Response to Intervention

Evaluation of Response to Intervention Practices for Elementary School Reading

Balu, R., Zhu, P., Doolittle, F., Schiller, E., Jenkins, J., and Gersten, R. (November 2015) Evaluation of Response to  Intervention Practices for  Elementary School Reading, Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences.

Response to Intervention (RtI) is a framework for collecting and using data to match students to interventions of varying intensity. This study examines the implementation of RtI in Grade 1–3 reading in 13 states during the 2011–12 school year, focusing on 146 schools that were experienced with RtI. Full implementation of the RtI framework in Grade 1–3 reading was reported by 86 percent of the experienced schools. Fifty-five percent of these schools focused reading intervention services on Grade 1 students reading below grade level, while 45 percent of the schools also provided reading intervention services for Grade 1 students reading at or above grade level. Students who scored just below school-determined benchmarks on fall screening tests, and who were assigned to interventions for struggling readers, had lower spring reading scores in Grade 1 than students just above the threshold for intervention. In Grades 2 and 3, there were no statistically significant impacts of interventions for struggling readers on the spring reading scores of students just below the threshold for intervention.

A Written Language Intervention for At-Risk Second Grade Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Process Assessment of the Learner Lesson Plans in a Tier 2 Response-to-Intervention (RtI) Model

Hooper, S. R., Costa, L. C., McBee, M., Anderson, K. L., Yerby, D. C., Childress, A., & Knuth, S. B. (2013). A written language intervention for at-risk second grade students: A randomized controlled trial of the process assessment of the learner lesson plans in a tier 2 response-to-intervention (RtI) model. Annals of Dyslexia, 66(1), 44–64.

The study examined the effects of Process Assessment of the Learner (PAL), a writing expression curriculum. The program was tested with second grade students in a suburban–rural school district in the southeastern United States. Three sections of PAL lessons were implemented in the district as a small-group curriculum supplement — Talking Letters, Spelling, and Handwriting and Composition. The study found that the average written expression skills of the PAL intervention group were higher than those of the comparison group at the beginning of third grade. However, a review of the findings by What Works Clearinghouse did not confirm that the observed effect of the PAL intervention on growth in written expression skills was statistically significant.

A Cultural, Linguistic, and Ecological Framework for Response to Intervention with English Language Learners

Brown, J. E., and Doolittle, J. (2008). A Cultural, Linguistic, and Ecological Framework for Response to Intervention with English Language Learners. Teaching Exceptional Children, 40(5), 66-72.

Looking through the lens of culturally responsive practice, we consider how best to implement Response to Intervention (RTI) in a way that will provide equitable educational opportunity for students who are English Language Learners.

Assisting Students Struggling with Reading: Response to Intervention (RtI) and Multi-Tier Intervention in the Primary Grades

Gersten, R., Compton, D., Connor, C.M., Dimino, J., Santoro, L., Linan-Thompson, S., and Tilly, W.D. (2008). Assisting students struggling with reading: Response to Intervention and multi-tier intervention for reading in the primary grades. A practice guide. (NCEE 2009-4045). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from

This guide offers five specific recommendations to help educators identify struggling readers and implement evidence-based strategies to promote their reading achievement. Teachers and reading specialists can utilize these strategies to implement RtI and multi-tier intervention methods and frameworks at the classroom or school level. Recommendations cover how to screen students for reading problems, design a multi-tier intervention program, adjust instruction to help struggling readers, and monitor student progress.

Extensive Reading Interventions in Grades K-3: From Research to Practice

Scammacca, N., Vaughn, S., Roberts, G., Wanzek, J., & Torgesen, J. K. (2007). Extensive reading interventions in grades K-3: From research to practice. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.

This report summarizes 12 peer-reviewed, high-quality research studies between 1995 and 2005 and synthesizes their findings on the effects of extensive reading interventions (comprising at least 100 instructional sessions) for struggling K-3 readers. It then explains the related implications for practice for students with reading problems or learning disabilities in an RTI setting.

Recognition and Response: An Early Intervening System for Young Children At-Risk for Learning Disabilities

Coleman, M.R., Buysse, V. & Neitzel, J. (2006). Recognition and Response: An early intervening system for young children at-risk for learning disabilities. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, FPG Child Development Institute: Chapel Hill, NC.

Some young children show signs that they may not be learning in an expected manner, even before they begin kindergarten. These children may exhibit problems in areas such as language development, phonological awareness, perceptual-motor abilities and attention, which are considered precursors of learning disabilities in older children. However, under current state and federal guidelines, these children are unlikely to meet eligibility criteria for having a learning disability. This is because formal identification of a child's learning disability generally does not occur until there is a measurable discrepancy between the child's aptitude and academic achievement, often not until the second or third grade. This report describes a method of addressing those warning signs immediately.

New Roles in Response to Intervention: Creating Success for Schools and Children

International Reading Association. (2006). New roles in response to intervention: Creating success for schools and children. Retrieved from

The International Reading Association (IRA) convened a group from the special education and regular education associations to craft a set of fact sheets on the roles of the various professionals and parents who are involved in implementing response-to-intervention (RTI) procedures. The outcome of that effort is a collective set of papers that represent each organization's distinctive constituency and viewpoint regarding RTI.

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss