Getting Started with STARI
Registering for STARI
All materials are free and downloadable for registered users.
Selecting Students for STARI
STARI is designed for students in grades 6-9 who are 2-4 years behind grade level in reading.
To participate in the fluency strand of STARI, students should be able to read material at a third-grade level or higher (lexile 500, G.E. 3.5 or higher) with 95% or higher word reading accuracy (independent level) and with at least 75% comprehension. Students should also be able to read materials at a fourth-grade level or higher (lexile 600, G.E. 4.0 or higher) with 90% or higher word reading accuracy (instructional level). Students with mild or moderate disabilities or those who are advanced English language learners may be appropriate for STARI, along with students who struggle with reading comprehension but have no specific language or learning differences.
There are many different methods to determine which students should be placed in the STARI classroom, including diagnostic reading tests, standardized test scores, ELA teacher recommendations, grades, and IEPs. Some schools use below proficient scores on the state English language arts assessment as an initial screen for STARI eligibility. Students in the below-proficient range can participate in individual or group reading assessments, using one of the assessments below, to further determine whether their reading skills are well-matched with STARI.
STARI is not appropriate for students who read at a first, second, or beginning third grade level or who have an Individualized Education Plan that specifies work with a rules-based phonics program. STARI is also not appropriate for students who are English language learners at ELD levels 1-3.
Downloading and Printing STARI Curriculum Materials
Determine the STARI level appropriate for your students and download the materials.
Determine whether you will order pre-printed STARI curriculum materials:
or download and print materials in-house:
Purchasing Literature and Other Materials for Student and Teacher Use
Literature for Student and Teacher Use
STARI targets basic and deep comprehension skills through work with thematic units that link literature with nonfiction.
Purchasing literature needed for STARI implementation:
Additional Classroom Materials
How is STARI structured (or designed)?
STARI is designed as a year-long intervention. There are two levels to the STARI curriculum: level one and level two. Sixth graders work with level one materials, while level two is designed for eighth graders. Teachers may choose to teach either level one or level two to seventh graders. There are four units to each level; each unit is organized around themes and essential questions that are compelling to young adolescent readers.
Most STARI teachers teach STARI as an intervention in addition to students’ ELA class. But since STARI is a complete, cohesive curriculum, teachers who have taught it during an ELA period or block have found that it’s possible to extend and add to STARI, rather than integrate STARI into another curriculum. For example, while writing may not be a focus of STARI, teachers may extend and develop writing assignments that build on the activities and themes in STARI.
What class size, frequency, and length are recommended for STARI?
Ideally classes will be no larger than 16 students. In most schools, classes with 10-12 students work best. Some of our successful classes have been larger, but the teacher should have very good classroom management skills that will also allow for some independent, pair, and small group work.
STARI was designed to be taught each day, for approximately one hour or class block. If that is not possible, we recommend that STARI meet for a minimum of 3 times per week for an hour. STARI is a thematic program, and students need to meet consistently in order to maximize their understanding of the components of the curriculum.
How can I measure students’ progress throughout the year?
STARI incorporates several features for measuring student progress. At the front of each fluency workbook is a chart for recording words read per minute. Students can track how well their reading rate is improving in each unit.
Student talk about text is another important part of our theory of change. Tools to help teachers document change over time in individuals’ participation and engagement, such as a discussion rubric, are available on the download center.
Who can teach STARI?
Most STARI teachers have certification or background in reading, but many also have special education, ELL, or ELA training and experience. Generally, middle school teachers with ELA credentials or reading specialists can teach STARI. The curriculum is narrative and outlines activities step by step, but it is also layered and complex. The website and download center provide resources with helpful tips, strategies, and tools for teaching STARI. We recommend training and support for teachers as they take on this program.
Is professional development available?
Teachers in the STARI study were trained on the program, theory, and materials before the study began, and were additionally offered on-site coaching weekly or bi-weekly. While this is not necessary, we recommend that teachers undertake SERP training if at all possible. We also recommend that literacy coaches, assistant principals, or other supervisors learn about the program in order to provide support and feedback to classroom teachers. PD is offered at the request of a district. Please email email@example.com if you are interested in STARI PD for your district.
Lowry Hemphill talks about teachers who teach STARI
Development of STARI was led by Lowry Hemphill (Wheelock College) through a SERP collaboration with Harvard University and four Massachusetts school districts. The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305F100026 to the Strategic Education Research Partnership as part of the Reading for Understanding Research Initiative. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.
Strategic Education Research Partnership • 1100 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 1310 • Washington, DC 20036
serpinstitute.org • firstname.lastname@example.org • (202) 223-8555
THE STARI TEAM