The Importance of Reading Intervention

Reading intervention

Students requiring reading intervention often demonstrate scores below their age group peers on various reading assessments. These students receive supplemental instruction that accelerates their progress toward grade level proficiency.

Motivate struggling readers by giving them opportunities to choose their own books. This increases student ownership of their reading and allows them to read at levels that match their ability.


The ability to decode words is a prerequisite to reading, so it’s no surprise that phonics is a crucial part of any reading intervention program. This is especially true when working with young students, where systematic and explicit phonics instruction has been shown to be significantly more effective than non-systematic instruction.

A solid foundation in phonics provides struggling readers with the tools they need to access new text. This allows them to read more quickly and accurately, so they can focus on comprehension and vocabulary development.

Phonics instruction should be systematic and explicit, covering all major letter-sound relationships in a planned sequence. It should also include teaching phonological awareness, blending, and segmenting. It’s important to start with vowels and short-vowel sounds, then move on to consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, and then progress to multisyllabic words. A high-utility vocabulary is also critical for early reading success. For this reason, Wiley Blevins stresses the importance of incorporating a range of vocabulary activities in early literacy instruction.


Fluency is the ability to read quickly and effortlessly. Students who struggle with reading fluency can often feel overwhelmed by their slow pace, which makes comprehension difficult.

To determine if a student needs a fluency intervention, educators can compare the student’s words-corrected-per-minute score on grade-level assessment passages to oral reading fluency norms. This can help teachers identify which skills need to be targeted and what intervention programs to recommend for a student.

Research shows that interventions that improve fluency, such as Repeated Reading, are effective. This involves reading short, meaningful passages multiple times to improve accuracy and speed. Other effective fluency strategies include paired reading, where two students read the same text simultaneously with a more proficient reader who provides corrective feedback; and assisted reading, which allows students to practice prosody (intonation, emphasis, phrasing, rhythm) in a supportive environment. In addition, students can practice their fluency in the context of meaningful activities such as drama through Reader’s Theater.


The reading comprehension process is a multifaceted process that requires readers to recognize and decode words, to attach meaning, and to synthesize information across sections of text. Many students with dyslexia struggle with word recognition, which can restrict their cognitive resources available for comprehending text.

It is important to support children in constructing meaning when they encounter new or difficult material. Strategies like predicting, questioning, clarifying and summarizing can help students understand the text. Using visual images to represent what is being read is another way to increase comprehension.

Educators can use a variety of strategies to support comprehension development including paired reading, book clubs and grand conversations. Providing students with opportunities to practice the strategies in a social context can also facilitate comprehension. Research has shown that a text-processing comprehension intervention that uses a combination of think alouds and student self-reflection with grade-level informational science texts produces significant gains on proximal measures. However, it did not produce meaningful or statistically significant differences on standardized measures of comprehension.


In reading comprehension instruction, vocabulary is a key component. Research shows that students must have a deep, shared understanding of the words they encounter in order to comprehend their text. Vocabulary development is a critical part of reading intervention, and teachers can use explicit instruction to target specific words with the goal of improving comprehension.

It is important to teach high utility vocabulary (tier two words) and academic language, such as morphology (roots and combining forms, prefixes, suffixes). In addition, it is crucial to teach words in clusters and to connect them to texts with judicious review and multiple exposures.

To improve vocabulary knowledge, it is helpful to provide students with explicit word instruction before, during, and after a reading passage. Students who receive this word instruction perform better on post-tests than students who do not receive the instruction. Additionally, this instruction can support the acquisition of metacognitive strategies that help students clarify their own confusion during a read aloud or independent reading.

The Importance of Reading Intervention
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