Enhanced Core Reading Instruction (ECRI)


To dramatically improve reading proficiency for K-2nd grade students and create a systemwide, multi-tiered approach to teaching reading for Tiers 1 and 2.

With over 26 different languages spoken and the State College School District’s (SCSD) most diverse student population, Easterly Parkway Elementary School is unique. Prior to 2019, it was also the district’s lowest performing school with 48% reading proficiency in 1st grade.    

Easterly knew that with the right instruction on how to teach reading and how to use classroom time effectively and efficiently, its students could achieve so much more.  


Easterly applied for an Enhancing Early Literacy Outcomes with Tiered Systems grant through the Pennsylvania Training & Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) to develop an aligned reading program and create SCSD’s first systemwide, phonics-based approach.

During PaTTAN training in fall 2019, Enhanced Core Reading Instruction (ECRI) trainers led Easterly’s team through a practical, research-based approach to teaching reading and other language skills. Impressed, the school implemented daily phonics work and ECRI teaching methods immediately for the entire 1st grade. By midyear, with ECRI’s structured system for phonemic awareness, word recognition, vocabulary, comprehension, study skills, literature, and composition, reading proficiency jumped to 72% for students receiving Tier 1 and Tier 2 support. Higher-achieving readers improved, too, as did student writing across the board.  

Easterly seamlessly pivoted ECRI online in spring 2020 with recorded lessons and small groups. Today, the school uses ECRI for Kindergarten through 2nd grade and introduced an afterschool program for a bilingual approach using phonics in English and Spanish. Five of the eight SCSD elementary schools have embraced the program.

“ECRI created an equitable experience for all our students. Every intervention and core is aligned, providing consistent, repeated reading practices for our students. ECRI brought engagement to a whole new level.”

– Danielle Yoder, SCSD Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education and Easterly Parkway’s former principal

Enhanced Core Reading Instruction (ECRI):

  • For grades K-2 with or at risk for reading difficulties and grade 3 students reading below grade-level expectations.
  • Tier 1 ECRI instruction provided to the whole class; Tier 2 instruction is small groups at the same reading level
  • Easy-to-use digital data collection to assess student progress, shared with teachers and ECRI coaches to track and map student success
  • Experienced ECRI tutors provide 40 hours of initial training and 2 hours/month of ongoing support by local coaches
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