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Early Steps

Essa Rating
No. Studies
No. Students
Average Effect Size

Program Description

Early Steps, based on an earlier version called Howard Street Tutoring, is a one-to-one tutoring model provided in 30-minute sessions five days a week over the entire first grade year. Tutors may be the child’s own teacher, a Title I teacher, or a part-time teacher added to the staff. Tutors receive extensive training, observation, and feedback. They use a series of leveled, non-phonetic books, and follow a daily schedule of re-reading familiar books, systematic word study, sentence writing, and introducing new books.

Program Outcomes

Early Steps was evaluated in one qualifying study, in urban Tennessee. Compared to similar students in different schools who received no tutoring, those in Early Steps scored substantially higher on Woodcock Johnson Word Attack and Passage Comprehension scales (average effect size = +0.86).

Staffing Requirements

Classroom teachers, reading teachers, or well-prepared paraprofessionals are needed to serve as tutors. Community volunteers are not suggested as tutors.

Professional Development/Training

Early Steps training involves 9 full-day visits by the trainer across the school year. On each visit, the trainer works with the same nine teachers-in-training spread across three sites (i.e., three teachers at each of three schools). On each of these training days, the participating teachers are released for two hours to participate in the training (trainer observes them tutoring children and provides guidance and feedback). All nine teachers-in-training also attend a 1-hour after school-seminar on the training days.


No technology is required