A four-noded quadrilateral (PBQ4) and an eight-noded quadrilateral (PBQ8) plate bending element based on Mindlin plate theory are adopted for the analysis of thin and thick plates resting on elastic foundation using modified Vlasov model. The terms of vertical deflection stiffness matrix and shear deformation stiffness matrix of the subsoil are evaluated using finite element method, and presented in explicit forms. Selective reduced integration technique is used in addition to full integration technique for both the types of the elements to avoid shear-locking problem that occurs under the thin plate limit. It has been demonstrated that the performance of the eight-noded quadrilateral element is excellent for thin and thick plates on elastic foundation when selective-reduced integration technique is used. General conclusion can be drawn from the results that the effect of the shear strain on the behavior of the plate resting on subsoil is always quite small for free plates compare to the supported ones. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.