Five Core Aspects of Reading Intervention

Students requiring reading intervention often have trouble with one or more of the five core aspects of literacy. Teachers should choose strategies that will work best for each student, providing plenty of support.

Upon seeing that a child is below grade level on a universal screener, teachers give diagnostic assessments to identify weaknesses. They then reteach skills from the most basic to more complex.


Learning to read requires the ability to decode words into their component sounds. Without this knowledge, students struggle to understand the relationship between written symbols (graphemes) and their corresponding spoken sounds (phonemes).

One of the first and most critical Reading intervention strategies is to teach phonics. This includes helping students to recognize the 44 distinct sounds in our alphabetic English language, as well as how they combine to form words like Mary Poppins’ famous “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

Teaching phonics is crucial for beginning readers. However, it’s also important to give struggling readers a solid foundation in single-syllable words. This is because being able to distinguish the differences between long and short vowel sounds (and the schwa sound!) is more difficult than decoding consonant sounds.

A good phonics program will have a clear and consistent routine that allows teachers to focus on specific skills for small groups of students. For example, using power words that are high-utility for struggling readers is an effective way to introduce new skills such as short u.


Comprehension is a student’s ability to understand what they read. Children who comprehend can visualize a story, predict what is going to happen next, laugh at a joke or make inferences. Comprehension is tied to other components of reading including phonics, vocabulary and fluency.

To build comprehension students can use graphic organizers that include Venn diagrams, story maps, mind maps and cause and effect charts. Having students mark up texts with symbols to signal when they have questions or find something funny or interesting is another great strategy to get students thinking about text.

Activate prior knowledge to help students connect to text by having them think about what they already know about the topic. Teach grammatical structure to support comprehension by teaching prefixes, suffixes and base words. This ties back to the importance of differentiating instruction according to learners needs. It may not be useful to have a whole group of students work on the same skill at the same time.

Reading Fluency

Reading fluency involves being able to read a passage of text quickly and effortlessly. It also includes the ability to group words together into correct phrases. When children are proficient, they spend virtually no time processing words on the page and instead are able to focus on making meaning out of groups of words, sentences or paragraphs.

A variety of strategies are used in reading intervention to help learners build reading fluency. Many of these strategies involve repeated readings of easy-to-understand books. Reading to your child and then having them read aloud to you can be a great way to engage your child in this activity. Try using different voices, funny voices and expression when reading with your child.

Research suggests that a combination of vocabulary instruction, repeated reading and performance feedback (reading to a criterion), and using easier level passages are key factors for improving students’ fluency outcomes. FastBridge offers several interventions that incorporate all of these components, including Voyager Sopris Learning’s LANGUAGE!


Vocabulary is a key component to reading comprehension. Students who have high vocabulary scores tend to score higher on standardized tests of reading comprehension than those with low vocabulary scores (McGregor et al, 2002). Vocabulary development and instruction should be integrated into classroom instruction and be aligned with the curriculum.

Research suggests that children learn words more quickly and effectively when they are tied to a meaningful context. This includes the lexicon of the classroom textbook, subject matter taught in the classroom, or social cues such as the speaker’s tone and gestures that convey the meaning of an unfamiliar word.

To be effective, vocabulary instruction should include a range of instructional strategies that target the underlying concepts and shades of meaning that are found in academic Tier 2 words. These words are most likely to appear in a variety of texts and will help readers understand texts across genres, domains, and topics. Explicit instruction in vocabulary can include direct presentations of easy-to-understand definitions, use of both example and nonexamples, short discussions, and opportunities for repeated practice to build students’ breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge.

Five Core Aspects of Reading Intervention
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