Materials for students in the primary grades need to provide repeated, regular exposure to—and practice opportunities for—the full range of foundational skills, such as concepts of print, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, and fluency. The Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts for Grades K-2 emphasize the need to provide all students with consistent opportunities to confront and comprehend grade-level complex text—through individual reading, through read-alouds, or as a group reading activity. Although this may require extra scaffolding for some students, all students should have an opportunity to engage with complex text as a member of a class.

Characteristics of high-quality reading materials for Grades K-2:

  • appropriately complex texts
  • contain more sophisticated academic vocabulary
  • lend themselves to more complex tasks
  • able to support rich dialogue
  • well-written and, as appropriate, richly illustrated
  • appeal to students’ interests (“texts of their choice”)
  • worth reading and re-reading
  • wide range of materials on a variety of topics and genres
  • vary in length and density
  • at students’ own reading levels as well as complexity levels that will challenge and motivate students

National Geographic's many award-winning nonfiction materials—from children's books to classroom magazines to interactive digital products—provide primary students with opportunities to practice the foundational reading skills required to achieve fluency and comprehension.