This UURC intervention model is designed for at-risk, beginning readers who read at or below primer level. Early StepsSM finalizes alphabet mastery and provides phonemic awareness, systematic, explicit one-syllable short vowel phonics and assisted reading in a daily 30 minute session.


Recommended 5 days per week - 30 minutes per session

  1. Rereading Familiar Books on Instructional Level (8-10 mins)
    • GOALS:
      • initially, to develop concept of word
      • to build fluency
    • The student reads three books from previous lesson; the last book is the one introduced the previous day.
    • The tutor coaches the child to identify words independently by initial grapheme-phoneme, memory, and pictures. The tutor allows time for the child to correct errors.
  2. Word Study (8-10 mins)
    • GOALS:
      • to develop phonemic awareness and alphabet knowledge
      • to develop strategies for identifying unfamiliar words when reading
      • to increase high frequency sight vocabulary
    • Word study systematically moves from consonant sounds and letter knowledge --> onset-vowel words --> mixed short vowel words --> most common vowel patterns.
    • Picture/Letter/Word cards are used for sorts, games, and spelling.
    • Word Study is briskly paced and highly motivating.
  3. Writing (5-8 mins)
    • GOALS:
      • to develop phonemic awareness (attend to and segment individual sounds in speech)
      • to become familiar with sentence writing conventions (e.g., capitalization, spaces between words, punctuation)
    • The student completes a high frequency sentence stem; the child says each word aloud while writing.
    • The tutor encourages the child to write down a letter/s for each sound heard.
    • The child rereads the sentence aloud, pointing to each word as it is said.
    • The tutor rewrites the sentence on a sentence strip, cuts it apart, and mixes the words up. The chid then arranges the words in proper order and rereads the sentence one more time. (This component discontinues after text level 5).
  4. Assisted Reading of New Book on Instructional Level (5-7 mins)
    • GOALS:
      • to build a framework of meaning prior to reading text
      • to engage in comprehension strategies while reading (e.g., prediction, retelling, problem/solution)
    • The tutor and child preview the book together (pictures, difficult vocabulary) to build a framework of meaning.
    • The tutor reads a line/page aloud and the child "echos" it. As the child gains proficiency at a particular text level, this support diminishes, indicating readiness for a more challenging level.
    • Comprehension is emphasized through discussion about important events in the text.