Literacy development is the key component in the learning of all school subjects and preparation for productive individual and community livelihood.

Struggling readers experience great difficulty in reading and comprehending everyday work documents, textbooks, websites, and other media. Dr. JoAnne Caldwell and Dr. Molly Shiffler designed an intervention model reflecting the complex nature of literacy acquisition titled CLIFFTOPS, an acronym for the plan's primary components:

Language (scaffolding), 
Phonological layers, and (metacognitive) 

Although highly adaptable to individual student needs, lesson formats grounded in the CLIFFTOPS model and including the well-researched components of successful literacy intervention were developed.

The current intervention formats use basics from this template but, depending on the results of clinical quality literacy assessment, provide more specific instruction in phonemic segmenting and blending (Hatcher, Hulme, & Ellis, 1994), flexible metacognitive processing (Cartwright, 2008), fluency (Kuhn & Stahl, 2000; Wolf, Miller, & Donnelly, 2000), and writing research (Baker, Gersten, & Graham, 2003).

This model is unique because not only is it research based, but the individualized instruction that each student receives is determined by student need, growth, and interests.  

Learning to Read

When students are learning to read, we stress the building blocks of successful lifetime literacy: rich language, sound play, rhyming, word study skills including phonics, fluency, vocabulary comprehension, and writing.

At these stages of reading, we choose fiction and nonfiction materials based on the student’s interests.

Lessons include research-based comprehension strategies, word study, and spelling activities to ensure reading progress.

Reading to Learn

We help maturing readers understand how to gain information from all forms of electronic and paper print.

We teach thinking strategies, word analysis, and study skills students need to read for information, study more effectively, learn content, and read for pleasure.

Students learn to recognize how textbooks are organized, take notes, identify unfamiliar words, analyze new information, and derive word meanings, learn content, and read for pleasure.