MTSS and RTI Frameworks for Targeted Reading Interventions

by | Apr 25, 2023


Enhancing Reading Skills through MTSS and RTI Frameworks

Reaching every student in your classroom, especially concerning reading skills, is crucial for their success.  With diverse student populations and a wide range of reading abilities, it’s crucial to have targeted, research-based strategies to support learners at all levels. Enter Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and Response to Intervention (RTI), two frameworks that can help you address the diverse reading needs of your students.


In this article, we’ll explore the principles of MTSS and RTI, explain their benefits, and offer practical tips for implementing these strategies in your classroom. Let’s dive in!


The Foundations of MTSS and RTI in Education

MTSS and RTI are research-based frameworks designed to support students with diverse learning needs. Both models use a tiered approach, where the intensity of support increases with each tier. The goal is to identify students’ specific reading challenges early and provide targeted interventions, so they can succeed in the classroom.


MTSS focuses on the whole child, incorporating both academic and non-academic support, while RTI is more targeted, specifically addressing academic skill development. However, both frameworks share common elements, such as ongoing progress monitoring and data-driven decision-making.


MTSS and RTI Empower Teachers to Address Diverse Reading Needs

Both MTSS and RTI use a three-tiered approach to reading support, each with its unique characteristics:


  • Tier 1: Universal Instruction and Support This tier encompasses high-quality, research-based instruction and support for all students. It includes whole-class instruction, differentiated teaching, and ongoing assessment to ensure students are making progress. At this stage, approximately 80-85% of students should meet their reading goals.


  • Tier 2: Targeted, Small-Group Interventions Tier 2 focuses on students who need additional support beyond Tier 1. These students may participate in small-group instruction or receive targeted interventions, such as guided reading or fluency practice. Progress monitoring becomes even more critical at this level, with regular assessments to track improvement. Approximately 10-15% of students may require Tier 2 support.


  • Tier 3: Intensive, Individualized Interventions The most intensive level of support, Tier 3 is reserved for students with significant reading challenges. These students may receive one-on-one instruction, work with specialized reading interventionists, or participate in highly individualized programs. The goal is to address their unique needs and help them reach their full potential. Typically, 5% or fewer students will require Tier 3 support.


Practical Tips for Success with Tiered Reading Interventions

Now that you understand the basics of MTSS and RTI, let’s discuss some practical tips for implementing these frameworks in your classroom:


  • Establish a Strong Foundation with Tier 1 Instruction High-quality, research-based instruction is crucial for all students. Be intentional in selecting curricula and strategies that align with best practices, such as explicit instruction in phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.


  • Use Data to Drive Decision-Making Ongoing assessment and progress monitoring are essential components of MTSS and RTI. Use data to identify students who need additional support, guide instruction, and track the effectiveness of interventions. Regularly review this information to make informed decisions about student progress and necessary adjustments.


  • Collaborate with Colleagues and Specialists Successful implementation of MTSS and RTI requires collaboration among teachers, interventionists, and other school staff. Communicate regularly with your colleagues to share strategies, discuss student progress, and seek input from specialists when needed.


  • Be Flexible and Responsive to Student Needs As you monitor student progress, be prepared to adjust your interventions and instruction based on their unique needs. This may mean moving students between tiers, modifying intervention strategies, or seeking additional resources to support their growth.


  • Engage Families in the Process Parent and caregiver involvement is crucial for student success. Keep families informed about their child’s progress, the interventions being used, and ways they can support their child’s reading development at home.


  • Prioritize Professional Development Stay up-to-date with the latest research and best practices in reading instruction and intervention. Regularly participate in professional development opportunities to hone your skills and improve your effectiveness in implementing MTSS and RTI.


Empowering Students with Diverse Reading Needs through MTSS and RTI

Implementing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and Response to Intervention (RTI) frameworks in your classroom provides targeted, research-based reading interventions and support for students with diverse reading needs. Embrace these strategies, collaborate with colleagues, and stay committed to continuous improvement. In doing so, you’ll not only help your students become stronger readers but also empower them to reach their full potential.



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