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Direct Instruction

Page history last edited by Regina Claypool-Frey 14 years, 2 months ago


Note: 5/15/10 - This page is being updated and corrected to fix broken links. Thanks for your patience and understanding.



News Item of interest

3/30/09 - A new online resource and community for Direct Instruction created by SRA,


The site has a lot of good info on Direct Instruction as well as information about free training, news and events of interest to the Direct Instruction community.


Background on the Engelmann/Becker Direct Instruction (DI) instructional system

"Direct Instruction" as described here, refers to the instructional system and curricula pioneered by Siegfried Engelmann and the late Wesley Becker. (This differs from the generic "direct instruction", which refers to any explicit instruction).


Features of Engelmann's Direct Instruction

paraphrase from: Engelmann's Direct Instruction and Project Follow Through, Athabasca University, Psych 387


  • Learners taught in small ability-level groupings so that all students are starting at the appropriate point in the curriculum. For any ability group, the emphasis is on mastery, and skills are firmed for mastery at each step.
  • Attention is focussed on, and active responding is cued by, the teacher.
  • Scripted presentation of carefully designed instruction to cover concept building, balance of new and review material, and active practice opportunities.
  • Emphasis on high paced, active responding as a group and individually,with frequent feedback and correction.


Direct Instruction materials are currently used by thousands of schools across the nation and internationally; however, specific information is not available on the number or demographics of children or centers using the materials.


Also see, for a more complete description and glossary of DI: Engelmann Module

Athabasca University, Psych 387; Module Authors: Joseph Parsons and David Polson

Instructional Designer/Technical Advisor:Lyle Grant



VIDEOS & Webcasts


Dr. Siegfried "Zig" Engelmann talks about Direct Instruction

Interview of Dr. Engelmann by Geoff Golvin at the 2008 Direct Instruction Conference, Eugene, OR


Zig’s long time friend and colleague, Geoff Colvin, asks Zig questions about episodes in Zig’s 45-year career in education.

Zig’s responses are frank, sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, and often entertaining.

The conversation was filmed before an audience during the 2008 annual Direct Instruction Conference, Eugene Oregon.

Time: 38 minutes


20/20 News report about reading in schools; John Stossel--2 parts

John Stossel reports on the failure of Whole Reading instruction in schools, the success of Direct Instruction implementations and some of the reasons that the reading program has inexplicably not been widely adopted. Interviews with Zig Engelmann, examples of implementation and student performance.

Part 1/2

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Part 2/2

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Archived webcast on DI by Cathy Watkins

2007 National Autism Conference, Penn State

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

9:00 a.m.-noon



Cathy Watkins

This session will be an overview of Direct Instruction, focusing particularly on the development of reading and language skills using the Reading Mastery and Language for Learning curriculum. Program design and instructional techniques will be emphasized.



1/28/08 DI videos from the Fairfield/Suisun School District, CA

Thanks to Mary Damer, DI-listserv, for pointing these out!


Direct Instruction: What Parents and Students have to say about DI. 14min.


This video was filmed in May 2007 at various elementary sites (Fairfield/Suisun School District, CA)

that use Direct Instruction as an intervention. It highlights classroom practices, and it contains

interviews with both parents as well individual students.

We asked parents, "How has Direct Instruction worked to benefit your child?"

We ask students, "How has Direct Instruction helped you in schools?"

The responses are worth seeing and hearing.


Best Practices in Direct Instruction. 9min.


We visited three of our elementary schools in October 2006 to show you

this intervention program in action. 9min30sec Dec 2006



Direct Instruction Conferences

For most up to date and complete information, please see the Association for Direct Instruction website


36th Annual National Direct Instruction Conference and Institutes, July 25-29, 2010 Eugene, OR

Workshop of interest at July 20-24, 2008 National Direct Instruction Conference, Eugene, OR

36th Annual National Direct Instruction Conference and Institutes at Eugene

July 20-24, 2008

Hilton Eugene Hotel & Conference Center

Eugene, OR


"The National Direct Instruction Conference and Institutes at Eugene offers the most complete and comprehensive training to be found anywhere.


We have assembled the finest group of trainers to ensure that you come away with practical and thorough training on the most effective curricula available today.


We offer training for all levels of experience as well as job responsibilities."


Webpage on the conference, with option to register online


Effective programs for ASD Learners—A Direct Instruction Conference, August 16- 18, 2010, Columbus, OH

"Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about this powerful teaching method from some of our nation’s best instructors.


Presenters at this conference have many years of experience with DI as well as instructing students with ASD.


Sessions will feature extensive hands-on instruction and guided practice in specific instructional delivery techniques."


Webpage on the conference, with option to register online



DI focussed Websites


Online resource and community for Direct Instruction created by SRA,


New 3/30/09 Thanks to Mark Merz for pointing this out.


Direct Instruction 

La 3e voie...


Thanks to Kurt Engelmann for pointing this out.

11/22/08. Links updated


Direct Instruction Slides, Transparencies and Handouts

Martin A. Kozloff, Watson School of Ed, U.NC. at Wilmington


Stuff from the Computer of Zig Engelmann

Works and thoughts from the originator of the Direct Instruction curriculum (DISTAR, Reading Mastery, etc.)

Excellent site direct from "The Man" who originated DI.


The Association for Direct Instruction

About DI, professional development and conferences, additional materials.


National Institute for Direct Instruction


Brainarefun Index page

Rory Donaldson

Some policy and general info, but also many articles on instruction, such as Basic Teaching Scripts. 'Worth a browse.



Intro to Direct Instruction Curricula

About the Direct Instruction Curriculum Packages

Direct Instruction was developed in the 1960s and has been revised and renamed over the years. The Direct Instruction model was first branded as the Direct Instruction System for Teaching Arithmetic and Reading (DISTAR), which included DISTAR Reading, DISTAR Arithmetic, and DISTAR Language I . While Direct Instruction products have evolved over the years, the Direct Instruction approach remains the same, and the version of Direct Instruction (DISTAR) used in the studies in this report are still available and relevant to today’s consumers. An overview of Direct Instruction programs for preschool and kindergarten children follows. Direct Instruction products are also available for older students.


Programs for Pre-K, K, Elementary-age

DISTAR Reading became Reading Mastery. Reading Mastery includes these programs:




*Reading Mastery Signature Edition- New 2008


DISTAR Arithmetic retained that name and includes these programs:

Prekindergarten (high performing students only)




DISTAR Language I has become Language for Learning. (Student materials only are still available for the original DISTAR Language I.) There are currently two companion programs:


Other Curricular programs include

the home based reading program,


English as a Second Language (ESL) Students

For ESL students, some suggested curricular sequences and programs, subject to placement assessment and grade level are,



For more discussion on the curriculum packages and supplementary materials, see



Instructional Tools Related to Direct Instruction

In-depth discussion of DI curricula with examples, including the previously discussed packages, and Corrective Reading, Corrective Math, Writing and Spelling programs,

Nancy Marchand-Martella, Ph.D.,

Eastern Washington University







Discussion listserv for researchers, teachers, and other implementers and DI enthusiasts.



Organizations that offer training and classroom coaching

Organizations that provide training and in-class coaching in the Direct Instruction methodology include:


The National Institute for Direct Instruction


P.O. Box 11248

Eugene, OR 97440

Telephone: (877) 485-1973

Email: info@nifdi.org

Web: http://www.nifdi.org


Educational Resources, Inc.

7105 Old Grant Creek Road

Missoula, MT 59808

Telephone: (406) 542-5010

Web: http://www.erigroup.us


J/P Associates, Inc.

284 East Chester Street

Valley Stream, NY 11580

Telephone: (516) 561-7803

Web: http://www.jponline.com









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