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IES Grant

Title: Teaching Teachers to Teach Critical Reading Strategies (CREST) through an Intensive Professional Development Model
Center: NCER Year: 2005
Principal Investigator: Sailors, Misty W. Awardee: University of Texas, San Antonio
Program: Teaching, Teachers, and the Education Workforce      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $1,264,430
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305M050021

Co-Principal Investigator(s): Harmon, Janis

Purpose: In this study, the researchers proposed to develop and pilot test a model of professional development program that aims to change teacher behavior in how they teach students to be strategic readers. At the end of this project, researchers would have fully developed, tested, and validated this model and determined whether it may improve student reading achievement.

Structured Abstract


Setting: This study takes place in two low-income school districts located in the San Antonio, Texas greater metropolitan area.

Sample: This study will involve 96 regular education classroom teachers and approximately 1,500 students from low-income backgrounds over a 2-year period. Students will range from 1st grade (6 years old) to 8th grade (14 years old). Special education students will be excluded from this study.

Intervention: The Critical Reading Strategies (CREST) professional development intervention is based on studies described in the professional development literature. Strategic reading behaviors that teachers will be taught include word identification and word knowledge strategies; and comprehension strategies for before, during, and after reading. In addition to the usual in-service training (2-day summer workshops and 2 half-day workshops during the school year), teachers will be asked to engage in professional journal writing, "critical friends" networks, intensive support by an expert in strategic reading (an instructional reading coach), discussion about student progress based on student work data, and creation of new Webquests to support strategy instruction. Similar training with somewhat less coaching support will continue during the second year. Achievement data on the same students will be collected for 2 years.

Research Design and Methods: This is a pretest-posttest control group research project designed to test two professional models. Schools and teachers will volunteer to participate. Interested schools will be randomly assigned to condition groups and all teachers electing to participate within a school will receive the same professional development. There will be 48 teachers each in the experimental and control groups (24 elementary and 24 middle school teachers in each group). Demographic data will be obtained on all participating students, and a group of three students per class, stratified by reading achievement, will be identified in each classroom for observational data collection.

Control Condition: Participants in the control condition will receive traditional workshop PD with the same content as the experimental group. There will be no additional support activities beyond the workshops.

Key Measures: Teacher measures will include collection of observational classroom data, teacher interviews, and monthly teacher reflective journals. Student measures will include administration of the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT-3) to identify focus students in each classroom and the Group Reading Assessment Diagnostic Evaluation (GRADE), a norm-referenced reading assessment as a pretest and posttest to monitor reading growth.

Data Analytic Strategy: Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) will be used to examine the variability in student change generated by the particular model of professional development (serving as the independent variable) as measured by GRADE achievement scores (serving as the dependent variable). The protocol and interview scores will also be analyzed by qualitative means to better understand the ways in which teacher behavior is changing.

Products and Publications

ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.

Select Publications:

Book chapters

Sailors, M. (2008). Improving Comprehension Instruction Through Quality Professional Development. In S.E. Israel, and G.G. Duffy (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Reading Comprehension (pp. 645–657). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Journal articles

Sailors, M., and Price, L. (2010). Professional Development That Supports the Teaching of Cognitive Reading Strategy Instruction. The Elementary School Journal, 110(3): 301–322.

Sailors, M., and Price, L. (2015). Support for the Improvement of Practices through Intensive Coaching (SIPIC): A Model of Coaching for Improving Reading Instruction and Reading Achievement. Teaching and Teacher Education, 45, 115–127.


Sailors, M. (2007). Supporting Teachers Through an Intensive Professional Development Model.Corpus Christi, TX: CEDER Yearbook.

* This project was submitted to and funded under Teacher Quality: Reading and Writing in FY 2005.