Reading Intervention – Accelerating Reading Skills

Reading intervention provides intensive and targeted instruction to accelerate students’ reading skills. These classes are typically taught outside of regular class time and are part of a school’s RTI or MTSS process.

Students in reading intervention receive instruction on decoding, comprehension, writing and study strategies at their instructional level. The following are key aspects of the program:


Phonics is the pathway to reading success for many struggling readers. Research has shown that learning phonics, breaking words into their individual sounds and blending those sounds back together to form the word, is one of the most effective ways for students to learn to read.

Those with low phonics skills struggle to decode words and may not have strategies for spelling new words. This is why it’s important to start with a strong foundation in phonics and build from there.

Reading intervention can take many forms. It may be small group instruction using a specific curriculum, tutoring outside of class or reading programs that students work on in scheduled sessions. The goal is to re-energize and support the student in their literacy journey with a program or activity that is best suited for them.


Vocabulary consists of the words that students need to understand when they read. Students acquire vocabulary incidentally by listening to adults talk, reading books with them at home and school, and through independent work time in the classroom (reading for fun, homework assignments, etc). However, a student’s oral or reading vocabulary may not be large enough to help them understand complex, domain specific words that are encountered in academic texts.

Effective research-based vocabulary instruction focuses on teaching both meaning and usage. This can be done by using notecards with a word and its definition, providing synonyms and antonyms of the word, as well as providing cognates of important words for English Language Learners (e.g., doctor/doctor, music/musica). Explicit vocabulary instruction should be repeated to build knowledge. The FastBridge system includes several explicit vocabulary strategies that can be used with small groups of students.


Reading comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading and requires children to understand stories and information. Children who comprehend what they read can visualize a story, anticipate events, laugh at jokes, make inferences, and think critically about the text.

Comprehension instruction must be responsive to individual students and incorporate a range of strategies to address different needs. For example, building morphological awareness by teaching prefixes, suffixes and bases will help students pull apart words that follow traditional patterns in order to decipher and understand their meaning. This will also support their reading of words that do not follow these conventional patterns.

In addition, research supports the importance of teaching main idea and summarization strategies to support reading comprehension. Activating prior knowledge through bell ringer questions or asking students to draw pictures of their favourite parts of the book before discussing can also help them to comprehend and remember information. Comprehension is a complex process and should be taught through explicit instruction, scaffolding, and opportunities for practice and reflection.

Reading Fluency

Reading fluency involves the ability to read words at a rate that allows for proper phrasing and expression. It also includes the ability to recognize when a word should be paused or emphasized, and it allows readers to make connections between the text they are reading and other knowledge they have about the subject.

Reading researchers have found that focusing on reading fluency is an essential component in improving comprehension. In fact, the researchers who conducted the studies described in this video series found that students who were taught strategies for building fluency (such as reading aloud and slowing down) showed greater improvements in comprehension than those who were just instructed to read silently.

This is because reading fluency has been shown to mediate the relationship between listening comprehension and word reading and between word reading and reading comprehension. It does this by freeing cognitive resources for interpretation and by allowing for preliminary interpretive steps to be carried out rapidly without conscious attention.

Reading Intervention – Accelerating Reading Skills
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