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