Pihana Hou Brief

Project Name

Pihana Hou: An RTI Approach Building Early Reading Skills in Schools and Communities

Principal Investigator(s)

Hugh Dunn

Subject Area

English/Language Arts

R&D Stage


Focus Area

Hawai‘i/Asia/Pacific and Diverse Learners

Target Population(s)

K–3 students in 11 schools with high percentages of Native Hawaiians

Funding Source

Native Hawaiian Education Act (USDE)

Funding Amount


Funding Duration



Hawai‘i Department of Education


The University of Hawaiʻi’s Curriculum Research & Development Group, Pacific Literacy Consortium (PLC), through a formal collaboration with the Hawaiʻi Department of Education, Hawaiian Education Program Section (HDOE HEPS), will develop, implement, and evaluate Pihana Hou: An RTI Approach Building Early Reading Skills in Schools and Communities, a schoolwide Response to Intervention literacy approach that employs research-based Pre-kindergarten to grade 3 reading interventions. Pihana Hou will provide multi-tiered literacy supports in 11 schools serving high proportions of Native Hawaiian students and with notably high levels of poverty. Some of the key components of this project are ongoing reading assessments, schoolwide professional development, job-embedded coaching, and strategic outreach to families and early learning providers. The project’s objectives and activities coalesce around five goals essential to implementing a schoolwide Response to Intervention (RTI) approach that spans the pre-kindergarten–elementary school continuum. Pihana Hou’s theory of action is based on substantial research that shows (1) reading failure can be prevented with early and appropriate instruction and (2) effective data-driven instructional decision making for improving student achievement is enhanced through a schoolwide multi-tiered RTI infrastructure of data collection and data interpretation. An essential aspect of Pihana Hou’s approach also includes reaching young children and families by deeply connecting with early learning programs that feed into project sites. The project will annually serve approximately 6,000 students and 420 teachers across the state of Hawaiʻi.