Reading intervention provides students with the opportunity to improve their reading, writing, study skills and test taking strategies in a class that meets at their instructional level. Instruction is based on the school district curricula and units of study.
Children need to become automatic at recognizing words in order to free cognitive resources for deriving meaning from text. Teachers need to provide support and reinforcement for efforts toward this end.
1. Explicit Instruction
Explicit instruction is an evidence-based teaching strategy that is one of the highest leverage practices for students with learning disabilities. This instructional approach teaches skills by identifying specific targeted objectives, planning and designing structured instruction experiences, providing clear explanations of the skills to be taught, modeling them directly, and providing scaffolded practice sessions.
Watch this 8-minute video to learn more about explicit instruction. Then, take a look at this helpful resource on using explicit instruction with students with dyslexia.
2. Multisensory Instruction
Many students have a preferred sensory learning style, also known as a learning strength. When they use techniques that involve their area of strength, they retain more knowledge and are able to apply it to new learning activities.
Reading is an inherently multisensory skill that benefits from a multisensory teaching approach, particularly for children with learning differences. For example, the Orton-Gillingham reading system uses sight, sound, movement and touch to help students learn letter combinations, sounds and words.
Adding sensory components to lessons helps engage the senses and makes them more memorable for kids. Examples of sensory activities include skywriting, sandpaper letters and clapping while spelling. Other tactile learning materials that can be used for multisensory lessons include modeling clay, raised line paper and textures.
3. Vocabulary Development
Most students acquire vocabulary incidentally, through everyday experiences with oral and written language. They learn words in a variety of ways, including by interacting with others, listening to books read aloud to them, and reading extensively on their own.
Vocabulary instruction should be explicit and targeted, addressing both meaning and usage. Involve students in a range of activities to help them relate new words to their prior knowledge and experiences, and to the text they are reading (Baker et al., 2013).
To support students in constructing the meaning of new words, use visual presentations and strategies that promote the development of background knowledge, such as sorting vocabulary picture cards or identifying prefixes, suffixes, and root words in unfamiliar multisyllabic words. For more ideas on effective vocabulary instruction, check out this blog post!
4. Fluency Development
Students need to be able to read connected text quickly, smoothly, and automatically. This is called fluency. Fluent readers can focus on comprehension, which requires understanding what they have read rather than decoding each word.
Fluency can be modeled and practiced through repeated oral reading and through a variety of strategies, including echo and choral reading. Students should be encouraged to read a lot, and often. This helps build their confidence.
It is important for them to hear examples of fluent reading from their teachers and their parents. They should also be allowed to read books that interest them and can be found at their level. Many students find that if they read aloud to someone else, they are more successful. This can be done in small groups by pairing a stronger reader with a less-fluent reader.
5. Reading Comprehension
Reading comprehension is the process of understanding a passage. This includes decoding the words and using background knowledge to construct an understanding of the writer’s message.
Children can practice their comprehension skills by talking about what they have read and asking questions. They can also use visualizing strategies, such as creating in their minds a picture of the text or story they are reading.
Reading intervention is often used to provide intensive instruction to students who are reading below grade level. It can be part of the multi-tiered system of support and may include a pull-out program or small group intervention. In addition to reading comprehension, reading intervention focuses on developing fluency and vocabulary. All of these skills are important for students who struggle with reading.