Research & Mission


The TRI is designed to improve the literacy teaching strategies of rural kindergarten and first grade teachers, with a specific focus on providing teachers with diagnostic strategies that are effective with struggling readers who do not make reading gains using traditional reading instruction.

Our Research

The TRI has been proven effective through a series of randomized controlled trials.  The TRI promotes teacher expertise in literacy instruction by using a collaborative coaching paradigm, which leads to improved student outcomes for struggling readers in the early elementary school years.  TRI studies have incorporated an experimental design in which schools or classrooms are randomly assigned to either receive the intervention or to serve as ‘control’ sites, which leads to an accurate determination of the efficacy of the intervention.
Three distinct studies have been conducted with the TRI:

  • Study One included on-site collaboration between TRI coaches and teachers.  TRI coaches traveled to rural schools in North Carolina to help teachers with individualized diagnostic instruction utilizing the TRI techniques.  Findings from this study indicated that the intervention led to children’s gains in literacy skills.
  • Study Two included the addition of web-based technology to aid in the delivery of TRI coaching.  Web-cameras (webcams) and specialized software were used to allow TRI coaches to interact with distant rural communities, including schools throughout Texas and New Mexico, in addition to sites in North Carolina.  Findings from this study once again revealed significant effects of the intervention on children's growth in literacy outcomes.
  • Study Three of the TRI is currently underway, and incorporates only a technologically-mediated coaching model to facilitate coach-teacher interaction and dialogue.  TRI coaches use webcam technology with teachers in rural North Carolina.  Preliminary results show strong outcomes for students.  This study focuses more particularly on the effects of the TRI professional development on classroom teachers’ changing knowledge, practice, and beliefs.