Field Studies of RTI Effectiveness Exemplary Model of Early Reading Growth and Excellence (EMERGE) Model

Study Citation


Gettinger, M., & Stoiber, K. (2007). Applying a response-to-intervention model for early literacy development in low-income children. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 27, 198–213.


Program Description


The Exemplary Model of Early Reading Growth and Excellence (EMERGE) model is a multi-tiered early literacy program focused on low-income children. The goal of the model is to ensure children begin kindergarten with the fundamental skills necessary for learning to read. Gettinger and Stoiber (2007) identified three critical elements in the EMERGE model necessary to prepare children for later success in school:

1. Classroom practices grounded in empirical research;
2. Multi-tiered intervention hierarchy (e.g., increasingly intensive interventions);
3. High-quality professional development (e.g., intensive and ongoing literacy coaching).

Within this model, classroom teachers are responsible for Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction. Progress is monitored once a month and the bottom 50% of all students receive small-group, Tier 2 interventions. Specially trained tutors (e.g., undergraduate and graduate research assistants) are responsible for the more intensive Tier 3 instruction. Based on progress-monitoring data, the lowest 20% of all children receive Tier 3 tutoring in the second half of the school year.

 Training of school personnel was the responsibility of the program directors. Classroom teachers were provided 3 hours of professional development per month for 9 months, as well as on-site literacy coaching and mentoring. The objectives of literacy coaching included a) modeling of strategies, b) monitoring of implementation integrity, and c) provision of individualized support for teachers.


Purpose of Study


Gettinger and Stoiber (2007) conducted the study to discover the impact of the EMERGE model on literacy outcomes. Specifically, the purpose of the study was to answer the following question:

1. After one school year, do students participating in the EMERGE model outperform similar peers on eight literacy-based measures?


Study Method


The beginning-of-year and end-of-year performance on eight literacy measures were compared between 15 EMERGE classrooms and a control of 10 randomly selected Head Start classrooms. The characteristics of the control classrooms closely matched those of the EMERGE classrooms. The eight literacy measures consisted of a) Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–III, b) alphabet knowledge, c) alliteration, d) rhyming, e) story retelling, f) picture naming, g) print awareness, and h) name writing.


Study Results


Multiple analyses of covariance (MANCOVAs) were conducted to examine differences between children in the EMERGE model and those in control classrooms on each outcome measure. Beginning-of-year performance served as the covariate. On each measure, EMERGE children outperformed children in the control classrooms. Effect sizes were small to moderate, ranging from .13 to .45.

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