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Masters of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification

Core Intervention Model (ELL) - Topic 53

What is it?

The Core Intervention Model is a supplemental direct instruction in phonological skills that has been demonstrated to be effective for use with English Language Learners (ELL).

It was designed for use for K-2 phonological awareness, decoding, and listening comprehension. Six principles that guide the intervention are:

Example of Staircase Questioning:

Step 1:  Original question – “What word rhymes with frog?”

Step 2:  Yes or No questions – “Does log rhyme with frog?”

Step 3: Telling the answer – “Log rhymes with frog; what rhymes with frog?”

Step 4:  Say and repeat – “Log” “Good, log rhymes with frog”.

(From Gerber et al., 2004)

Why is it important?

Latino/a students have the highest rate of school failure in the US compared to all other ethnic groups. Latino/a students are often placed into special education without receiving high-quality instruction or linguistically appropriate pre-referral reading interventions. ELL students that received this reading intervention demonstrated significant gains, with large effect sizes for phonological awareness, and moderate effect sizes for word reading and decoding.


Gerber, M.M., Jimenez, T., Leafstedt, J. (2004). English reading effects of small-group intensive

intervention in Spanish for K-1 English learners. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice,

19, 239-251.

Web Links

Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts

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