What is Reading Intervention?

Reading intervention is a program that helps students who find it hard to read. It involves a student working with a teacher, speech-language pathologist or computer reading program outside of class.

Inquiry survey respondents reported that school boards vary in which commercial programs they use, what grade levels they offer and whether their eligibility criteria aligns with the research on effective classroom instruction and interventions. This can lead to equity issues.


The ability to hear and identify different vowel and consonant sounds helps students learn how to read words. This is known as phonological awareness. This is a critical step before learning phonics, which teaches children how to connect letter symbols with the sounds they hear in spoken words.

This process is called decoding. When students understand the relationship between letters and sounds, they can translate print into speech, which enables them to read unfamiliar words.

Phonics is usually taught in early childhood and primary grades to establish a strong foundation for reading and writing. However, it can also be used with older students who struggle to read.

Our phonics program, PHONICS for Reading, is aligned with i-Ready Assessment to ensure that learners get the right level of instruction. Its clear teacher scripts enable it to be taught by any educator, including teachers of special education and interventionists. This enables schools and districts to leverage resources and maximize the potential of their teaching staff.


A student who has a good understanding of vocabulary can build and develop a deeper level of schema (cognitive connections) around words they encounter in reading. This is one of the reasons why it is critical to include vocabulary instruction in your Reading intervention program.

As students progress through the Reading curriculum, they will encounter words that are not part of their oral or speaking vocabulary. Those words will need to be taught through explicit vocabulary instruction that includes morphology, word relationships and vocabulary in context.

A common problem is that students who have high comprehension skills but a limited or unfamiliar vocabulary perform poorly on Lexile assessments and are misjudged as struggling readers. Using a variety of science of reading vocabulary strategies is key to helping learners acquire new vocabulary words and make them their own. Exposure to vocabulary words through reading, practice with elaboration activities and meaningful repetition are necessary for students to truly understand the meanings of words.


Comprehension is a key factor in overall reading achievement, especially among students with poor reading proficiency. It is also one of the areas that is monitored in international reading assessments, such as the PISA test.

One strategy to improve comprehension is to teach students how to use graphic organizers, such as story maps, Venn diagrams and word webs. These strategies are helpful for visual learners and help them see how the concepts relate to each other.

Another way to improve comprehension is by asking open-ended questions. This allows students to think about the questions and answer them, which promotes metacognition. When asking questions, make sure that you give students enough time to respond before calling on someone. If you call on a student too quickly, they may not think about the question and will be unable to answer.

Finally, teaching students that their prior knowledge can help them understand the text is important. This is called schema activation. For example, if students are reading about a trip to the park, they can draw on their past experiences and knowledge of parks to understand the text.


Students who struggle with fluency have trouble reading quickly, causing them to spend a lot of time trying to recognize words or their sound-symbol correspondences. This slow processing takes up valuable brain resources, preventing the student from paying attention to meaning and comprehension.

Reading fluency can be improved through repeated oral reading. This can be done by allowing students to read passages on their own or with the guidance of a teacher or more proficient peer. Students can also practice reading rhythmic and rhyming books, which help them develop a sense of pace and intonation.

Research supports the effectiveness of RR for developing foundational word-reading accuracy and fluency. However, there are mixed results on the impact of RR on reading comprehension for older students. This may be because proximal measures of comprehension (such as literal recall or questions answered directly from the text) do not always predict comprehension outcomes in the classroom. A deeper and more standardized measure of comprehension would be needed to determine whether RR improves comprehension.

What is Reading Intervention?
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