Fusion Reading is an intensive reading intervention for struggling adolescent readers, who score between the 5th and 30th percentiles on standardized reading assessments. This research-validated program was developed by the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas. The instructional components of the program include decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.  Classroom management procedures along with a motivational component are also included. Instruction is intended for small groups with no more than 12 – 15 students. Fusion Reading is used in general education, special education, and co-taught classrooms at the middle and high school levels. Instruction occurs daily for one or two class periods for up to two years.

The reading components include both word recognition and linguistic comprehension. Advanced phonics, decoding, sight word recognition, and fluency comprise the word recognition component.  A systematic process called the Bridging Strategy is used to teach advanced phonics, decoding, and fluency.  A seven-step vocabulary process is utilized to expand vocabulary.

Comprehension skills are taught using a strategy instruction approach. Making predictions and inferences, summarizing, vocabulary, and using reading strategies to take standardized tests are included in the comprehension strategies as well as integrating the various strategies with real-life reading material or texts from classes. For practice in using these strategies, a Thinking Reading process is implemented using the Bluford books, novels, and expository text.

Visit our main Fusion Reading website for additional information.


Do you have questions? Want to know more? Get in touch with us!

Name Title Email
Melissa Clarke
Special Education Consultant Melissa Clarke
Mary Hanneman Special Education Consultant Mary Hanneman



Why Fusion Reading?

Adolescents struggling in middle school and high school often experience failure in school due to significant deficits in reading skills, including vocabulary, decoding, fluency, and comprehension.  These poor reading skills can lead to a lack of motivation and/or frustration and behavioral issues.  Fusion Reading is an intensive program developed to address these issues. Specific objectives include:

  1. Increase reading proficiency of struggling adolescent readers
  2. Increase student engagement in school, particularly in classes involving reading
  3. Increase student motivation to improve academic skills, to graduate from high school, and to pursue career opportunities and/or post-secondary education

The professional development for the Fusion Reading Program requires a two-year commitment from the district and teacher participants. The professional development involves six days of training throughout the school year for the first year and three days of training for the second year. The instruction in Fusion Reading needs to occur every day for one or two class periods a day. Pre-and posttest data needs to be collected for the students and sent to the professional development team. Instructional coaching visits are made several times a year by the Fusion Reading professional developers.

The daily instruction for Fusion Reading is highly structured. A seven-step process for vocabulary development is utilized daily. A large group activity called Thinking Reading involves reading novels orally and applying particular word recognition and comprehension strategies.   A sequence of strategies is instructed throughout the two years. These strategies include predicting, making inferences, summarizing, and decoding using advanced phonics. Fluency is also monitored. Instruction in integrating the various strategies and applying the strategies when participating in assessments also occurs. Behavioral expectations are taught and reinforced; these expectations fit well with Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports.  Motivation activities help students examine their strengths, weaknesses, and interests in order to set goals for the future.

Fusion Reading is a research-validated program developed by the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning.  This research and development were funded by a grant from the Institute for Education Studies of the U.S. Department of Education.  Data is also collected yearly from the teachers participating in the training. View more information about the original research from KU and for research from Iowa and AEA 267 schools.