What is the Tune-Up Checklist and Why Do We Use It?

The Tune-Up Checklist (TUC) is a plan and procedure for making a change in instructional intervention co-developed by a teacher and coach. The TUC is a procedure for planning a change in instruction based on information obtained from the CIRCLE observation findings regarding the instructional problem, including answers to the questions. What is causing the problem?; What is the solution?; and Is it being implemented?b
The TUC can be used with one individual children (as with Literacy 360) or with groups of children (as with Literacy 3D). The TUC is the product of reviewing CIRCLE observation data and data from language and literacy screening/progress monitoring measures (i.e., IGDI, PELI, GRTR) that indicate below benchmark performance. Reflecting on these results with your coach leads to the next steps toward making a positive change..

How is the TUC Organized and What are the Procedures?

The TUC consists of four sections:

1. Based on data described above, a statement of the likely instructional reason(s) explaining why the problem is occurring
2. A statement of an instructional change goal to accomplish likely to address the stated problem
3. A written instructional procedure to implemented – including an implementation fidelity checklist for assessing its implementation.
4. Coach’s tune-up feedback on the teacher’s implementation of the procedures recommendations for improving implementation.


Section 1 – Reasons.

The TUC is used to link CIRCLE Teacher Literacy Focus and Child Literacy Engagement data with literacy skills data (e.g., PELI) for review and interpretation. These data are prepared and summarized by the coach and explained and discussed with the teacher. The checklist consists of guiding questions used by the coach to prompt, teach, and maintain each teacher’s thinking about how and what to do to strengthen children’s classroom literacy experiences (Teacher literacy Focus) and literacy engaged behaviors (Child Academic Engagement).


Section 2 – Instructional Change Goal.

Based on this data-driven reflection, instructional change goals are developed designed to overcome any indicated limitations in the context of instruction needed to improve an aspect of literacy (letter sounds, letter names, etc.) indicated as problematic.

In Literacy 360, based on the individual child’s need for more intensive instruction at the small group or individual levels, the teacher and coach seek to identify evidence-based strategies that best apply to the identified problem.

In Literacy 3D, one or more Top 10 problem solving strategies are used to improve the amount of Teacher Literacy Focus targeting children’s literacy outcomes.


Section 3 – Instructional Procedure and Fidelity Checklist.

The instructional procedures to be implemented are objectively descripted in writing so that the teachers or others will be able to implement and replicate the determined solution. To make implementation measurable, it is help to write out the procedure in simple, observable steps/actions in order of implementation. The checklist is a recipe for using and repeating use of the procedure by others.

Literacy 360 – The individualized procedure will need to be developed and a fidelity checklist created for use (Examples).

Literacy 3D – The Top Ten evidenced-based strategy(s) developed and validated for use in Literacy 3D are used, and each has an implementation fidelity checklist.


Section 4 – Coach Tune-Up Feedback.

Coaches observe the teacher implement the TUC procedures using the Fidelity Checklist. The teacher is provided feedback based on the observation. Findings are discussed and existing plans updated and incorporate improvement strategies to be implemented.


Abbott, M., Atwater, J., Lee, Y., & Edwards, L. (2011). A data-driven preschool PD model for literacy and oral language instruction. NHSA Dialog: A Research-to-Practice Journal for the Early Childhood Field, 14(4), 229-245.
Abbott, M., Beecher, C. C., Petersen, S., Greenwood, C. R., & Atwater, J. (2015). A team approach to datadriven decision-making literacy instruction in preschool classrooms child assessment and intervention through classroom team self-reflection. Young Exceptional Children, 20(3), 117-132. doi:10.1177/1096250615602297
Beecher, C., Abbott, M., & Peterson, S. (2017). Using the Quality of Literacy Implementation Checklist to improving preschool literacy Early Childhood Education Journal, 45(5), 595–560. doi:10.1007/s10643-016-0816-8
Carta, J. J., Greenwood, C. R., & Abbott, M. (2018). Developing and sustaining high quality Tier 1 early literacy and language practices. In J. J. Carta & R. M. Young (Eds.), Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Young Children. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.