The Importance of Reading Intervention

Reading intervention provides students with the opportunity to improve their reading, writing, test taking and study skills in a small group setting. These classes focus on a range of materials written at the student’s instructional level.

School boards determine what interventions to use, in what grades, and how to track student progress. The inquiry found that some boards do not allocate resources to schools with high numbers of students who are struggling with reading.


Phonics provides struggling readers with the tools they need to read unfamiliar text. When students can apply phonics strategies, even very complex words become accessible.

Research suggests that the phonological awareness component of reading is as important for developing decoding skills as grapheme-phoneme correspondences, and just as essential for progressing to word-reading and spelling. Isolated phonological awareness instruction, as found in some inquiry board programs, is not enough to catch struggling readers up or prevent future word-reading difficulties.

Empower(r) is a computer-based intervention program that teaches phonics, decoding, word reading and fluency for Kindergarten to Grade 5 students who are having difficulty with reading. The 2020 Ministry report found that when students are given the opportunity to use this program regularly, it can help them achieve significant gains in their reading skill. This program is typically administered as a small group intervention under the guidance of a teacher. Students are given a formative assessment and a diagnostic assessment at regular intervals.


Fluency is the ability to read at a rate that sounds natural and allows for proper phrasing, accent, and emphasis. Reading aloud is the best way to teach children this skill. Educators should model fluent reading and encourage students to practice at home, either in small groups or with their teachers.

Teaching children to read with expression is also a vital component of developing fluency. Engaging kids in dramatic reading activities such as Reader’s Theater will encourage them to use emotion and pause at appropriate times to allow meaning to be fully understood.

Research has shown that RR improves reading fluency for struggling elementary school readers, but results are mixed for secondary students. This may be due to differences in how researchers define struggling readers, including comorbid conditions, as well as the fact that reading comprehension is more important for older students. The evidence supports that RR can help struggling secondary readers, but high-quality research is needed to determine the specific conditions under which RR improves fluency and comprehension outcomes.


As students grow in age and reading ability, comprehension instruction becomes increasingly important. Comprehension includes many of the reading-related skills taught in classrooms, such as monitoring and interpreting the meaning of text; understanding vocabulary and language; and connecting to background knowledge.

Developing these skills requires an individual to have the cognitive abilities required, such as attention and memory. Comprehension also involves making inferences and constructing mental representations of the information presented.

Research from many disciplines, including developmental psychology, cognitive science, education, and linguistics, has shed light on what happens in the mind of readers as they comprehend oral and written texts. Understanding the nature of comprehension helps us to better instruct this skill and improve outcomes for students with varying learning needs. The Connect to Comprehension program integrates daily scripted lessons that teach students to decode, analyze, and practice basic word and structural analysis, reading fluency, and vocabulary through an evidence-based curriculum built on well-respected recommendations of the National Reading Panel.


Vocabulary is a vital component of reading comprehension. It helps children make sense of what they read, visualize stories, anticipate what will happen next, laugh at jokes, and draw conclusions from information in a text. Children without a strong vocabulary foundation struggle to make meaning from print and can experience serious gaps in academic performance.

Explicit vocabulary instruction is one of the most effective strategies for building word knowledge. Students need to hear and see the words often and practice saying them, using them in context, and having others respond to their spoken use of the word. Discussing unfamiliar words incidentally, a traditional approach to vocabulary instruction, is ineffective.

Ruddell’s spontaneous decision to allow her students to choose their own vocabulary words inspired Brenda Shearer and colleagues to research the effectiveness of VSS (Vocabulary Self-Selection) in a classroom setting. They paired middle school students with teachers and followed the same model that Ruddell had used in her classroom: Each student nominated and argued for one word to be included on the weekly class vocabulary list. Students in the VSS group scored higher than students in the other two treatment conditions on the weekly vocabulary quizzes.

The Importance of Reading Intervention
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