Response to Intervention - RTI

What is it?
Response to Intervention (RtI) is a new program at Rutland Elementary to assist struggling readers in the elementary grades. Rutland was selected as a pilot site for RtI in the fall of 2008. We assess the students in grades kindergarten through 6th grade three times during the school year. Based on those tests, students who show a need in a critical reading skill will receive extra direct instruction to remediate that skill.

How does it work?
All students in grades kindergarten through third grade are given a screening test at the beginning of the school year to assess basic reading skills. The scores rate the students as at benchmark level (green level)in need of strategic intervention (yellow level) , or in need of intensive intervention (red level). Based on these scores, the teachers group the students to receive instruction in any areas that they scored below their grade level average. All students receive 90 minutes of grade level reading instruction. Students in need of strategic intervention receive an additional 30 minutes per day of instruction to target their needs. Students in need of intensive intervention, receive two 30 minute instructional sessions focused on their areas of need. Students who receive this additional instruction are tested weekly to determine if the extra time is improving the students' weak reading areas. As they improve, the students can be moved out of groups.

The Big 5 Skills
(These ideas are taken from Teaching Reading Sourcebook by Bill Honig, Linda Diamond, and Linda Gutlohn (2008))

Response to Intervention (RtI) focuses on The Big 5 Reading Skills. Those skills include:

1. Phonemic Awareness: the ability to detect, identify and manipulate phonemes (sounds) in spoken words, including hearing the individual sounds in a word, hearing rhyming words, hearing beats or syllables in a a word and manipulating phonemes or sounds in a word.
2. Phonics: a method of instruction that teaches students the relationship between letters and letter combinations in written language and the individual sounds in spoken language. Phonics can help students learn how to convert the printed word into its spoken form.
3. Fluency: the accurate reading of connected text at a conversational rate with appropriate expression.
4. Comprehension: understanding what is being read. The reader can make connections among ideas in the text and between the text the reader's own background.
5. Vocabulary: the knowledge of words and word meanings. Vocabulary is something that expands and deepens over the course of a lifetime.

What can parents do to help their child learn to read?
The first and most important thing a parent can do is to read to their child/children. What if your child will not sit still? Start small. Read 5 minutes at a time. Then stop. Read about things that interest your child - sharks, dinosaurs, flowers, tractors, princesses. Books with pictures will hold the child's attention while you read the words. Take plenty of time to discuss the pictures and the story. The next time, read for 6 or 7 minutes. It won't be long before your child will be able to stay with you 10 to 15 minutes or longer.

The second most important thing to do is to let your child/children see you reading. Your choice of text is not so important - newspaper, Bible, cookbook, magazine, even articles on the internet. Let your kids know that you use reading in your life. That builds the expectation that they will need to read in the future.