What is Reading Intervention?

Reading intervention is a specific type of instructional strategy that teachers use to provide additional instruction to students who are having difficulties with reading. It is commonly part of a school’s RTI or MTSS process.

Reading instruction and reading intervention are two sides of the same coin, but they have different goals.


Phonics is an approach to reading instruction that teaches children the relationship between sounds (phonemes) and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, that represent them. This enables them to decode new words and read them accurately.

Teaching phonics to struggling readers is an essential part of any effective reading intervention program. It improves children’s word recognition and reading fluency and has a positive impact on their spelling and vocabulary.

However, the teaching of phonics must be explicit and systematic. It should also be matched to each child’s current level of skills.

For example, a child with good phonics knowledge will have no problem sounding out ‘ch’ and ‘oh’ as two separate phonemes when reading the word ‘chocolate’. But, a child with less well-developed phonics knowledge would struggle to do this. Teaching phonics in an explicit and systematic manner helps struggling students master their phonics knowledge. This empowers them to tackle unfamiliar words and opens up a whole world of text that they can read.


Reading comprehension is the ability to process, interpret, and integrate written text with what you already know. It requires both word reading and language comprehension skills.

For students who struggle with reading comprehension, it’s important to provide opportunities for background knowledge activation, vocabulary instruction, and discussion of the texts they are reading. It is also necessary to provide strategies for answering text-based questions and for monitoring their own comprehension.

One of the most effective ways to improve reading comprehension is through active questioning, such as KWL (Know, Want to Know, Learned) activities, and open-ended questions that encourage students to think about their answers. When asking questions, be sure to allow sufficient wait time so that all students have an opportunity to participate. You can also support student comprehension by teaching morphological awareness, such as prefixes and suffixes, to help students identify words that follow traditional patterns. This will help them decode words faster and more accurately.


A strong vocabulary helps students express their ideas more clearly and engage with academic content. It also helps them comprehend texts, write better, and communicate more effectively.

Vocabulary knowledge includes not only a student’s understanding of the construction and definition of a word but also how it functions within a sentence and context. It includes knowing concepts such as synonyms and antonyms.

As students gain fluency with words and become more comfortable with high-frequency words it is important to move to teaching vocabulary. To help build students’ vocabulary teachers should use a variety of strategies.

For example, giving students sticky notes to label vocabulary words (adjectives works well) and then asking them to walk around the classroom to find things that apply is a fun and engaging way to help develop their skills. Activating students’ prior knowledge is another great strategy to help build their vocabulary. Using knowledge-rich instruction in all subject areas is another.


Having the ability to read fluently allows students to shift their attention from decoding words to comprehension. Students who struggle to master reading fluency are often stuck in this bridge between being able to decode the words they read and comprehend what is being read, leading them to dislike reading and have a negative impact on their learning and lives.

The results of this synthesis showed that RR and multicomponent interventions produce positive outcomes in terms of reading fluency for secondary struggling readers. However, the proximal measures of comprehension that were used in most studies limit the extent to which the findings can be generalized, and more research using standardized reading comprehension measures is needed. Research on the specific features of RR that produce the positive outcomes also warrants further investigation (e.g., the effects of a more proficient modeler and error correction).

What is Reading Intervention?
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