Scheduling Challenges: Tiered Reading Intervention



Deep implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI) requires a firm commitment to the concept of increasing instructional time for nonproficient students in an already crowded instructional day. Establishing a multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) providing multiple tiers of intervention—each demanding a chunk of instructional time that does not remove a student from Tier 1 core instruction—can be a daunting scheduling challenge. Let’s look at two intervention models for particular types of reading classrooms that meet this challenge.

Schools using the Teacher Directed, Small Group Guided Reading Model will find that the model itself provides opportunities for teachers to create increasing tiers of instructional support for students. In this model, heterogeneous classrooms are divided into three fairly homogenous reading groups: above grade level, on grade level, and below grade level. The first 30 minutes of a 2 hour English block are devoted to whole-group lessons that vary from day to day but include shared reading, specific skill instruction, and writing. The remainder of the uninterrupted English period is divided into three daily 30 minute small group guided reading periods in which the three reading groups rotate through direct explicit reading instruction delivered by the classroom teacher, skill reinforcement follow-up, and a variety of independent reading assignments that include activities ranging from silent reading to online reading reinforcement programs to work stations. For struggling readers in the below grade level group, the skill reinforcement block, rather than independent reading, is dedicated to a Tier 2 teacher-directed intervention lesson focused on skill needs identified by progress-monitoring data. Then, the one or two students still needing yet more intensive reading support receive a third reading lesson individualized to their specific needs and delivered by a Tier 3 intervention teacher or trained volunteer. Each day the amount of direct teacher instruction in reading increases from 30 minutes to 60 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the needs of each student. At our urban school, where our goal is to have every student reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade, many of our middle group 3rd grade students also receive a second Tier 2 lesson during their reinforcement block.

Sample Small Group Guided Reading Block Schedule With Interventions:

GUIDED READING GROUPS
CLASSROOM ORGANZIATION
Low Group
(Tiers 1/2/3)
Middle Group
(Tiers 1/2)
High Group
(Tier 1)
Classroom Teacher
Small Guided
Reading Group
*Tier 1
Independent:
Achieve 3000
Media Center
Computer Station
Read AR book
Reinforcement:
Follow-up skill
learning activity -
Individual, partner
or co-op group
*Tier 2 Intervention
Teacher
Small Guided
Reading Group
Classroom Teacher
Small Guided

Reading Group
*Tier 1
Independent:
Achieve 3000
Media Center
Computer Station
Read AR book
*Tier 3 Intervention
Teacher
1 on 1 support for
selected students
or Achieve 3000
Read AR book
Reinforcement:
Follow-up skill
learning activity -
Individual, partner
or co-op group
Classroom Teacher
Small Guided
Reading Group
*Tier 1

In those reading classrooms that have a more flexible structure, such as the Reading Workshop Model, a traveling intervention team can be utilized to provide the same increase of instructional time with multi-tier interventions during the traditional 2 hour English block. This scheduling model, often referred to as “Strolling Interventions,” “All Hands on Board,” or “Walk to Reading,” divides the school day into six 1-hour blocks, each aligned with a grade level. Although this model can be used daily, most schools usually implement it 2–4 days per week depending on the availability of support staff. During one hour of each grade level’s reading time, the class operates on the traditional Reading Workshop Model. During the second hour, all the classes in the grade level are visited by an intervention team that moves through a grade level each hour joining classroom teachers in delivering intervention lessons of increasing intensity to selected students identified by assessment data. Those students who do not need additional tiers of direct teacher support continue to follow their workshop routine. The membership of the team varies from hour to hour as various staff members (e.g., the principal, the media specialist, specials teachers) dedicate 1–2 hours during the school day to support the program. The team can also be joined by full or part time interventionists if funding is available for those positions. Or, in the case of severe budget limitations, this model can be completely staffed with existing personnel used in new and creative ways.

Sample “All Hands on Board” Intervention model:

TIME GRADE TEAM
9:00 K CLASSROOM 1: Teacher / Interventionist
CLASSROOM 2: Teacher / PT Interventionist
CLASSROOM 3: Teacher / Art Teacher
CLASSROOM 4: Teacher / Special Ed Teacher
10:00 1 CLASSROOM 1: Teacher / Interventionist
CLASSROOM 2: Teacher / PT Interventionist
CLASSROOM 3: Teacher / Assistant Principal
CLASSROOM 4: Teacher / Special Ed Teacher
11:00 2 CLASSROOM 1: Teacher / Interventionist
CLASSROOM 2: Teacher / PT Interventionist
CLASSROOM 3: Teacher / Media Specialist
CLASSROOM 4: Teacher / Special Ed Teacher
12:00 3 CLASSROOM 1: Teacher / Interventionist
CLASSROOM 2: Teacher / PT Interventionist
CLASSROOM 3: Teacher / Principal
1:00 4 CLASSROOM 1: Teacher / Interventionist
CLASSROOM 2: Teacher / Music Teacher
CLASSROOM 3: Teacher / Special Ed Teacher
2:00 5 CLASSROOM 1: Teacher / Interventionist
CLASSROOM 2: Teacher / Asst. Principal
CLASSROOM 3: Teacher / Special Ed Teacher

As you design a reading intervention model that best fits your school, your reading program model, and your budget, be sure to provide your Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions in addition to Tier 1 core instruction. The goal is to increase the amount of instructional time provided to your struggling readers as you strive to increase their reading proficiency and move them to grade level reading proficiency. In my next post, I’ll explore scheduling models for mathematics interventions.
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Schedule challenges
It sounds like you are on the right track with your "Walk to Reading" groups. My school has just started a rotating reading centers. We have 45 minutes a day set aside for the groups. The students are divided into 7 groups: 6 groups rotate to two different centers in a 45 minute time block, while the 7th group stays with the classroom teachers. This is very new to us and we are unsure how effective this is. Do you have any suggestions that might help us out?