Strengthening Literacy: Science of Reading, and RTI

by | Dec 21, 2023


Welcome to our in-depth exploration of advancing literacy skills in kindergarten and first grade, rooted in the science of reading, structured literacy approaches, and the Response to Intervention (RTI) model.


Embracing the Science of Reading in Structured Literacy


Structured literacy is a comprehensive, explicit approach to reading instruction, perfectly aligned with the science of reading. It encompasses essential components like:


  • Phonemic Awareness: Teaching students to recognize and manipulate sounds in spoken language.
  • Systematic Phonics: Instructing students in the systematic relationship between letters and sounds.
  • Fluency Development: Focusing on developing reading speed, accuracy, and expression.
  • Vocabulary Expansion: Actively teaching word meanings, especially those that are not easily decodable.
  • Comprehension Strategies: Teaching students to actively think about and understand what they read.
  • Writing Instruction: Integrating writing skills to reinforce reading development.


Implementing Structured Literacy


A typical literacy block might include:


  • Phonics/Word Study: Engaging students in explicit phonics lessons (15-20 minutes).
  • Close Reading: Small group instruction focused on dissecting and understanding complex texts (20-30 minutes).
  • Read-Alouds/Shared Reading: Interactive story sessions to model fluency and comprehension (15-20 minutes).
  • Independent Practice: Time for students to apply their skills (15-20 minutes).


Integrating RTI in Literacy Instruction


Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. In literacy, it involves:


  • Tier 1: High-quality classroom instruction, screening, and group interventions.
  • Tier 2: Targeted interventions for students requiring additional support.
  • Tier 3: Intensive interventions for students showing minimal progress.


Monitoring Student Progress


Assessment is integral to RTI:


  • For Fluency: Employ assessments like timed reading passages.
  • For Comprehension: Utilize tools such as story retelling or question-and-answer sessions.
  • RTI Adjustments: Based on assessment outcomes, provide more targeted support in smaller groups or individual settings.


Best Practices for Diverse Learners


English Language Learners (ELLs)


  • Incorporate visual aids and pre-teach vocabulary.
  • Modify assessments to include oral responses or additional processing time.


Students with Disabilities


  • Use multi-sensory teaching methods.
  • Offer frequent, individualized feedback and adjust assessments to their needs.


Struggling Readers


  • Provide intensive phonics instruction and repeated reading practice.
  • Regularly monitor progress and adjust instruction accordingly.


In summary, combining the science of reading with structured literacy and RTI offers a powerful and effective framework for teaching K-1 students. This approach ensures that every child receives the tailored instruction and support they need to develop foundational reading skills, laying the groundwork for future academic achievement.