Research Topic

The Relationship between Early Literacy Domains and Grade-Level Reading


  • Subject: Literacy
  • Grades: K–4
  • Topic: Early Literacy
  • Study Year: 2016–2019

Published January 2023

This report examines the relationship between domain-level reading performance in early elementary grades and grade-level reading two years later and discusses some possible classroom implications. Our research finds that a student’s foundational reading skills in the early elementary grades is a strong indicator of a student’s future overall reading ability. Without early identification of students’ literacy skills, the likelihood of educators putting students on a path for developing long-term literacy skills diminishes. When educators are able to identify any gaps in skills early on with the aid of instructionally useful assessment information, they can intervene and help solidify students’ foundational skills, setting them up for success in reading and, ultimately, a love of learning.

Meet the Authors

Molly K. Duncan, Ph.D.


Curriculum Associates

Julia Febiger

Former Director of Research Content

Curriculum Associates

Deanne Crone

Policy Analyst

Curriculum Associates