Gradual Release Model

I Do, We Do, You Do

UDL 3.3 UDL 5.3

In the Gradual Release Model (i.e., "I Do, We Do, You Do), students are only expected to complete a task independently after the teacher has first demonstrated the skill and then practiced it with the students. Teachers first initiate the “I Do” phase by providing direct instruction to students, explicitly teaching and demonstrating the skill. Next, teachers engage students in the “We Do” phase, inviting students to work with them on the learning task. Lastly, students are given the opportunity to complete the learning task independently in the “You Do” phase, which teachers can use as an assessment for understanding. Gradually releasing responsibility builds up student confidence and promotes independence by providing early opportunities to experience success.

Implementation Tips

Introduce The Model
Create a chart that helps students identify their roles and responsibilities throughout each phase. Include visuals to support the shift from teacher-centered to independent student practice using a [[ | Graphical Chart ]] or provide a real-world example of Gradual Release (e.g., an athlete’s schedule from practice, to scrimmage, to actual performance).
Lesson Planning
Plan each Gradual Release Model lesson by first establishing a clear purpose or lesson objective (e.g., identifying the main idea and details). Decide how to model the skill (e.g., boxes and bullets) and prepare think alouds to promote metacognition while students observe and listen during the “I Do” phase (e.g., name decision-making processes, alert learners about errors to avoid).
Think Alouds
Verbalize think alouds strategically while modeling the lesson objective in the “I Do” phase. Name decision-making processes and alert learners about errors to avoid (e.g., "I wonder how I can summarize this passage in one sentence?", "I don't think this picture is what this section is mostly about.").
Build A Routine
Build a routine by frequently using the Gradual Release Model, especially when introducing a new or challenging learning concept. While using the strategy, reference the chart outlining each phase to reassure students that guidance will be provided throughout the task.
Additional Support
Provide cues, prompts, extended scaffolding and questioning throughout the “We Do” Phase to support students that begin to demonstrate difficulty with task initiation or to guide students through the practice of the skill (e.g., hints, cue cards, checklists).
Conduct a brief whole class discussion after the “We Do” phase to provide an opportunity for students to reflect on implementing the skill or strategy. Students share successes and challenges they experienced, which is then used to clarify any misunderstandings before they are assigned to apply the skill independently in the “You Do” phase.
Student Helpers
Pre-identify students that have already mastered the learning task and are willing to act as coaches when another student asks for help during the "You Do" phase. Remind the class that student helpers can provide support. Give student helpers a "helper" tag or badge so their peers can easily identify them when they need support. Remind helpers to only provide prompts and cues when guiding their peers.


Reading Comprehension
A teacher begins modeling how to determine a main idea with supporting details by reading a section of a non-fiction text and stating think alouds. The teacher then demonstrates how to fill information from the text into a box with bullets to determine a sentence that best describes what was read. Next, the teacher and students work together to examine another section of the text to complete a new summary box. Lastly, the teacher asks students to apply the skill by summarizing a section of a non-fiction text of their choice during independent reading.
Behavioral Support
Before participating in an independent play activity, a teacher identifies the importance of “calm play” when interacting with their peers to students. The teacher models “calm play,” providing think alouds while demonstrating (e.g., “I really want to play my game first, but maybe this time I can let __ choose the game first.”) After, students work with the teacher to create a chart that identifies “calm play” words and actions to use when playing with others. The teacher selects a "calm play" word or action from the chart and has students practice as a whole class. After practicing several different "calm play" words and actions as a group, students are released to independent play time. During this time, the students are expected to use this language to support positive interactions with one another.

Related Strategies