ECRI Short Description

Exemplary Center for Reading Instruction (ECRI).  A program designed as a practical guide to teach reading and other language skills to students in grades K-12.  In-service for teachers is based on research findings on effective instruction.


The Exemplary Center for Reading Instruction’s purpose is to teach teachers so they can use effective teaching strategies that prevent failure.  These strategies include:  eliciting accurate and rapid responses during instruction, establishing high levels of mastery, maintaining on-task behavior, integrating the teaching of language skills, using effective management and monitoring systems, varying schedules and classes so students can invest the time and energy needed to learn, and supervising students’ hands-on activities and practice.  The strategies are incorporated into the teaching of reading, spelling, grammar, creative and expository writing, literature, speaking, and drama skills, and are extremely effective in content instruction such as science and social studies.

Students’ attention is sustained with the momentum of the instruction and reinforcement offered during practice time.  Overt responses appeal to all preferred modalities of learning.  Instruction is provided by ECRI so teachers can:  utilize critical teacher behaviors identified through research, develop a class and/or school scheduling and record keeping system for mastery and individualization, and teach reading and language skills effectively.

Teachers learn to teach phonemic awareness, word recognition skills, vocabulary through phonics and word structure methods, literal, interpretative, critical and creative comprehension, study skills, literature, and composition as they use readers, literature series, novels, trade and content books typically available in the school.

Students demonstrate mastery through their participation in small-group discussions, writing, locating, organizing, and evaluating information as well as with criterion referenced tests written for the different reading and literature series and with standardized tests.

ECRI students demonstrate competency in their ability to reason, solve problems, apply knowledge, read, write, and communicate (National Goal 3).  ECRI students remain in school longer because of their success in school and their higher academic scores (National Goal 2).

A description of ECRI was included in the “Catalog of the Education Commission of the States” (review an excerpt of the ECS Catalog at: as a Promising Practice, and was included in the “Catalog of School Reform Models” by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (review an excerpt of the NWREL catalog at:  Streamed Internet broadcasts showing ECRI classes can be viewed at  ECRI is listed in John Hopkins University’s Best Evidence Encyclopedia (BEE) website as a program rated as having evidence of effectiveness for upper elementary reading.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Regular education ECRI students demonstrate significantly greater gains (p<.01) on the reading subscales of standardized achievement tests than (1) comparison group students receiving their regular reading instruction and (2) expectancies derived from national normative data.

Special needs ECRI students (Chapter I, bilingual, remedial) and special education students (learning disabled) demonstrate significantly (p<.01) greater than expected gains (derived from national normative data) and the Total Reading composite scales of standardized achievement tests.


For teachers to begin to implement ECRI, five to 10 days of instruction are preferred with one ECRI staff person for 25-30 trainees.  The program includes lecture and practice sessions, preparation of materials for classroom use, and teaching students in a simulated setting.  Following this, periodic visits by ECRI staff to trainees’ classrooms to demonstrate, model, and monitor are encouraged.  The length of time to replicate the ECRI model varies.  Existing district reading materials may be used.  Supplies for teachers and pupils are those usually found in schools.  ECRI teacher texts and tests are used by teachers during in-service.  No special staffing or facilities are required to implement ECRI.


Honorarium is $1,000/day plus expenses.  Required ECRI teacher texts are approximately $285/teacher plus shipping.


Awareness materials are available at no cost.  Visitors are welcome by appointment at the program site and additional sites in other states.  Program staff are available to attend out-of-state awareness meetings.  Teacher of Teachers Conferences are held in the summer at Reid Ranch in Utah.  Training, implementation, and follow-up services are available at adopter sites and at the program site.