What Is Reading Intervention?

Reading intervention

Reading intervention involves implementing strategies that support students in their progress toward developing foundational word-reading accuracy and fluency. These include explicit and systematic instruction in grapheme-phoneme correspondences, phonics, blending and segmenting sounds to read words and spell, vocabulary development, and text structure.

Schools offer a wide variety of interventions. The inquiry schools found that access to tier 3 programs varied greatly by board and that many non-evidence based tier 2 interventions are used in place of research-supported programs.

Targeted Instruction

Teachers can use reading assessments to identify students whose skills are below the norm and need targeted instruction. In this technique, teachers deliver one-on-one or small group sessions to struggling readers within their classrooms. Each session is 15 minutes long and focuses on specific areas of reading, such as phonological awareness, phonics, and fluency.

These teacher-delivered programs vary from one board to another, but many have a common set of components. They typically include formative assessments to provide immediate feedback and adjust ongoing teaching, diagnostic assessments to gain in-depth information about individual students’ strengths and gaps, and benchmark assessment at specified points throughout the school year to measure progress against a set of longer-term goals.

Some school boards offer commercial interventions that have research to support their effectiveness. However, not all do so and that can leave students like Natalia without access to effective intervention in their schools. Those that do often rely on foundations for start-up funding.

Individual Instruction

Individual reading interventions allow educators to tailor instruction to meet a student’s learning needs. These programs are often highly personalized and can be used to teach the foundational skills needed for decoding (sound-letter mapping, phonemic awareness, phonics decoding), as well as word-reading accuracy and fluency.

Many of these instructional approaches use multisensory activities that are highly engaging to students, including chanting, pointing and moving to the rhythm of the letter sound or spelling pattern. They are based on the Orton-Gillingham approach, which was developed to teach dyslexic children and adults who struggle with reading.

School boards need to ensure that they offer effective reading intervention programs. Currently, many boards only offer effective programs in Grades 4 and up, which is not consistent with current evidence. Some of the more effective reading intervention programs, such as Let’s Go Learn, provide diagnostic assessments, data tracking and progress monitoring to support these individualized teaching techniques. This can help teachers deliver a more personalized and effective learning experience for all their students.

Whole-Class Instruction

Many schools have a tough time getting kids on track to read by the end of elementary school. This reading gap has been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, and research suggests that teachers need training on how to implement evidence-based practices, guidance on leveraging data, and engaging content to close it.

This means providing a wide range of instructional approaches that include whole class instruction as well as small group and individual work. Cooperative grouping and project based learning are two examples that have been shown to have solid research records and allow for a balance of whole class and small group instruction.

Shared reading experiences can be a great way to engage students in the classroom and build their confidence as readers. Using books repeatedly and teaching comprehension strategies through read-aloud lessons can also improve students’ understanding of words, text structure, and vocabulary. Another great strategy is pairing students up to read aloud in a paired fashion, which builds their reading stamina particularly with longer texts.

Supplemental Instruction

Supplemental instruction is a reading intervention technique that involves students receiving extra instruction outside of classroom hours. This enables students to receive effective interventions without missing important classroom learning opportunities.

Students in a study who received supplemental reading instruction performed better on measures of word attack, word identification, and oral reading fluency than control students did. Moreover, the improvements were still evident two years after the end of supplemental instruction.

The supplemental instruction used in this study consisted of weekly peer collaborative learning study sessions that review course material and develop organizational tools for students. This program is called Supplemental Instruction (SI) and is an internationally recognized academic assistance model that targets historically difficult courses with high D, F or Withdraw rates.

The instructional assistants in this study were trained to deliver the supplemental reading instruction and provided with lesson plans to follow. They were also observed regularly and provided with feedback. This training was critical to the success of this study and is recommended in all supplemental instruction research.

What Is Reading Intervention?
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