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The 4R's

By Sarah Richardson & Austin Matthews, 9/2022

What is the 4R's Program?                                                                                     

The 4Rs is an intervention for students in grades PreK-5. The 4Rs was designed for classroom use and connects to regular classroom curriculum. The 4Rs helps students build skills such as empathy, conflict resolution, and community building, and it gives teachers strategies to create a classroom atmosphere in which students are focused and ready to learn. 

Components of the 4R's

  • The 4R's include read alouds, book talks, and interactive skills lessons

  • It targets emotional skills such as understanding and managing feelings, empathy, being assertive, solving conflicts, honoring diversity, standing up to bullying

  • Each grade level program has 7 units with about 1 lesson per week during the school year

  • Units also include extension activities and book recommendations

  • Family connection activities are included

  • Parent workshops are provided 

Evidence of the 4 R's Effectiveness

Two completed studies have shown the effectiveness of the 4Rs Program within elementary schools. The first one, which was a randomized control-group study, showed that students in schools that had implemented this program were less aggressive, less hyperactive, and less depressed than students in schools without it. Also, among students of the greatest behavioral risk, the 4Rs program has been shown to increase attendance and improve academic skills and success (Jones et al., 2011). The second study had similar findings. It showed that 4Rs students were less aggressive and did better on standardized tests, regardless of gender, grade, or risk status (Aber et al., 2003). 


Aber, J. L., Pedersen, SFA., Brown, JL., Jones, SM., & Gershoff, ET. (2003). Changing children's trajectories of development: Two-year evidence for the effectiveness of a school-based approach to violence prevention. National Center for Children in Poverty.


Jones, S. M., Brown, J. L., & Lawrence Aber, J. (2011). Two-year impacts of a universal school-based social-emotional and literacy intervention: An experiment in translational developmental research. Child Development, 82(2), 533–554.

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