How to Use Reading Intervention to Build Students’ Motivation and Confidence

Reading intervention is a great way to build students’ motivation and confidence. Make sure to keep it fun and engaging!

The most important part of any reading program is building the students’ core skills. There are five core aspects of reading that need to be addressed: phonics, decoding, word reading, fluency and comprehension.


Phonics is the method of teaching students how letters and sounds work together to read. When a student learns phonics, they develop the ability to decode unfamiliar words, improve their spelling skills and build a foundation for reading comprehension.

In the study, teachers were provided a manual for an instructional reading program and all materials to conduct intervention sessions. The lessons were adapted to allow for pointing responses instead of verbalizing (see Tables 1, 2 for examples).

The students received two or more intervention sessions each week, lasting 20 minutes. The teachers and a doctoral student who served as a research assistant recorded procedural fidelity for each lesson. The teacher and the student then completed a pre-test and post-test to assess their skill level. During the baseline probe session, Lea had difficulty spelling words phonetically, but during the intervention phase she improved significantly. She was able to spell 12 of 14 words phonetically by the end of the study.


A student’s oral reading fluency is a good indicator of his or her overall reading ability. Students who demonstrate a poor word-correction rate on grade-level assessments may need a fluency intervention program to help improve their skills.

To build fluency, students should be engaged in repeated readings of short and meaningful passages. They should be timed and given systematic corrective feedback. It is also important to teach the components of fluent reading such as phrasing, intonation and expression.

Children can practise their spoken fluency by reading aloud to someone who is not their teacher or parent: a younger sibling, a peer in a lower year level, a grandparent, a friend or even a pet! They can also practise their written fluency by writing daily and focusing on one-minute timings. It’s a great idea to encourage children to write about things that interest them, so that their writing has natural flow and expression. Providing a supportive environment for these activities is crucial to building students’ confidence in their abilities.


Comprehension is a cognitive process that allows readers to connect and integrate their decoding skills with background knowledge, prior experiences, and literate understanding of the text. Research has shown that focusing solely on foundational word reading and bridging strategies (such as choral, echo, or paired reading) alone is not enough to foster comprehension development.

Educators can play an integral role in fostering comprehension development by teaching effective strategies and providing a supportive learning environment. The reading intervention resources and interventions in the Branching Minds library are all aligned with the MTSS framework, offering learners the appropriate learning support to meet their specific needs.

Understanding comprehension requires many different cognitive processes, including background knowledge, vocabulary, and text structure and organization. Incorporating all of these components in the classroom can help students build a deeper, more meaningful understanding of text. This can be achieved by implementing instructional practices that engage the whole child:


Vocabulary is the collection of words that people know and can use in their communication. Strong vocabulary skills help students understand concepts, make connections, and read more complex texts.

Teaching academic vocabulary in a meaningful context is critical for Reading intervention programs. Unlike basic or domain-specific vocabulary, academic vocabulary has multiple shades of meaning and can appear across many different genres and topics.

A growing body of research supports the effectiveness of using narrative interventions to teach academic vocabulary. In particular, Spencer et al. (2019) found that an academic vocabulary intervention embedded within a storytelling activity improved participants’ receptive picture and definitional vocabulary performance. However, the study’s multiple baseline design is likely to threaten internal validity, and more research using stronger research designs is needed to validate these findings.

To improve academic vocabulary instruction, teachers can provide students with opportunities to practice using new words and incorporating them into their speech and writing activities. They can also include vocabulary learning in subject-specific lessons and activities to provide relevance and motivation for students.

How to Use Reading Intervention to Build Students’ Motivation and Confidence
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