All across the country, people are being trained in RtI or Response to Intervention. Response to Intervention is a three tiered approach to helping prevent early reading failure. Tier 1 is sound, research based instruction using best practices in the classroom. This means that classroom teachers have to be strong in understanding every child’s needs and have many strategies in their “bags of tricks” to determine how best to help each child effectively learn to read and grow in his or her reading skills. We must remember that student success begins in the classroom first and as Richard Allington so aptly points out, it is the skill of the classroom teacher first and foremost, that determines each child’s reading success.
The key to RtI is being able to monitor student performance so that student needs are recognized early and addressed with support services inside the classroom to get the child back on track. Small group intervention in addition to regular reading instruction can help struggling readers catch up quickly before they become overwhelmed with the requirements of learning to read.
When this is still not enough, then additional intervention, provided by a qualified reading specialist or well trained reading tutor, can be provided to help provide a more intense and differentiated approach. Again, this support is provided in addition to the regular reading program taking place in the classroom. With intensive and focused support, we can help children continue to develop as readers and writers in our classrooms.