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Components     Teacher Resources     Lesson Sample     Downloads     Purchase Materials

Students who enter the ninth grade four or more years below grade level can enroll in the ALFA Lab (Accelerated Literacy for Adolescents Lab), an intensive triple-dose course. A teacher and lab assistant work with a maximum of 20 students per class. Each student is assigned to a team of peers with similar strengths and weaknesses in reading.

Since most struggling upper-grade readers have experienced failure in reading over a period of time, there is an urgent need to accelerate their reading progress, as quickly as possible. In the ALFA lab, the core reading texts are integrated with supplemental texts to enhance their ability to connect and extend information they’ve read, and to gradually move students through reading material at increasing levels of difficulty, within a structured supportive setting.


During the lessons, teams rotate through four learning stations.

  • Main Station guides students into, through, and beyond reading selections from the core texts with teacher modeling
  • Wordology provides hands‐on activities to engage and reinforce students’ knowledge of the structure of words and increase students’ exposure to age‐appropriate vocabulary
  • Comprehension Connection engages students in activities that require them to construct and apply knowledge
  • Media Madness (computer-based practice).

The primary targets for ALFA provide a foundation upon which the course components were established and the various activities developed. Each component is described by specific indicators:

    • Reading Strategies explicit instruction with teacher modeling to promote independent, flexible use of strategies.
    • Comprehension direct reading instruction emphasizing text‐based comprehension skills.
    • Vocabulary explicit instruction that connects vocabulary to meanings, e.g., pre‐teaching vocabulary prior to reading a selection; highlighting vocabulary in context during reading; reflecting on vocabulary post‐reading.
    • Writing constructing written responses to open‐ended questions relating to the text; use of writing prompts that require students to write for a variety of purposes; use of the computer to compose writing samples.
    • Fluency exercises that reinforce word recognition and automaticity; exercises with high frequency words; ongoing assessment of word accuracy during timed readings
    • Technology use of technology to enhance application of knowledge and reinforce skills previously encountered.


Teacher Resources
    • Complete course Teacher’s Manual
    • Station Templates
    • Classroom Postables
    • Teacher’s Manuals for each reading text
      • Feisty Felines
      • Galaxy
      • War Heroes
      • Mission to Pluto
      • Crooks, Criminals & Choices


Lesson Sample

We invite you to review the first activities in TDS’s ALFA Lab’s centers for, Galaxy.










Material Downloads










Purchasing Materials

Material pricing and ordering information for all teacher and student materials is available online. If you have purchased materials from Talent Development Secondary in the past and have a user name and password, simply visit our Online Storefront and login. If you have not purchased materials before, please set up a Storefront Membership.