A blended intervention program to diagnose struggling readers and build foundational literacy skills.

App of the Week

12 word description of app/product: A blended intervention program to diagnose struggling readers and build foundational literacy skills.


Formats: Access Code operates on multiple devices and operating systems, including Google Chrome, and is now available through the App Store.


Website: https://www.foundations-learning.com/


What does it help with?
Based on years of research and developed in close collaboration with school districts, Access Code is an innovative blended assessment and intervention system designed for students who persistently struggle with reading comprehension and fluency. Using Access Code, teachers can diagnose struggling readers and help them develop automatic word recognition — the critical bridge between phonics and fluency. Rather than teaching students to just acquire new skills, Access Code establishes the learning conditions that allow them to generalize and apply those skills in order to become fluent, proficient readers. This easy-to-use program delivers differentiated instruction, tailored to students’ individual needs, in the context of a digital learning environment.

What grade and age range? 

This research-based intervention program is designed for students in grades one through middle school who are one or more years behind grade level in reading ability as well as those who persistently struggle with reading fluency and comprehension. Students who benefit from Access Code exhibit one or more of the following reading challenges:

- Are one or more years behind in reading

- Struggle with comprehension and fluency

- Do not decode well — lack automaticity

- Struggle to identify/distinguish vowels

- Do not understand how syllables work or have difficulty breaking words into syllables

- Cannot apply the rules of phonics to new words or to connected text


Is this core/supplemental/special needs/extracurricular/professional development or what?

Access Code combines innovative online learning materials with teacher-led instruction. Together with the accompanying screener and diagnostic tool (iASK), Access Code allows teachers to accurately assess students’ literacy skills and deliver personalized and differentiated instruction in a digital learning environment. In addition, Access Code provides teachers with supplementary materials that align with the online learning components.


What subject, topic, what standards is it mapped to?
Access Code help to build students’ foundational literacy skills by offering an extensive suite of resources, curriculum guides, and daily lesson plans that work to extend vocabulary development, fluency, comprehension, and writing. 

Access Code directly addresses many foundational reading skills as described in the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Print Concepts (4 out of 5 Standards)
  • Phonological Awareness (9 out of 9 Standards)
  • Phonics and Word Recognition (23 out of 23 Standards)
  • Fluency (16 out of 16 Standards)

What lesson time does it use?
Students in need of intervention use Access Code at least 20 minutes a day, four or five days a week, and typically complete the curriculum in five to six months. Depending on student learning needs, teachers deliver supplementary lessons two to five times a week using materials provided by Access Code. These supplemental lessons align with what the students are learning on Access Code and are designed to deepen learning and ensure success.


What is the pricing model?

Access Code is available either on a subscription basis or under a schoolwide license, with volume pricing available under the subscription model. The Foundations in Learning team works with school leaders to determine which approach best meets their implementation needs. Schedule a demo today.

Are there services around it?
Access Code now includes iASK —a validated and reliable online assessment, screener, and full diagnostic for struggling readers in middle school. iASK identifies those students who lack the decoding skills required for reading fluency and comprehension as well as those who may have some of these skills but cannot use them efficiently enough to read fluently. Access Code and the accompanying screener and diagnostic tool (iASK) allow teachers to accurately assess students and deliver personalized and differentiated instruction in a digital learning environment.


In addition to providing an easy-to-use reading intervention program for students, Access Code includes a dashboard for teachers to monitor student progress and the option to receive regular email updates.

What makes Access Code unique?
A premier reading app, Access Code quickly identifies students struggling with basic reading skills and uses an innovative research- and evidence-based approach that is proven to improve the performance of students struggling with reading fluency and comprehension in as little as 16 weeks. It is effective with students at risk for language and literacy development, English Language Learners, special needs students, and students who learn differently. Access Code includes detailed, web-based reporting tools and email alerts, and unique tools and content designed for elementary and secondary settings. It also extends vocabulary development, fluency, comprehension, and writing with an extensive suite of resources, curriculum guides, and daily lesson plans.

A description of the characteristics--how is it designed for user interface, user experience? What instructional design principles are at work here?
Access Code’s curriculum is driven by the Varied Practice Model (VPM), a learning model that allows students to generalize and apply new skills to new contexts. Unlike traditional, mastery-based approaches to reading instruction that focus primarily on skill acquisition, Access Code is designed to help students retain and flexibly use their new reading skills by integrating knowledge into a system rather than just learning isolated skills. The learning principles of the VPM were used to drive the content, instructional design, and tasks with Access Code. The curriculum consists of 24 units that are organized into six objectives. Each of the six objectives targets specific vowel classes and each unit within an objective includes 22 tasks and focuses on specific vowel contrasts within that class. The students initiate the intervention tool when they log into a secure site and independently progress through an engaging, easy-to-use graphic interface.

Teacher reviews:
“When using Foundations in Learning's reading program Access Code, my language arts resource students made remarkable growth in their ability to tackle longer, multisyllabic words, and this translated to better fluency and greater confidence. On average, they made 1.8 years of growth in approximately seven months as measured on the Qualitative Reading Inventory." Christina Sorenson, Leander ISD, TX


“An assessment that assists teachers in early, accurate diagnosis of their students’ reading challenges is particularly necessary given the difficulties too many face while developing foundational reading skills” - Dr. Donna Ryan, Superintendent, Clinch County Schools


“Students with severe reading difficulties were reading. The most wonderful blessings were watching them succeed for the first time and feel like true readers.” Marsha Allen, Santa Fe, NM


“Access Code has helped with confidence, oral reading, fluency and decoding skills. My goal is that they feel more empowered to become lifelong readers, even if aspects of it are hard.” Jill Powell, Sioux Falls, SD


And don’t forget to keep up with the latest news on Access Code by following Foundations in Learning on Twitter and Facebook.

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