Reading Program Description
Project CRISS® (CReating Independence through Student-owned Strategies)
is a professional development program for teachers2 that aims to improve reading,
writing, and learning for 3rd- through 12th-grade students. The implementation
of Project CRISS® does not require a change in the curriculum or materials being
used in the classroom, but instead calls for a change in teaching style to focus on
three primary concepts derived from cognitive psychology and brain research.
These three concepts include students (1) monitoring their learning to assess
when they have understood content, (2) integrating new information with prior
knowledge, and (3) being actively involved in the learning process through
discussing, writing, organizing information, and analyzing the structure of text to
help improve comprehension.
In Project CRISS®, teachers incorporate these concepts into their regular
classroom instruction through the use of comprehension strategies (such as
using background knowledge, questioning, organizing graphically, and
summarizing). Project CRISS® calls for students to apply these comprehension
strategies to content they encounter, to gain an understanding of when and
how it is most appropriate to use these strategies, and to learn to use the
strategies that work best for them.
Two studies of Project CRISS® that fall within the scope of the Adolescent
Literacy review protocol meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence
standards. The two studies included 2,569 students, ranging from grade 4
through grade 6, who attended public schools in Arizona, California, Florida,
Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.4
Based on these two studies, the WWC considers the extent of evidence
for Project CRISS® on adolescent learners to be medium to large for the
comprehension domain. No studies that meet WWC evidence standards
examined the effectiveness of Project CRISS® on adolescent learners
in the alphabetics, reading fluency, or general literacy achievement domains.
Project CRISS® was found to have potentially positive effects on comprehension
for adolescent learners.
1 The descriptive information for this program was obtained from a publicly
available source: the developer’s website (http://www.projectcriss.com,
downloaded October 2009). The WWC requests developers to review
the program description sections for accuracy from their perspective.
Further verification of the accuracy of the descriptive information for
this program is beyond the scope of this review. The literature search
reflects documents publicly available by August 2009.
2 Project CRISS® also has several other training programs and support
materials available, including: (1) CRISS for Administrators, which is
designed to provide guidance to administrators on how to plan, implement,
and maintain Project CRISS® in a school or district; (2) CRISS for Students,
which is designed to teach CRISS principles and strategies directly to 6th-
through 9th-grade students; (3) CRISS for Parents, which is designed to
acquaint parents with CRISS principles and strategies; and (4) CRISS
for Homeschool Parents, which is designed to help parents that are home
schooling their children incorporate CRISS strategies and principles into
3 The studies in this report were reviewed using WWC Evidence
Standards, Version 2.0 (see the WWC Procedures and Standards
Handbook, Chapter III), as described in protocol version 2.0.
4 The evidence presented in this report is based on available research.
Findings and conclusions may change as new research becomes available.
5 These numbers show the average and range of student-level improvement
indices for all findings across the studies.
Teachers, Parents, and Administrators:
Please Give your Input on Project CRISS®
(CReating Independence through Student-owned Strategies)