental curriculum for teaching phonological/phonemic awareness.
  • Agreed to include Fly Leaf* books for decodable readers as supplemental
  • Agreed to include Really Great Reading as an intensive intervention curriculum

A literacy screener and decodable readers update was also shared with the committee. On the January 25 Professional Development Day, Dr. Alicia Roberts Frank will connect with all elementary staff. The committee debriefed the Dr. Wiley Blevins Webinar and the implications it had on their work. The next meetings are 2/11 and 3/1. 

December 10, 2020 

In lieu of having a formal meeting, members were provided with a recorded webinar entitled Meaningful Phonics and Word Study conducted by Dr. Wiley Blevins. A debrief of the webinar was held during the January 14 meeting. 

A written update of the field-testing was provided via email as follows: 

  • K-2 field testers received training in Words Their Way Classroom and Benchmark Phonics Workshop. They will begin teaching the two programs in January and February! 
  • Field testers in Grades 3-5 will be trained in the two programs on Jan. 6 and Jan. 11 and will begin teaching in mid-January. 

November 12, 2020

The Reading Foundational Skills Adoption Committee reconvened on November 12, 2020.

The Dyslexia Screener and Decodable Texts subcommittees reported out on the progress made thus far.

The field-testing process is underway and training dates for curriculum to be field-tested were shared. 

In January, all K-1, LRC1, Title/LAP teachers and Instructional Coaches will receive Heggerty, a phonemic awareness resource. Training for this resource will be included during the year.

The committee debriefed on the information shared by Dr. Alicia Franks at the ISD Dyslexia Engagement night held on November 10 and referenced the OSPI Dyslexia Resource Guide, which will continue to guide the committee work. 

The next meeting is scheduled for December 10.

October 1, 2020

The Reading Foundational Committee reconvened on October 1. New Committee members were introduced. Field testing programs, a dyslexia screener, and decodable readers were reviewed as well as how the field testing would take place throughout the district K-5. All three district regions are represented. K-1 will be scheduled to field test Mid-November to Mid- January, and Grades 2-5 from January/February. The challenges of field-testing remote vs live was discussed, as was the possibility of transitions due to COVID.

A sub-committee for the Dyslexia Screener was formed and will be facilitated by Shelly Ward to discuss the next steps in recommending a universal screener.

A Decodable Reader sub-committee was formed to reinforce phonics skills and teach for the transfer of phonics skills in context for K-1 support. 

A discussion was held around including the iReady Toolbox in the field test. The committee voted to include iReady Toolbox and will be given access to take a closer look. The next meeting is scheduled for November 12.

May 27, 2020

The Reading Foundational Committee reconvened on May 27 via Zoom. The focus of the meeting was to decide on what materials would be field tested. Committee members scored curriculum at the March meeting and the scoring was reviewed. The committee reached 100% consensus to bundle materials. Each curriculum bundle was discussed in small groups and the committee came together to share their feedback. Proposals were made on which bundles to field test. The bundles focused on the needs of all students, some students (in-class targeted) and Title 1/LAP.

The following materials will be field tested for use for:

  • Universal Instruction: Lessons taught to ALL students
  • In class small group instruction: Small group lessons provided to student selected based on individual need
  • Targeted intervention: More intensive small group instruction based on results of diagnostic assessment
  • Personalized Learning: adaptive, individualized online learning platform

Materials to field test:

  • Words Their Way Classroom
  • Benchmark Phonics Workshop
  • Really Great Reading
  • Jan Richardson/Literacy Footprints
  • iReady
  • Lexia

Additional Supplemental Materials

The following materials are also being reviewed for supplemental use with materials that are selected from the list above.

  • K-2: Heggerty Phonemic Awareness
  • Decodable text selection

May 14, 2020

The Reading Foundational Adoption Committee reconvened remotely on May 14. The committee reviewed the timeline for curriculum evaluation and field testing (happening in 2020-2021) with full implementation in 2021-22. A summary of the ISD teacher survey was provided for members. A remote scoring process was shared for the remaining pieces of curricula including an in-person option. At the upcoming 5/27 meeting, the committee will reach consensus on options /curricula to field test to meet the needs of all students, small groups, and Title/LAP. This includes the dyslexia screener for K-2.

February 3, 2020

The Reading Foundational Skills Committee reconvened February 3. Parent survey comments were reviewed. Teacher training, differentiation, phonics, and love of reading were highlighted as parent priorities. Dr. Alicia Roberts Frank, ESD Special Education Administrator, joined the meeting virtually and focused discussion on Reading Foundational Skills standards, key elements of successful reading interventions, dyslexia/tiered instruction, multi-tiered systems of support, a screener for literacy skills associated with dyslexia, and potential professional development.

Research and evidence based interventions at Tier 1 and Tier 2 were discussed. The scoring criteria for resources and materials the committee will be using was reviewed. Committee members dedicated time to begin reviewing curriculum materials.

December 17, 2019

The first meeting of the Reading Foundational Committee was held on December 17. The committee reviewed the materials adoption timeline and consensus process. Committee members determined consensus to be defined as 85% endorsement or support. Criteria for evaluating instructional materials, ensuring curriculum materials are equitable for all students and aligning standards was a focus. Dedicated time was spent understanding the new state legislation regarding dyslexia and reading challenges consistent with dyslexia (E2SSB 6162) and taking a deep dive into K-5 Reading Foundational Standards. Data from a recent parent survey regarding foundational literacy skills was examined.

Specific objectives of the committee include recommending a dyslexia screener K-2 and reading foundational instructional tools K-5 after field testing takes place in Fall 2020.