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Targeted Reading Intervention listed as 'promising' program

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Lynne Vernon-Feagans

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The Targeted Reading Intervention, a professional development program developed by School of Education faculty member Lynne Vernon-Feagans that trains rural classroom teachers to better help struggling readers in early elementary school via innovative webcam technology, has been listed by two organizations as a “promising” program with evidence that demonstrates its effectiveness.

The Targeted Reading Intervention, or TRI, has been developed out of a decade-long research program led by Vernon-Feagans, the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Early Childhood, Special Education and Literacy, and funded by two grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Educational Sciences.

TRI has been listed as “promising” by Blueprints for Health Youth Development, an organization funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and which works to identify prevention and intervention programs that meet strict standards of program effectiveness. TRI’s description on the Blueprints site may be found here.

TRI has also been included in a “Programs that Work” list maintained by the Promising Practices Network. The Promising Practices Network, operated by the RAND Corporation, describes itself as “a unique resource that offers credible, research-based information on what works to improve the lives of children and families.” The TRI description on the PPN’s site may be found here.

TRI uses specially trained literacy coaches who are doctoral students in the School of Education, to give live feedback to teachers weekly via webcam as teachers in remote rural classrooms work one-on-one with a struggling reader in their classrooms. The technology is set up so that teachers can see and hear the coach and the coach can see and hear the teacher and child. The immediate feedback given by coaches to classroom teachers has improved instruction and dramatically improved the reading of struggling readers, Vernon-Feagans said.

The TRI process is designed to individualize instruction so that teacher strategies ┬ámatch students’ needs, resulting in a very cost effective prevention of reading failure for struggling readers in rural schools.

More information about TRI is available here.