STudent Achievement in Reading (STAR)

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STudent Achievement in Reading (STAR) was created by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) to assist states and local programs in making systemic and instructional changes required to improve the reading achievement of intermediate-level adult learners (grade level equivalent 4.0 – 8.9). For more than a decade, STAR has been part of OCTAE’s national activities portfolio as its professional development initiative in adult reading instruction. STAR is a comprehensive reading reform initiative for implementing evidence-based reading instruction (EBRI) with this learner population. STAR training and technical assistance packages, available for purchase by states, include professional development, tools, and resources that will expand participants’ knowledge of effective reading instruction and improve their ability to build local and state adult basic education systems that support reading improvement.

STAR’s Research Base

Evidence-based reading instruction integrates findings from the best available reading research. Within EBRI, instructors use diagnostic assessment procedures to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of each learner and target reading instruction accordingly. Instructors that use EBRI help learners improve their skills in each of the four essential components of reading—alphabetics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension—by explaining new concepts, modeling strategies, and by providing feedback when learners practice.

STAR is based on a body of research that is summarized in the report Research-based Principles for Adult Basic Education Reading Instruction. This report was published by the Partnership for Reading and written by John Kruidenier.

Training and Technical Assistance

STAR training and technical assistance packages are available for states to purchase and can be tailored to meet the needs of a state and its local programs. The public STAR website has a comprehensive suite of information, planning tools, and videos to help states prepare to implement the initiative. STAR partner states that have completed a full cycle of STAR training and technical assistance have the opportunity to nominate candidates that meet the specified prerequisites to provide STAR training and technical assistance to new and existing programs within their state. This trainer certification and the associated recertification process give partner states the opportunity to develop state trainers to help sustain, expand, and ensure the integrity of evidence-based reading instruction for intermediate-level readers in local programs. STAR trainers are required to be recertified every three years.

STAR Tool Kit

The STAR Tool Kit is a comprehensive online package of instructional and assessment materials to assist instructors in implementing EBRI. This multimedia resource is available to STAR partner states’ trainers, instructors, and administrators. It features research articles and tools; audio and video examples of instructors and learners; instructional strategies and techniques; interviews with instructors and learners; and follow-up activities.

Current State Partners

Each current STAR partner state has its own dedicated page on the STAR website detailing its points of contact, a description of its professional development system and history of STAR implementation, and a list of programs implementing STAR.

Map of the U.S. that highlights the following 21 STAR partner states, or states that are currently implementing STAR. These states are: California, South Dakota, Kansas, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine.

For More Information

In addition to the STAR Tool Kit, which is available to states that have purchased a STAR training package, the public STAR website offers a wide variety of reading resources to help adult education instructors improve their practice. The quarterly STAR Gazer e-newsletter provides updates on intermediate-level reading research, highlights STAR programs, features student success stories, and more. Anyone interested in evidence-based reading instruction for intermediate-level adult readers is encouraged to subscribe. If you have any specific questions about the STAR project, please contact the project team at