Early Literacy Blueprint Initiative

Early Literacy Blueprint Initiative

A joint effort between the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Reading Research center, the Early Literacy Blueprint Initiative (Blueprint) is focused on improving the overall design and delivery of the literacy instruction that elementary students receive.

Blueprint Purpose

  • Improve elementary school teachers’ knowledge of effective literacy practices
  • Strengthen instructional skills to deliver those practices to all Iowa children
  • Leverage existing statewide systems, especially Iowa’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) System and Collaborating for Iowa’s Kids (C4K).

Blueprint is a piece of the Iowa Department of Education’s larger early literacy initiative underway since 2012 that focuses on making sure all students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

Blueprint Milestones

PDF icon Click here to view/download the High-Priority Milestones for K-3 Reading Development

The High-Priority Milestones for K-3 Reading Development document provides a starting point for evaluating literacy plans to make sure students are progressing on schedule. The milestones explain which literacy skills students need to master year-by-year. Where applicable, the relevant Iowa Core standards associated with the high priority skills are indicated. The document also provides overall recommendations for keeping students motivated or engaged in their literacy learning, maintaining a supportive and data-driven literacy environment, and supporting the literacy learning of English learners and bilingual students.

Blueprint Professional Development Modules

The Blueprint features the initial five Effective Literacy Strategy Instruction professional development modules for teachers (overview of effective literacy strategy instruction, grapheme-phoneme correspondences, morphology, vocabulary, and text structure). An additional module has been developed on small-group, skills-based instruction, and more professional development is planned.

The Iowa Reading Research Center currently uses a training-of-trainers approach to prepare literacy leaders across the state as Certified Blueprint Trainers. These trainers may deliver the professional development to teachers in their home school districts or Area Education Agency regions. Teachers may implement in their classrooms the instructional methods they learn to better develop the literacy abilities of their students.

For more information on any potential upcoming professional development sessions on Blueprint modules, please contact your local Area Education Agency.

Blueprint Advisory Group


  • David Tilly, Iowa Department of Education
  • Deborah K. Reed, Iowa Reading Research Center