U. of Oregon

Enhanced Core Reading Instruction

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Grade Levels Group Size Tutor Type Qualifying Studies Average Effect Size
K-33-5Teaching Asst.*2+0.27

Contact Info



Groups Studied
Asian American
English Learners
Free and Reduced Lunch

Communities Studied

Program Description

Enhanced Core Reading Instruction (ECRI) is a multi-tiered program (Tier 1 and Tier 2) featuring a series of teaching routines designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of reading instruction in K-2, including a strong focus on synthesizing sounds to decode text. ECRI can be implemented across Tiers 1 and 2 or as a stand-alone Tier 2 tutoring program. ECRI was developed and is disseminated by the Center on Teaching and Learning (CTL) at the University of Oregon.



ECRI tutors are teaching assistants who should have a four-year college degree and successful experience working with children, perhaps as a tutor, teacher, or camp counselor. Tutors may be hired by school districts, or school districts may contract with AmeriCorps agencies, with Catapult Learning, or with other organizations to hire and support the tutors. Tutors may be part or full-time employees. A full-time tutor should be able to provide up to nine 30-minute sessions daily (30 children). Tutors usually tutor in person, but may also work online when in-person tutoring is not possible.


ECRI is designed for students in grades K-2 with or at risk for reading difficulties, as well as students in grade 3 who are reading below grade-level expectations. For Tier 1 ECRI, instruction is provided to the whole class. For Tier 2 ECRI, students work in small groups of three to five. The groups should be at about the same reading level. Students receive 30 minutes a day of tutoring across the school year or until they are performing at grade level expectations.


No technology is required to implement in-person ECRI. PDF versions of lesson materials are available for remote implementation.


ECRI curriculum materials can be accessed in paper books or online PDFs. Lesson books align directly with the scope and sequence of core reading programs and enhance their effectiveness through the use of instructional routines and strategically selected practice opportunities. The curriculum emphasizes the five National Reading Panel skills: Phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency.


Daily lesson mastery is determined by recording student errors made during the lesson with an easy-to-use data collection form. Recorded errors can be re-taught at the end of each lesson and at the start of the next lesson.

Program Operation

In Tier I, ECRI takes existing, published reading programs and “enhances” them, primarily through lesson maps and instruction templates, to make instruction more explicit, systematic, and phonics-based to support the reading achievement of students with or at risk for literacy-related disabilities. In Tier 2, enhanced Tier I lessons are pre-taught to students determined to need supplemental intervention (i.e., in addition to Tier I) on the basis of screening data. The reading content of Tier 2 and the way intervention teachers pre-teach Tier 2 intervention through the same lesson maps and instruction templates that are used in Tier I means there is strong alignment between Tier I and Tier 2, so that students receiving Tier 2 have advance instruction on Tier I content and therefore are better able to process the content and actively participate in the Tier I lessons.

Professional Development, Progress Monitoring, and Follow-up

ECRI External Specialists provide 40 hours of initial training and 2 hours per month of ongoing support for Local Coaches in each district or region. Local Coaches provide tutors with 12 hours of initial training, either in-person or on-line, 2 hours per month of ongoing support in a group setting, and 2 hours per month of 1:1 support. Data from all participating students are summarized electronically and shared with tutors, local coaches, and ECRI external specialists. These data are used in regular coaching conversations or observation visits to help make sure that all students are on track to success.


Annual Per Tutor Costs: Tutor is an ISEBE employee (About 30 students served per tutor each year)

Annual Per Tutor Cost
-Tutor training and coaching
-Program management
$25,500 to $27,000

Annual Per Tutor Costs: Tutor is a school employee (About 30 students served per tutor each year)

Annual Per Tutor Cost
-Tutor training and coaching
-Program management
$6,000 to $6,600

Research on Program Outcomes

Research has shown that ECRI has a beneficial impact on reading achievement for students with or at risk for reading difficulties and disabilities through two randomized controlled trials (Fien et al., 2020; Smith et al., 2016). The original impact study and the replication study took place in 44 schools located in Oregon and Massachusetts. Across both studies, just over 1,500 first grade students at risk for reading difficulty qualified for ECRI small-group instruction or Tier 2 services at comparison schools. Approximately 50% of students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, 20% were Hispanic, and 19% English learners. In both studies, students in schools assigned to ECRI outperformed students in control schools on a number of standardized reading measures (DIBELS, WRMT, SAT 10) with an average mean effect size of +0.27.

Key Studies

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