* This page is still a work in progress. Hang in there! :)

An intervention is the usage of the right intervention at the right time for what that child needs. It IS NOT a packaged program or set of textbooks. It is really about differentiating and tailoring instruction to work with a child that is a struggling reader. 

I suggest reading the 30 Million Word Gap (below) to learn about the reading crisis we have and how early it begins. You can also download it HERE.

What is RtI?
by Tina Winkle

Response to Intervention (RtI) is a general education initiative written into the IDEA 2004 special education law. The purpose of RtI is to give educators a framework to determine early intervention services.

RtI was created because research and multiple long-term studies found that students can learn when given differentiated instruction, explicit instruction, and by using a scientifically research-based curriculum..

RtI involves gathering data through assessment and progress-monitoring. Educators then determine the appropriate interventions the child needs and also the instructional plans the whole class needs.

There is no specific RtI model prescribed by the IDEA law, and there are variations of three or four-tier models. The bottom line is that responsive instruction benefits all learners. In other words, meet your students’ needs.

From Anna Schults and John Wolf's Three Tier Reading Model PPT

Dr. Tihen's RtI Fluid Chart

Your school may already use the concept of RtI or Response to Intervention, or you may have heard about RtI and wondered what it was.
RtI was developed in the late 1970s by researchers looking for methods to identify students with learning disabilities that did not respond to regular educational methods from those students who were struggling but did not need intensive intervention. RtI became reauthorized in 2004 under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).
RtI is a 3 tiered system model. It has expanded in education to be more than just something used to identify certain students and now it is utilized to help identify all students. They fit into the three tiers. Students can move up downward in tiers but we do not want them to go backward. For example, a tier 3 student can move into tier 2.
Educators determine which tier a student fits into based on continual assessments, or progress monitoring.

Tier 1 students are roughly on grade level or above. Tier 1 students receive the core instructional program (whatever your curriculum is) along with small group instruction/guided reading. This usually means 90-120 minutes daily of reading instruction or activities. These students can be progress monitored about once a month.

Tier 2 students need additional support. These students are often referred to as your “bubble kids” since some of them are near tier 1 but not quite yet ready. I recommend progress monitoring these students every other week. Tier 2 students need the core of 90-120 minutes daily of reading instruction/activities plus an additional 15-30 minutes daily.
Tier 3 students are your students who do not make expected progress through the support of tier 2 interventions, or those that fall way below the benchmark. I would progress monitor these students once a week if possible. Tier 3 students need individualized and intensive interventions. One-on-one time is preferred. Now these students need the 90-120 minutes daily of reading/literacy activities and instruction plus an additional 30-90 minutes on top of that.

I know it sounds like a lot BUT literacy centers, small group, guided reading, silent reading, writing, read-alouds, phonics, etc. all go toward that time. And so does time with an ESL/ELL teacher, Title I teacher, Instructional/Literacy Coach and Reading Specialist. Every little bit counts!!!

Tier Two Word Lists
Follow this link to the Flocabulary Lists of grade-level tier two words.   Vocabulary should always be taught in context.  These lists should serve only as a reference to guide teachers in selecting tier two words.  These should NOT be used as randomly assigned spelling or vocabulary lists.

RTI Resources to Consider


Bender, W.N. & Shores, C. (2007).  Response to Intervention: A Practical Guide for Every Teacher.   Thousand Oaks:  Corwin Press.

       As a result of NCLB legislation and the reauthorization of IDEA 2004, Response to Intervention (RTI) is now a mandated process for documenting the existence or nonexistence of a learning disability.  For educators new to the RTI approach, Response to Intervention presents an overview of key concepts with guidelines for accountability practices that benefit students in inclusive classrooms.  Presenting the three tiers of RTI techniques, the authors demonstrate how general and special education teachers can use research-based interventions effectively to individualize instruction, monitor individual student progress, and implement strategies to meet the specific needs of all students.  Featuring helpful charts and reproducibles, this timely resource is sure to become a valuable guide as educators implement programs to document how individual students respond to specific educational interventions.

Brown-Chidsey, R. & Steege, M.W. (2005).  Response to Intervention Principles and Strategies for Effective PracticeNew YorkGuildford Press.

       Meeting a key need, this is the first comprehensive guide to implementing a school-wide response to intervention (RTI) program.  The book is geared to helping practitioners understand and respond to No Child Left Behind and to the new special education eligibility guidelines outlined in IDEA 2004.  Presented are the theoretical and empirical foundations of the approach and a clear, 10-step model for conducting RTI procedures with students experiencing learning difficulties.  Special features include reproducible planning and implementation worksheets and more than two dozen overhead transparency masters for use in RTI training sessions, with lay-flat binding to facilitate photocopying.  For optimal utility, RTI training materials are also available online as PowerPoint slides and PDFs at  This title is part of the Practical Intervention in the Schools Series, edited by Kenneth W. Merrell.

Haager, D., Klingner, J., & Vaughn, S. (Eds.). (2007).  Evidence-Based Reading Practices for Response to InterventionBaltimore:  Brookes Publishing.

       In this must-read volume, some of the biggest names in reading research share what they know about today's hottest topic in education—Response to Intervention (RTI), the key to helping struggling students before they fall behind.  More than 30 expert contributors reveal what the latest research says about RTI's Three-Tier Aproach:  the core reading program for all students, supplementary instruction for children with early reading difficulties, and intensive intervention for children who still struggle.  The first and only comprehensive research synthesis on RTI, this book lays the groundwork for implementation of scientifically validated reading programs that reduce over-identification of students in special education and provide the best and earliest help to students who struggle.  A necessary addition to the library of every present and future education professional.

Mellard, D.F. & Johnson, E. (2007).  RTI:  A Practitioner's Guide to Implementing Response to InterventionPort Chester:  National Professional Resources, Inc.

       RTI:  A Practitioner's Guide to Implementing Response to Intervention provides detailed and comprehensive guidelines for implementing Response to Intervention (RTI). As a school-wide approach, RTI emphasizes scientifically based instruction, progress monitoring, and early intervention.  This text illustrates how practitioners can implement the individual components of RTI in conjunction with other policy initiatives.  The authors discuss the three tiers of the RTI method—including school-wide screening and progress monitoring—and examine them in terms of features, implementation tips, changing structures and roles, and challenges to implementation.  This guidebook also includes numerous site examples and student case studies, and concludes with a section on frequently asked questions and an overview of future developments in RTI.

Moats, L.C.  (2000).  Speech To Print:  Language Essentials for TeachersBaltimore:  Brookes Publishing.

       Why study language?  Because learning the basics of language helps you understand your students' needs and to teach reading, spelling, and writing explicitly and systematically.  In this thorough and well-written book, you'll . . .

    * understand the organization of written and spoken English
    * discover the connection between language structure and how individuals learn to read
    * find helpful chapter exercises and self-tests to ensure you master the language skills presented
    * get examples of students' writing to help you interpret children's mistakes
    * encounter sample lesson plans and adaptations that apply the concepts of language you are learning

All of this will enable you to recognize, understand, and solve the problems individuals with or without disabilities may encounter when learning to read and write.  Also available, The Speech to Print Workbook: Language Exercises for Teachers.  Now instructors who use Speech to Print in teacher education courses have a companion workbook for their students.  Containing all the exercises in Speech to Print, this engaging, interactive workbook gives teachers a wide variety of exercises, including fill-in-the-blanks, multiple choice, matching activities, and translation.  As they work through the book, they'll expand their own language of the building blocks of language, learn to recognize and understand the problems with language children may encounter, and discover strategies for teaching children crucial reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

Rudebusch, J.  (2008).  The Source for RTIEast Moline:  LinguiSystems, Inc.

       How does RTI affect SLP services?  What is my role?  Where do I start?  Find answers in this Source that discusses the principles and implementation of RTI, then brings it down to the real world with examples of appropriate interventions for specific speech-language conditions at each tier.  Outcome:

* Know how to apply the RTI system to everyday work and provide effective interventions within the RTI framework
* This resource brings the RTI issues together in an easy-to-understand format. You’ll learn:
* Why the RTI movement started and why it’s important in special education with specific focus on the implication for SLPs
* The eight core principles of RTI that are essential for developing a strong school infrastructure and providing effective instruction for every student
* About RTI and the Three-Tier Model of School Support including the key elements that need to be included at each tier and activities SLPs can implement at each tier
* About RTI and data-driven decisions, including how to use data from assessments to make decisions about intervention, the importance of integrated data management tools, which data is best to use at each tier, and the SLP’s role in RTI data
* How RTI problem-solving teams work, how to staff them, activities to use in a problem-solving process, and the role of the SLP in problem solving
* About RTI and special education eligibility determination, including specific information about speech-language evaluations and how to determine the appropriate amount of intervention
* The range of speech and language services, both direct and indirect, that may be considered in a three-tier RTI model
* Special education services in public school change with RTI, the four critical components needed to improve teaching and learning in schools, the impact of continuous improvement plans on student performance in special education, school case studies, and the impact of continuous improvement in speech-language pathology

The appendix includes sample planning, scheduling, and evaluation forms; scheduling helps; flow charts; and more ready-to-use tools.  Use this resource to inform colleagues, to jump-start RTI in your school, or to maintain your active membership on your school’s problem-solving team.  You’ll have the information you need to build and/or sustain a program and bring the best level and quality of service to your students.

Wright, J. (2007).  RTI Toolkit:  A Practical Guide for SchoolsPort Chester:  National Professional Resources, Inc.

       This book will provide school administrators and teachers with the essential techniques, resources, and guidelines to start a comprehensive Response To Intervention process in their own schools. The reader will learn how to: Help stakeholders buy-in to the RTI process Inventory and organize intervention resources Create research-based and classroom-friendly student intervention plans Set objective goals for student improvement Apply decision rules to determine when a student who fails to respond to intervention should be referred.

Web Documents

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  (2006).  Early Intervening Services.  Retrieved February 25, 2009 from the ASHA website:

       This site reviews what IDEA says about early intervening services and the implications for SLPs.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  (2009).  Responsiveness to Intervention.  Retrieved February 25, 2009 from the ASHA website:

       This site contains text and additional web links which provide information relevant to RTI, including a definition, a discussion of SLP roles, professional development products, and other resources and organizations.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  (2008).  School-Based Service Delivery.  Retrieved February 25, 2009 from the ASHA website:

       This site contains many additional web links which provide information regarding the process of creating change, service delivery models, collaborative services, and inclusion.

National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (2005).  Responsiveness to Intervention and Learning Disabilities.  Retrieved February 25, 2009 from Learning Disabilities Association of America website:

       The purpose of this National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) report is to examine the concepts, potential benefits, practical issues, and unanswered questions associated with responsiveness to intervention (RTI) and learning disabilities (LD). A brief overview of the approach is provided, including attributes, characteristics, and promising features, as well as issues, concerns, unanswered questions, and research needs. Issues related to RTI implementation, including use as an eligibility mechanism, parent participation, structure and components, professional roles and competencies, and needed research, are addressed. The report is neither a position paper nor a “how-to guide” for implementing an RTI approach.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.  (2006).  Early Intervening Services.  Retrieved February 25, 2009 from U.S. Department of Education website:

       The reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law on Dec. 3, 2004, by President George W. Bush.  The provisions of the act became effective on July 1, 2005, with the exception of some of the elements pertaining to the definition of a “highly qualified teacher” that took effect upon the signing of the act.  The final regulations were published on Aug. 14, 2006.  This is one in a series of documents that covers a variety of high-interest topics and brings together the regulatory requirements related to those topics to support constituents in preparing to implement the new regulations.  This document addresses the final regulatory requirements regarding early intervening services.

       AIMSweb RTI:  The Standard Process Protocol Solution.  Ensuring Fidelity through Standard Problem-Solving Tasks and Scientifically Based Progress Monitoring.  Changes in IDEA legislation are now finalized and allow Local Education Agencies some additional latitude to incorporate RTI in the process to identify children with special needs. The question for many practitioners is “How can we do this in a way that is accurate, efficient, and accountable?” 
The answer is AIMSweb.  AIMSweb offers a solution for implementing RTI as a data-drive component of the special services eligibility process. It is designed to provide schools and school psychologists with evidence-based assessment tools to evaluate the student’s response to intervention in the basic skills, such as reading and math – both on grade level and below grade level.

1. Assess skills directly, frequently, and continuously using proven CBM tools
2. Compare expected or targeted rates of progress to actual rates of progress using our RtI Progress Monitor
3. Plan, intervene, and document using the Case Manager interface

Moats, L.C. (2007).  LETRS:  Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and SpellingFrederick:  Sopris West.

       LETRS is a professional development program that responds to the need for high-quality literacy educators at all levels.  Developed by Louisa C. Moats, EdD, LETRS provides the deep foundational knowledge necessary to understand how students learn to read, write, and spell—and why some of them struggle.  The program's underlying principles are the groundwork in many scientific research reports, including “Blueprint for Professional Development,” Reading First Leadership Academy, U.S. Department of Education (Moats, 2002); “The Missing Foundation in Teacher Education,” American Educator (Moats, 1995); and “Measuring Teachers' Content Knowledge of Language and Reading,” Annals of Dyslexia (Moats and Foorman, 2003).  LETRS provides educators with a core understanding of language structure and helps them gain in-depth instructional information to complement their teaching practices.  Rather than replacing the core basal reading program, LETRS brings deeper knowledge of reading instruction by addressing each component—phoneme awareness; phonics, decoding, spelling, and word study; oral language development; vocabulary; reading fluency; comprehension; and writing—as well as the foundational concepts that link them.   LETRS is delivered through a combination of print materials (Modules), technology (Interactive CD-ROMs), and professional development (Institutes).

Montgomery, J.K. (2007).  Bridge To Vocabulary:  Evidence-Based Activities for Academic SuccessMinneapolis:  Pearson, Inc.

       The Bridge of Vocabulary offers the only explicit vocabulary intervention program tied to evidence-based research and curriculum standards and developed for both general and special educators.  This sophisticated tool enables you to meet guidelines set by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA)—which require that teachers and specialists use evidence-based teaching practices to ensure their students receive high-quality instruction and intervention. Brief, focused, and flexible, The Bridge of Vocabulary is ideally suited for all three tiers of the RtI model.  This highly relevant resource directly links specific vocabulary intervention with a research-based strategy and presents a systematic, intensive approach to help you foster vocabulary and language growth.  Written for multiple users, The Bridge of Vocabulary facilitates collaboration among SLPs, classroom teachers, reading teachers, and other education professionals—an important evidence-based practice.

Sexton, S.M.  (2009).  5-Minute Kids:  A Drill Based Program for Students with Speech Sound Disorders.  Lampeer:  Author. 

5 Minute Kids is a program for delivering services to students with speech sound disorders by scheduling short, individual drill sessions.  This program requires little planning for the professional and minimal time out of the classroom for the student.  The child receives therapy in the hallway for designated number of 5 to 10 minute sessions, based on therapy needs.  Over the last 5 years, data has shown that this model is more effective than traditional group therapy in achieving speech and language goals.  The 5 Minute Kids program:

* Offers ideas for intensive drill activities for articulation and phonology students
* Increases instructional time in the regular education classroom
* Provides opportunities for individualizing goals and services
* Organizes data materials efficiently
* Can be used with Response to Intervention (RtI) services

Taps, J.  (2006).  An Innovative Education Approach to Addressing Articulation Differences (Offering short-term, intensive general education services to children with single sound errors in San Diego City Schools).  ASHA Schools Conference, Phoenix, AZ. 

       This document provides a summary of Ms. Taps poster session presentation and a link to the Articulation Differences and Disorders Manual developed by the San Diego Schools.  Two additional websites have since been developed: and


Wiechmann, J. & Balfanz, D.  (2009).  ARtIC LAB:  A Bilingual Response to Intervention Program for ArticulationGreenville:  Super Duper, Inc.

       Treat mild articulation deficits in ten weeks or less, and cut your caseload in half!  ARtIC LAB® is a bilingual Response to Intervention (RtI) program for elementary school students (Grades 1–5) who exhibit mild articulation deficits in English or Spanish.  This 20-hour, evidence-based program provides sound placement instructions, intensive drill work, and sound generalization activities PRIOR to referral for speech-language pathology services.  ARtIC LAB® is for:

 * English-speaking students with only one to two of the following sounds in error: R, S, L, SH, and/or CH.
 * Spanish-speaking students with only one to two of the following sounds in error: R, S, and/or CH.

Field-tested in a culturally diverse school district in the Houston, Texas area, ARtIC LAB® can reduce the size of your caseload as well as meet IDEA 2004 requirements to assess a student's responsiveness to intervention prior to referral to special education.  During one semester of intervention, 89 students received 20 hours of intervention over a ten-week period. Of these 89 students, only two cases resulted in referrals to special education and testing for speech therapy.  The ARtIC Lab® consists of seven (7) learning stations that maximize the number of sound productions for each student.  Each day, the SLP chooses up to five (5) stations based on the number of students in the group (e.g., three [3] students equals three [3] stations).  The maximum number of students in a group is five (5).  Over a 30-minute session (four days per week), students rotate through each of the stations.  The fun activities and games in the ARtIC Lab® require limited concentration allowing the student to attend to and practice his/her target sounds while staying motivated.  Students learn quickly to monitor and self-correct their sound errors.  There are two ways to purchase ARtIC LAB® !  You can purchase the complete bilingual kit, or you can purchase the English version.  There are no extra forms to buy, ever! Print everything you need from the CD-ROM.

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