Literacy Intervention and the Differentiated Plan of Instruction

Literacy Intervention and the Differentiated Plan of Instruction

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5007-5.ch003


Teachers are trained to make the best decisions in regard to the individual success of each student. With consistent demand for the best education and resultant success for all students, it has become evident that not all students grasp the skills and strategies that can be used successfully across various reading situations, calling for intervention. Intervention is not the type of conversation you want to have incidentally, and it is one that must be crafted purposefully. Through the analysis of modern discussion about reading interventions, this chapter defines intervention, including past and current legislation. It focuses on identifying children who are in need of additional instruction, and involves the path of legislation, including Title I and response to instruction (RtI). Additionally, this chapter explains the role that intervention plays in the reading process and elaborates on why it is essential to strengthen intervention techniques and opportunities.
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Teaching reading and writing effectively is a great responsibility. I think it’s one of the most critical tasks a teacher is given because literacy makes a huge difference in students’ lives – good readers and writers have many more opportunities afforded to them throughout their school years and beyond. (Tompkins, 2014, p. xxi)



The ability to read well is an essential component of a student’s academic success, and an essential tool for success in life. In preparing our children for successful reading encounters, we need to ensure that they have the tools to make sense of the text seen in daily reading. We need to provide them with skills and strategies that can be used across reading situations. As discussed in Chapter 2, not all students will grasp those tools the first time they are presented during core reading instruction. There has been and currently is a widespread interest and a seemingly legitimate need in our United States educational system to focus on students who are at risk for academic failure, particularly in the area of reading. In the past, those at-risk students have often been from low socioeconomic areas, with very low motivation to learn, socially promoted, transient, or speakers of second languages. However, due in part to political action that has dramatically changed how educators are supporting the vision of being committed to ensuring that every child in the United States can read, expectations require schools to pay close attention to those students at risk for academic failure, particularly in reading. A strict political action that had quickly surfaced at the close of the 20th century, designed ultimately to decrease the number of students who may end up at the center of a significant number of societal problems as a result of inadequate education, remained strong throughout the first decade of the 21st century.

Intervention in education can be defined as working with a student or students in order to help them succeed in the academic realm. Sparks (2016) defines intervention as an identification of problems in learning and the use of focused lessons and intervention to improve learning. The goal of intervention is to catch a student before he or she begins to struggle too much, and give guided support to get back on track and performing at grade level.

Because the goal in our classrooms is to make sure students are not falling behind, interventions serve an important role in the classroom, through constant data collection and decision-making. Johnson & Rowe (2016) argue that “teachers [are] using ongoing curriculum based assessments [which] are actually good at determining whether a child’s literacy is more or less developed.” In other words, assessments serve as data-collection tools for the classroom teachers and specialists to use as evidence when determining if a student is in need of intervention. Based on this classroom data, teachers can make decisions to better meet the needs of the students. This does not mean teachers should be constantly assessing their students at the expense of instructional time, but rather should use assessments to drive instructional time. An example of this is using Marie Clay’s Observation Survey when further evidence is needed to support a case that a student should be recommended for intervention (Johnson & Rowe, 2016). Once data has been collected and analyzed, the classroom teacher and interventionist should collaborate and decide what type of intervention would be most beneficial for that particular student.

Providing the appropriate interventions for students in America still continues to be an ongoing challenge. The American people want to strengthen our education by providing a better program that more effectively serves students in need of intervention. It is important to strengthen intervention in the classroom, because without intervention there will be students who fall behind and lose hope in their education. There will be people who lose sight of why education is valued.

Our definition in America for reading intervention is clear, but we are still progressing toward effectively providing interventions in and out of the classroom. One step in the right direction has been to reconsider how interventions have previously been done, and how some models have failed. Those failures, though, have provided educators with light on what needs to be adapted. In a way, our education system needed its own intervention, leading to a new wave in literacy in the near future.

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