Archived Information

Tools for Schools - April 1998

Éxito Para Todos

(Spanish Bilingual Adaptation of Success for All)

What Is It?

Éxito Para Todos is an adaptation of Success for All used in schools with Spanish bilingual classes. Reading curricula in Spanish includes Lee Conmigo (Read with Me), which is used for beginning readers and is begun at the end of kindergarten or in first grade, and Alas Para Leer, which is used at the second grade reading level and above. They are designed to ensure that children are successful in learning to read and write in Spanish in the early grades, and then make a successful transition to English reading in the upper elementary grades. Éxito Para Todos can be used in bilingual programs (including two-way bilingual programs) with transition at any age; it has Spanish reading materials available from kindergarten through grade six. In addition to Spanish and transitional reading programs, Éxito Para Todos provides one-to-one Spanish tutoring to primary-aged children having difficulties in reading, family support services, and other elements common to Success for All schools.

Why Did It Get Started?

Éxito Para Todos was first developed in 1990 by researchers at what is now the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk at Johns Hopkins University. It was created to adapt the Success for All reform model to schools serving many Spanish-dominant students in bilingual programs. By 1990, evidence from the original English version of Success for All was showing strong positive effects on the reading performance of students in high-poverty schools. Éxito Para Todos came into being as a means of extending this model into bilingual schools.

How Does It Work?

Specific elements of the program are described below.

 Reading, Writing, and Language Arts

Lee Conmigo provides a balanced approach to the teaching of Spanish reading in kindergarten and first grade. At this level, it uses a series of mini-books, specially written for the program, which introduce letters, syllables, and sound-blending strategies in a meaningful and enjoyable context. While the books are written in Spanish (not translated) and are appropriate to Latino language and culture, the instructional strategies are identical to those used in the English program and, in fact, bilingual and English-only teachers can be trained together.

At the second through fifth grade levels, students use Alas Para Leer with school or district selected Spanish reading materials in a carefully structured set of interactive opportunities to read, discuss, and write. This program emphasizes cooperative learning activities built around partner reading, story summarization, writing, and direct instruction in reading comprehension skills.

Materials and instructional procedures designed to facilitate transition from Spanish to English reading are available regardless of the age of transition, from second to sixth grade. A writing and language arts approach based on writing process methods engages students in planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing compositions in a variety of genres. Language mechanics skills are taught in close connection with composition.

 Cooperative Learning

This is the vehicle that drives the Éxito Para Todos curriculum. Students work together in partnerships and teams, helping one another to become strategic readers and writers. Emphasis is placed on individual accountability, common goals, and recognition of team success.


Specially trained certified teachers or paraprofessionals work one-on-one in Spanish with any students who are failing to keep up with their classmates in reading. Priority is given to first grade students.

 English as a Second Language

English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction is closely coordinated with reading instruction in Éxito Para Todos. ESL teachers help children develop general English language skills, but also to develop proficiency in the vocabulary of the school subjects they are learning in English. A separate English adaptation of Success for All for the needs of students who are speakers of languages other than English has also been developed. In this model, ESL teachers are fully integrated in the school's instructional program, serving as reading teachers and tutors for at-risk limited English proficient (LEP) students.


A full-time facilitator works with teachers in each Éxito Para Todos school to help them implement the reading program. The facilitator also helps implement the 8-week assessments, assists the Family Support Team, plans and implements staff development, and works with teachers to ensure that every child is making adequate progress.

 Eight-Week Assessments

Students in grades one through six are assessed every 8 weeks to determine whether they are making adequate progress in reading. This information is used to assign students to tutoring, to suggest alternative teaching strategies in the regular reading classroom, and to make changes in reading group placement, family support interventions, or other means to meet student needs.

 Family Support Team

The Family Support Team, composed of the principal or assistant principal, facilitator, social worker, and other building personnel, works with parents to help ensure the success of their children. The team focuses on promoting parent involvement, developing plans to meet the needs of students having difficulty with tardiness and attendance, and integrating community and school resources to benefit students.

What Are The Costs?

Éxito Para Todos is typically funded by reallocations of existing Title I, state compensatory, and special education funds in high poverty schools. The program facilitator and tutors required by the program generally come from existing school personnel, such as Title I-funded teachers. Costs for materials and training vary according to school size and other factors, but average $60,000 to $70,000 during the first year for a school of 500 students. This figure drops to approximately $25,000 in the second year.

How Is The Model Implemented In A School?

All teachers receive a detailed teacher's manual supplemented by 3 days of inservice at the beginning of the school year provided by Éxito Para Todos trainers. Throughout the year, follow-up visits are made to the school by project trainers who visit classrooms, meet with school staff, and conduct in service presentations on such topics as classroom management, instructional pace, and cooperative learning. The staff development model used in Éxito Para Todos emphasizes relatively brief initial training with extensive classroom follow-up, coaching, and group discussion. The building facilitator also organizes informal sessions to allow teachers to share problems, suggest changes, and discuss individual children.

Prior to adopting Éxito Para Todos, district and building administrators, teachers, and parents are encouraged to review program materials, view videotapes, and visit nearby Éxito Para Todos school sites. A school entering the program must have the vote of 80 percent or more of its staff in support of its adoption.

What Is The Evidence That The Model Is Successful?

Éxito Para Todos has been extensively evaluated in comparison to matched control schools. Studies in Modesto and Riverside, California, in Philadelphia, and in Houston have found that students in Éxito Para Todos schools perform substantially better than control students on scales from the Spanish Woodcock. The California studies also showed a significantly higher rate of transition from Spanish to English for Éxito Para Todos students, by the third grade. The Philadelphia study found higher English reading performance for students from Puerto Rico initially taught in Éxito Para Todos. A study involving 35 schools in Houston found significantly higher achievement for Éxito Para Todos than control students on Spanish measures.

Éxito Para Todos is currently in use in bilingual programs in many parts of the United States, especially Texas, California, Chicago, and New York City. The ESL adaptation is being widely used with speakers of Spanish, Haitian Creole, Cambodian, and many other languages.

Where Can I See It?

Demonstration sites are available in many parts of the United States. Contact the Success for All program for the nearest sites.

Whom Do I Contact?

Success for All Program
Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk
Johns Hopkins University
3505 North Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218
Telephone: 800-548-4998; Fax: 410-516-0543
E-mail:; Website:

The Research Base

Éxito Para Todos, a program designed to be used with classes of Spanish-speaking children in the elementary grades, uses the same research-based instructional strategies used in the Success for All program. The materials used in Éxito Para Todos are in Spanish. The curricula are not translations from English, but consist of books and materials appropriate to the children's culture and language. Éxito has reading materials appropriate for kindergarten through grade six students.

Like the Success for All model, Éxito Para Todos is predicated on research stressing the importance of early academic success. Éxito incorporates a number of prevention and intervention strategies designed to insure that the Spanish-speaking children in a school develop strong foundations in reading in Spanish in the early grades. English as a Second Language instruction is closely coordinated with reading instruction in Éxito Para Todos. The Éxito program is designed around research findings suggesting that Spanish-dominant students perform better when they are successful in learning to read and write in Spanish in the early grades, and then supported in making a transition to English reading in the upper elementary grades.

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