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 a comprehensive literacy instruction professional development initiative.

Blueprint Purpose:

  • Improve kindergarten through third grade teachers’ knowledge of effective literacy practices and strengthen instructional skills to deliver those practices.
  • Ensure teachers are teaching Iowa children using evidence-based instructional practices.
  • Leverage existing statewide systems, especially Iowa’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) System and Collaborating for Iowa’s Kids (C4K).
  • Provide schools a starting point for evaluating their literacy plans and ensuring students’ literacy developmental milestones are met.

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. A key component of the early literacy initiative is an early warning system to help educators identify and intervene with students in kindergarten through third grade who are at risk for reading difficulties. Although the early warning system helps teachers identify which students are on track in reading and which ones are not, Blueprint will help teachers plan effective reading instruction around key milestones for students’ development.

In addition to information on the milestones that will be available for download, Blueprint features the initial five Effective Literacy Strategy Instruction professional development modules (overview of effective literacy strategy instruction, grapheme-phoneme correspondences, morphology, vocabulary, and text structure). Additional modules will be developed throughout the initiative, including one on small-group, skills-based instruction.

The Iowa Reading Research Center delivers this professional development through a training-of-trainers approach. Literacy leaders across the state will be trained so they may deliver the professional development to teachers in their home districts or regions, at which point the instructional methods can be implemented in classrooms and have a beneficial impact on Iowa students.

As of April 2018, the Certified Blueprint Trainer selection process began. Applications were limited to trainers who completed an initial Iowa Reading Research Center Training-of-Trainers event in 2017. Certified Blueprint Trainers will be available on September 1, 2018, to conduct professional development sessions on existing modules during the 2018-2019 school year. Additional opportunities to become a Blueprint Certified Trainer are anticipated.

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

Blueprint Advisory Group


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


  • Larry Bice, Iowa Department of Education
  • Amy Denney, Sioux City Community School District
  • Destiny Eldridge, Iowa Department of Education
  • Hattie Graves, Waterloo Community School District
  • Lynn Hockenberry, Green Hills Area Education Agency
  • David Salyer, Loras College
  • Sandy A. Schmitz, Iowa Department of Education