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Early Literacy Implementation (ELI)


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Legal Requirements

Note: This statute has been amended effective July 1, 2017 and the DE is updating guidance accordingly.  Please check back for updates.

Iowa Code section 279.68 and 281--Iowa Administrative Code 62 promote effective evidence-based programming, instruction and assessment practices across schools to support all students to become proficient readers by the end of the third grade. General requirements of Iowa Code section 279.68 and 281--Iowa Administrative Code 62 are listed below. All requirements go into effect immediately and are expected to be implemented no later than August 1, 2014 unless otherwise indicated.

  • Provision of universal screening in reading for students in kindergarten through third grade
  • Progress monitoring for students who are at risk and persistently at risk in reading
  • Provision of intensive instruction – including 90 minutes daily of scientific, research-based reading instruction - for students who are persistently at risk in reading
  • Notice to parents that a student is persistently at risk in reading, including strategies the parents can use at home to help the child succeed
  • Notice to parents of such a student’s subsequent progress


The purpose of the guidance documents are to aid Iowa’s public school districts in (1) interpreting and implementing Iowa Code section 279.68, and (2) determining how best to use the funds provided by this code.

  1. Early Literacy Guidance (2016-08-31) provides the specific requirements and permitted actions by public school districts, frequently asked questions, and definition of terms.
  2. Early Literacy Technical Assistance Appendices (2016-08-31) are to be used as companion technical assistance to Iowa’s official guidance for 279.68. This document will be continually updated throughout the year, and revised versions will be highlighted for the user. Appendices are organized by topic:
    1. Assessment: Universal Screening and Progress Monitoring: Includes information on the universal screening window, benchmarks, approved assessments and changing the default progress monitoring measure
    2. Continuous Improvement: Includes general information on continuous improvement as it relates to early literacy, collaborative inquiry questions which serve as the foundation of Iowa’s Continuous School Improvement Process, general guidance around chronic and early absenteeism and information regarding protocols to support schools to identify barriers and address areas of concern within their Comprehensive School Improvement Plan.
    3. Data Reporting: Coming Soon!
    4. Early Childhood: Includes information about preschool and kindergarten, GOLD and IGDIs data, and alignment between the Iowa Core and the Iowa Early Learning Standards specific to English Language Arts and Mathematics.
    5. Finance: Includes ELI Budget Guidance, application for funds, and budget contact information.
    6. Intensive Intervention and Core Instruction: Includes general information on instruction, determining intervention success, links to the Iowa Reading Research Center and information on the reviewed list of interventions.
    7. Parental Notification: Includes example parent letters, contracts, progress reports to parents
    8. Persistently at Risk: Includes documents to support teacher observations and risk determination
    9. Student Populations: Includes technical assistance to support specific student populations including students with disabilities, English learners, non-public students, homeschool [CPI, IPI] students, and students whose parents refuse assessment and/or intervention.

Informational Webinars and Q/A

The Department is sponsoring informational webinars during the 2015-2016 school year to review Iowa Code section 279.68 and 281--Iowa Administrative Code 62. Each month new webinar topics will be available. Links to recorded webinars, presentation slides and other related materials are organized by content area, and available in the Support Materials section of this webpage. Access informational webinars here:
Date Time Topic Materials (if applicable)
12/11/15 3:30-4:30 Overview of ELI Guidance Early Literacy Guidance
Early Literacy Technical Assistance Appendices
12/16/15 10:30-11:30 Early Childhood Early Literacy Technical Assistance Appendices, Appendix C
    Data Reporting Coming Soon!
3/10/16 3:00-4:30

Finding Meaning in Fluency

Finding Meaning In Fluency Q and A

Research Resources

Support Materials

Topic Appendices Webinar Recording/PowerPoint Related Documents
*Items without hyperlinks are included in Appendix
Overview of ELI Guidance  

Overview of ELI Webinar/PowerPoint

Early Literacy Guidance
Early Literacy Technical Assistance Appendices
A. Assessment: Universal Screening and Progress Monitoring Appendix A Assessment: US/PM Webinar/PowerPoint

1. Universal screening windows in Appendix A
2. US Benchmarks in Appendix A
3. Approved Literacy Assessments 2016-2017
4. 2016-2017 Universal Screening Windows

5.2017-2018 Universal Screening Windows for Regular School Year

B. Continuous Improvement Appendix B See Differentiated Accountability for the most up-to-date information. 1.Collaborative Inquiry Questions in Appendix B
2. Assessment System Protocol
3. Universal Instruction Protocol
4. Identifying Barriers
C. Data Reporting Appendix C    
D. Early Childhood Appendix D Early Childhood Webinar/PowerPoint
1. Preschool and Kindergarten Guidance in Appendix C
2. Gold and IGDIs abbreviated
3. Gold and IGDIs Nonabbreviated in Appendix C
4. Alignment between Iowa Core and IELS
E. Finance Appendix E N/A 1. ELI Budget Guidance in Appendix D
2. Application for funds
F. Intensive Intervention and Core Instruction Appendix F 1. Determining Intervention Success/PowerPoint
2. Reviewed Intervention List/PowerPoint
1.a. Foormanetal 2003
1.b. Intervention Effectiveness Protocol in Appendix E
2. Early Literacy Interventions Reviewed List
3. Iowa Reading Research Center
G. Parent Notification Appendix G   1. Parent Notification letter examples in Appendix G
2. Parent Contract letter examples in Appendix G
3. Progress Reports in Appendix G
4. Parent/Guardian Letters in Translation
H. Persistently at Risk Appendix H   1. Teacher Observation Tool
2. Literacy status matrix and stair step in Appendix H
I. Student Populations Appendix I Students with Disabilities Webinar/PowerPoint 1. ELI Alternate Resources and Links


Please send email questions regarding Iowa TIER to:

Administrative issues:
Differentiated Accountability issues:
Technical issues:

If you are an existing Iowa TIER user, please submit a support ticket for follow up.


Successful Progression for Early Readers (ELI) Grant

The Iowa Legislature has appropriated $8 million per for implementation of Iowa Code Section 279.68 - Early Literacy Progression for each of the years listed below. When available, the application for these funds is found on the IowaGrants website.

Successful Progression for Early Readers (ELI) Grant Instructions

2013-2014 ELI Allocations

2014-2015 ELI Allocations

2015-2016 ELI Allocations

2016-2017 ELI Allocations



Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on May 28, 2017 at 5:13pm.