Note: This assignment was created for EDIS 5230: Reading Diagnosis and Remediation with Professor Paige Pullen.
Part 1: Response to Intervention Description
Response to Intervention (RTI) is an intervention initiative designed to prevent learning problems that may lead to the diagnosis of learning disabilities. This reflects a paradigm shift in education in the general and special curriculums: the “learning problems” of various students may actually be “instructional” problems. This reform is designed as a universal screening process in order to avoid mislabeling students in special education when their real difficulty is the instruction they receive.
In screening all students, Response to Intervention promotes evidence-based instruction for all students throughout all of its tiers. Using evidence-based instruction that has been proven to “work” with students ensures that a student’s difficulty in learning is not simply from poor instruction, but may be a disability. It also includes data-based instructional decision-making in conjunction with frequent progress monitoring. Such data is used as a means for formative assessment in order to accurately monitor student progress within the tiers. This is done frequently in order to give a clear understanding of a student’s progress (or lack thereof). It is also done quickly and efficiently in order to provide time for intensive intervention instruction.
In the Response to Intervention model, there are (usually) three main “tiers” or levels of instruction intervention. The amount of tiers and what they mean vary greatly from state to state and district to district. The main tiers are labeled Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. This can be thought of in a pyramid where the bottom 80% of the pyramid contains Tier 1, the next level of 15% contains Tier 2, and the top 5% contains Tier 3. See Figure 1 for graphical representation of Response to Intervention.
The Tier 1 level is designed to meet the needs of the general curriculum. It contains benchmark interventions for all students on grade-level. All students initially start in this tier as it is synonymous with the general curriculum. About 80% of all students should find their educational needs met within this tier. Students who continue to struggle and show no signs of learning or growth at the Tier 1 level are moved to the Tier 2 level.
In Tier 2, students at high risk for failure are given more intensive and focused strategic instruction. Intensive and focused strategic instruction often means a smaller group size and more time devoted to instruction. This should contain some 15% of the student population. At this point, students who remain unresponsive to Tier 2 intervention are moved to the Tier 3 level.
Tier 3 is an even more intensive version of Tier 2. The group sizes shrink while the focused instruction time increases. It is generally at this stage that students who are still failing to make progress are diagnosed and considered for special education. Depending on the state and school district, Tier 3 itself may be considered the special education program. In other areas, Tier 3 may lead into a fourth Tier or diagnosis for special education. Tier 3 instruction should contain only 5% of the student population.
(Paige Pullen RTI Lecture presented in Reading Diagnosis and Remediation 2012)
Part 2: Guide
This portion of the guide provides some effective and proven strategies and curriculum-based measures for five areas of reading: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
The Hungry Thing
Rhyming can be an effective activity for learning phonological awareness (particularly onset-rime). In this activity, first teach and model what rhyming is: rhyming words are two or more words that sound the same in the middle and at the end (for words with one syllable). Give examples and non-examples. For younger students, a frame story can be used, e.g. the “hungry thing” that comes to town and can only ask for food with nonsense words that rhyme with the food he wants, e.g. “pilk” for “milk;” students then guess the rhyming word (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). For older students, rhyming poems or song/rap lyrics can be used.
Phonological Medley uses two-syllable compound words to start skill instruction in blending, segmentation, and deletion.
Blending: Teach what compound words are by showing two pictures on a board, e.g. a dog and a house then show them close together and have students say it quickly to make doghouse (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). Continue doing this with many example compound words with student interaction.
Segmentation: To segment compound words, have students clap for each word. For example, there are two words in the word cupcake – cup and cake (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). Model clapping one each of the words in cupcake and have students follow along as well.
Deletion: Clap out the internal words of a compound word like in segmentation. Then place to sticky notes underneath the picture of the compound word with lines written on them. Have students identify the two words in the compound word and then remove one of the words. For example, with football, post the sticky notes and then ask what is left when foot is taken away (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
Salad Toss is an activity focused on segmenting syllables, which is especially useful as it often precedes the ability to segment phonemes. To frontload this activity, draw two bowls on the board, one with two dots and one with three dots (dots represent the number of syllables). In the two dot bowl, draw a carrot; in the three dot bowl, draw a tomato. With the students, clap each syllable of each word in the bowl, e.g. three claps for to-ma-to. Then ask students to help you add more vegetables to the right bowls; first clap out the syllables for a new word (e.g. cucumber) and then ask which bowl to put it (e.g. put it in the three dot bowl as it has three syllables). This can be extended as “crazy salads” by adding non-edible items to bowls (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
Odd One Out
In Odd One Out, it is important to make sure students can identify all of the words on the picture cards before starting, as it can make the activity more difficult by not knowing them. Then show three cards at a time where one card starts with a different phoneme from the other two. Ask students which picture name has a different beginning sound from the others. Then say the words aloud for students. For example, show a “bus,” a “ball,” and a “mouse” (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
Simon Says is a game that teaches phonemic blending. Introduce a puppet that can only say the sounds in a word one sound at a time. Ask students to blend the sounds Simon the puppet says into complete words. For example, Simon the puppet may say /n/ /ō/ /z/ and then students are to answer “nose” after prompting. This can then be applied to the traditional game of “Simon Says,” e.g. “Simon says, ‘shake you /l/ /e/ /g/. What word?” “Leg!” and then students do the action (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
Introducing Consonant Digraphs
This activity focuses on consonant digraphs and conveying that they produce different sounds when together. First teach/model the sound that a certain consonant digraph makes, e.g. “sh” (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). Explain to students that when these two letters – “s” and “h” – are together, it makes the /sh/ sound. The activity then involves saying words that start with “sh” and words that don’t; students then indicate which words start with the “sh” sound by showing or hiding their index card with “sh” on it. For example, a list may look like show, cat, lamp, shop, mouse, bird, ship, and shark (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). This can also be extended to final sounds like in dish, let, box, wish, push, thumb, fish, and brush (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). The next step is to combine the two activities and have students distinguish whether the “sh” appears in the beginning or the end.
Introducing Short Vowels
Similar to Introducing Consonant Digraphs, this activity explicitly teaches the sound a vowel makes, e.g. “a” makes the /a/ sound. Next guided practice is given to isolating the /a/ sound in the beginning words and students either show or hide their card with “a” on it. This is then repeated for medial sounds, e.g. cat, hat, map, bed, sack, fox, and pack (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). This activity is then extended into a picture sort activity where students sort pictures under two cards: a__ or _a_ (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
Reading and Writing CVC Words
This activity promotes the blending and spelling of CVC words. First model sound-by-sound blending by printing the first letter of a word up and having students make the sound of the letter while pointing to it. Then add the next letter and repeat. Then blend the letters together with the class. Continue repeating this process until you have completed the word. For example, in the word “mat,” write “m,” sound it out as /m/, write “a,” sound it out as /a/, then sound out everything together as /mmmaaa/, and continue until you have complete the word as /mmmaaattt/ (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
Elkonin Boxes are a series of boxes used to represent a single word where each box represents a letter sound. For example, three boxes connected together would represent map:
In this activity, students are given the correct amount of boxes and asked to first count out how many sounds there are in a word. For example, “map” contains three sounds, /m/ /a/ and /p/. Students are then told that each box represents a single sound and are then asked to write the letter sound that corresponds to the word in each box. For example, the first sound in map is /mmm/ and so the first box has “m” in it.
Reading and Writing Words with Phonograms
Before using this activity, it is important to make sure that all students know the individual letters than make up the phonogram being used, e.g. students need to know i, g, h, and t before learning the phonogram –ight. Start the activity by asking students to change the onset of a word to make new words, e.g. with the word “sock,” change /s/ to /l/ to make “lock” (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). After doing a few of these, move onto introducing the phonogram by explaining that some words can contain similar letter patterns and that recognizing them can help make reading those words easier. Have –ight written on the board and sound it out together: point to igh with three fingers and say /ī/ and then point to the t and say /t/. Continue by changing the onset to different words like fight, light, tight, right, flight, etc. (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
Read Aloud, Audio Tapes, and Choral Reading
This strategy gives students a model of good reading as the teacher or audio tape reads aloud from a text as students read the text along with the audio. This models the fluent flow of reading, including natural pauses and intonation, as students read. This activity can be extended to allow choral reading by groups of students so that they repeat a line of text as read aloud by the teacher.
In this activity, students are paired together; often each pair will consist of a higher- and a lower-performing student. Use the same grade-level passage in order to accurately assess and compare oral reading fluency scores. Then rank the students and assign partners together so that the stronger reader is first reader – do not tell your students why they are paired together or why some students are first readers, instead say it was random. You will then assign reading at the weaker reader’s instructional level. In implementing the activity, explain that the first reader will read accurately, quickly, and with good expression while the second reader (the coach) listens for mistakes, helps with hard words, and gives feedback. Reading starts and ends when the teacher (timing for a minute) says. The readers then switch roles (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
This strategy is especially useful because many dysfluent readers do not chunk text into meaningful phrases. Introduce phrasing to students by showing what it sounds like when a sentence is not phrased correctly compared to what it sounds like when it is, e.g. Jack be nimble Jack / be quick Jack / jumped over / the candlestick. For students, select passages that are relatively short (100-250 words), appropriate for reading aloud, and at students’ independent reading level (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). Then mark short pauses with / and longer pauses with //. Explain the marks to the students and model reading the marked passage, then have students read it aloud themselves. Slowly remove scaffolds such as modeling the text aloud before having them read it and finally the markings themselves.
Readers’ Theater is a repeated reading strategy where students read passages aloud. In Readers’ Theater, a story text is converted to a script and groups of students repeatedly read the script – assuming different roles and the attitudes, personalities, and even voices of the characters and narrator – before finally performing the reading before an audience. Students can practice in various ways such as whole group, partners, or individually as well as listening to teacher modeling, audio recordings, and practicing for homework. This strategy can be dynamic and flexible in allowing teachers to use passages from a range of books and scripts, thus providing language that flows more smoothly than the stuffy, stilted language of fluency passages. Other options are available like using poetry instead of narrative text. It can also be modified in many ways, e.g. performing for just the class or for a wider audience. It can involve a great deal of stage design and costuming like a drama production, but can also be toned down to a bare-bones performance.
Timed Repeated Oral Reading
This intervention strategy is especially appropriate for slow, yet accurate readers as it gives intense practice in automaticity. This activity requires that oral reading fluency (ORF) and diagnostic assessment data first be taken in order to identify struggling readers who would benefit, select the appropriate text, and create a baseline measure of words correct per minute (WCPM). See the Fluency Curriculum-Based Measurement for more details. Once an appropriate text has been selected, the student first previews the student copy of the passage. Ask the student to do a best reading with expression and an even pace. It should also be explained that faster is not necessarily better if intonation and logical pacing suffers. The student then reads for one minute and score is kept on correct words and later graphed for Curriculum-Based Measurement purposes. This can be repeated with the same passage in order to show growth and spur motivation (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
Method for Independently Read Text
Select and introduce appropriate vocabulary words before reading the selection. First, read and pronounce the word with a student-friendly explanation. Then provide a different context and sentence for the word. Lastly, engage actively with the word by scaffolding lots of questions and example sentences that require students to finish ideas. For example, where the word is vista: “Where might you go to enjoy a scenic vista?” and “The vista stretched out to the horizon from where we stood on the ____.” (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). Once all of the words have been introduced, students read the selection independently. After reading, students should be engaged in various little activities with the words, for example, short discussion prompts on the word meanings, working through examples and non-examples, verbal multiple-choice questions, completing sentences, true/false questions, and word associations (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
This activity involves a graphic organizer to help students visualize how words connect to each other. The word map contains the target word in the center (often in a pre-printed box) connected to four boxes around it. Above the target word is a box for a synonym and another for an antonym. Underneath the target word is a box for an example and a non-example. In introducing the word map, be sure to explain and scaffold what each connected box means and how it can help students visualize and more fully understand a word from various connections (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
This method teaches an effective mnemonic strategy applied to vocabulary learning. In this strategy, first define the target word. Then think of a connected keyword to that target word; this is often something that sounds like the target word and does not necessarily have to be something semantically related. For example, archipelago is “a group of islands” and a keyword could be pelican simply because it sounds like the second part of archipelago (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). The next step links the keyword (pelican) with the definition (“a group of islands”); this is usually done by making an image of the two interacting in some way. For example, imagine a pelican flying over a group of islands; this way pelican and archipelago are linked to the image of a group of islands (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). An extra step could be to have students physically draw this mnemonic picture to help them study.
Word-Part Clues: Prefixes and Suffixes
This strategy analyzes various morphemes so that students can pick apart what words mean. This includes prefixes and suffixes. For this activity, first give a direct explanation that root words are single words that cannot be broken into smaller words or word parts, but prefixes and suffixes can be added to the front or end of roots to make new words and meanings. Give plenty of examples for each, e.g. un-, in-, and im- belong to the “not” prefix family and can change the meaning of a word (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). It is also important to give plenty of non-examples or limitations, e.g. under and impulse do not apply the un- or im- prefixes (even though they may look like they do). In studying word-part clues with students, it is suggested that only one type be studied at a time so as to avoid confusion, e.g. study prefixes and then move on to suffixes.
Directly teaching how to use context clues in order to infer meanings from text is especially helpful because students encounter so many new words in reading that even a small improvement in inference ability will result in significant vocabulary growth. First directly explain that context clues are words or phrases (especially near the new word) that give readers clues or ideas to the meaning of the new word (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). Model this with students with a cloze sentence, e.g. “They just delivered the sausage and cheese ____ that we ordered” (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). With students, work out that the most likely word missing is “pizza,” but even though it was missing, it’s possible to make an educated inference at what it is because of various clues in the sentence (e.g. you often order pizzas, pizzas often come with cheese and sausage, etc.). Show students the four steps in using context clues (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook):
1) Look for words or phrases that may be clues, or hints, to the word’s meaning.
2) First, look for clues in the sentence that contains the word. Then, if you need to, look for clues in the sentences that come before or after.
3) Using the context clues, try to determine the meaning of the unfamiliar word.
4) Try out meaning in the original sentence to check whether or not it makes sense.
Go over these with students and then practice together. It is also important to point out limitations, e.g. some sentences simply do not give any useful context clues, e.g. “When I answered the phone, I heard my sister’s agitated voice” (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
CSR (Collaborative Strategic Reading)
CSR essentially uses a series of steps in building pre-reading, during reading, and post-reading strategies for building comprehension. In each of these three steps, their sub-steps should be explicitly defined and scaffolded for students. The following at the steps and sub-steps (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook):
- Scan the text
- Brainstorm what you already know about the topic
- Predict what you will learn
2) During reading
- Click and Clunk: actively monitoring comprehension by noticing what they do understand, noticing what they do not understand, and then using appropriate fix-up strategies to resolve problems or confusion
- Get the gist: identify the most important ideas in what they are reading and shrinking information in a paragraph into a main idea statement
- Asking and answering questions
- Reviewing what has been learned
This strategy is specifically useful for comprehending narrative text. Readers are better able to summarize stories by thinking about story elements (Paige Pullen Comprehension Lecture presented in Reading Diagnosis and Remediation 2012). The main story elements are title, setting, characters, problem, events, and resolution. These elements can be organized graphically (see Figure 3) and used as a graphic organizer.
Summarizing is an especially useful strategy for comprehending text and it should be explained to students that good readers summarize for themselves frequently while reading. To teach this strategy, share the main steps of paragraph summarizing: identify who or what (person, animal, place, or thing) a paragraph is mostly about; identify the most important information about the who or what; and shrink all the information into one main-idea statement of 10 words or less (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook). Another more rule-based summarizing strategy follows four major rules: substitute a more general term for a list of specific terms; delete redundant information; delete information that is not absolutely necessary, or central, to overall meaning; and select or create a topic sentence (Core: Teaching Reading Sourcebook).
Sticky Note Questioning
Questioning is especially useful in comprehension. With Sticky Note Questioning, students keep sticky notes with them and write any questions or comments/thoughts on sticky notes posted next to the related text. When a question is answered, move the sticky note to the part of the text where the answer was found and label; then answer the question on the sticky note and label is “A” for answered (Paige Pullen Comprehension Lecture presented in Reading Diagnosis and Remediation 2012).
QAR stands for Question-Answer Relationships. To use QAR, the common language needs to be introduced: in the text (right there and think and search) and in my head (on my own and author and me) – see Figure 2. The four elements of QAR should be scaffolded with students (especially “right there” and “on my own” first, before moving on to the last two). Then scaffold multiple questions and answer them using QAR language in order. This directly teaches students that answers can come from different sources than just the text (Raphael and Au).