The Importance of Reading Intervention

Reading intervention is important for helping students to develop their decoding and word-reading skills. Boards need to provide consistent, evidence-based tier 1 instruction and programs that work best in Kindergarten – Grade 1.

Boards need to set clear criteria on who gets access to reading interventions and how they are provided. Using criteria such as a discrepancy between intelligence and achievement to qualify for reading interventions can create equity issues.

1. Read Aloud to Your Students

Reading aloud to students is one of the simplest and most effective ways to model fluent reading. It also allows students to participate in the story and engage with the text. It’s a great way to expose students to a wide variety of genres—picture books, informational texts and even humor!

Many inquiry boards reported having multiple in-house interventions, including leveled literacy intervention (LLI) and Reading Recovery. These school-based approaches are often based on a student’s book-reading level and may focus only on phonological awareness or decoding skills, without addressing the full scope of skills needed for word-reading and comprehension.

These interventions are typically provided to students in tier 3 or higher of RTI/MTSS and should always be led by a certified teacher. They include explicit, systematic, intensive, hands-on and engaging instruction that targets a small group of students with specific learning needs. Computer-based programs such as Lexia(r) Core 5 can help students develop phonics, decoding, word reading and comprehension.

2. Let Your Students Choose Their Own Books

Students are much more likely to stay engaged with reading if they choose their own books, read about topics they find interesting and can access at a level that feels comfortable for them. This will help increase their motivation for learning, and also allow them to focus on the areas of reading that need more work.

It’s also important for teachers to know how students learn to read and incorporate strategies that develop the 5 main components of reading – phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency and comprehension. These are the things that reading gurus call the “Big Five”.

Inquiry boards reported that students often lack access to effective interventions. This is partly because there are not enough teachers trained in evidence-based programs to provide them. Additionally, a system that relies on school discretion to identify students who need intervention is ineffective and open to bias. To prevent students from experiencing reading difficulties, schools need standardized measures to determine when an intervention is needed and which program is best suited to a student’s needs.

3. Give Your Students Teacher Assigned Texts

Students need to read texts that are engaging to them, and at levels they can manage. Giving students the opportunity to select their own books allows them to choose topics they are interested in, at a level they are comfortable reading. But student choice can sometimes be counterproductive to the goal of gaining fluency and reading at more advanced levels.

Effective reading intervention programs require a scientific approach to teaching, and they must be available to all students. But school boards often rely on unscientific criteria to determine who gets access to an evidence-based program.

For example, some school boards require students to be a certain number of years behind on assessments before they can enter a program. This criterion violates the science of assessment and makes it difficult for students to get access to a reading intervention that will actually help them. Let’s Go Learn’s diagnostic assessments are renowned for their accuracy, providing educators with detailed information on each student’s reading skills and needs.

4. Give Your Students Time to Practice

Students’ motivation to read increases when they feel successful. Give students opportunities to practice reading in small increments so that they can see their progress, and make sure to celebrate their successes with them!

School boards have a variety of approaches to early intervention. Many use in-house or board-developed programs. These typically include a student working with a teacher or speech-language pathologist for a fixed period of time. These programs focus on phonological awareness and may involve some letter-sound teaching but do not fully address grapheme-phoneme correspondences, sounding out words (blending part of phonemic awareness) or reading multisyllabic words.

Some inquiry boards offer evidence-based tier 3 interventions, such as Empower(tm) or SRA Reading Mastery or Corrective Reading. However, these are only available to students who do not receive sufficient classroom instruction or a suitable tier 1 intervention.

The Importance of Reading Intervention
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