RTI (Response to Intervention) is a highly effective program used by teachers to help students who are struggling with particular skills or lessons. Teachers can use the three-tiered RTI approach to help students of varying abilities and apply it to both skills and behaviour. Students at the middle school level can benefit from the implementation of an effective RTI reading program.

To begin students on the path to better reading skills, the first step is knowing how to choose a top-quality reading intervention program. There are many available and not all will deliver the measurable results that teachers expect and students deserve.

Be sure to choose reading intervention programs for middle school students that fully incorporate all three levels of an RTI reading program:

Reading intervention program

Initial Assessment

Identifying students who will benefit from an RTI reading program begins with a whole-class approach. Picture this initial stage as the bottom of the pyramid, where every student receives the same classroom instruction. These lessons come from a variety of sources and tools including high-quality educational software incorporated with interactive whiteboard or overhead projector lessons, explicit and systematic phonics instruction, printable worksheets, online and print leveled books, and other teacher-led activities, lessons, and resources. Upon conclusion of the initial tier of instruction, teachers can measure student progress and identify students in need of a reading intervention program.

Independent and Group Instruction

The second tier or middle area of the ‘pyramid’ involves a smaller, more targeted group of students. When choosing reading intervention programs for middle school students, it is recommended to look for a program that gives teachers the opportunity to target individual students and closely assess their progress. An effective RTI reading program will allow for independent learning as well as interactive lessons with teachers and peers while providing ongoing reporting and assessment.

Intense Intervention

The top of the ‘pyramid’ is the smallest group of students. It is at this phase that the most intense and consistent reading interventions will take place. While this group may include special needs learners, not all students in RTI Tier III are special needs; underlying factors such as social or behavioural issues or language barriers can also leave students behind their peers in terms of reading ability.

Essential Skills reading intervention programs for middle school students provides explicit and systematic instruction in the fundamentals of phonemic awareness, phonics, sight word recognition, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Built-in pretests provide students with an individualized learning program, specifically tailored to their needs. This ensures students receive intensive intervention in the areas where it is most needed. Teachers can also create custom assignments for individual students, allowing them to target specific skills and areas in need of additional reinforcement.