Reading interventions for situations where the task is too hard for the student

Cross Age Peer Tutoring
This is a cross-age peer tutoring intervention that works by pairing students from different grades and ability levels to work on an academic skill together. The older/higher ability student will be the tutor; and the younger/lower ability student will be the tutee. The students work together to practice a skill. This is beneficial for both the tutors and the tutees.
Instructional Match

The purpose of this intervention is to improve instruction through the accurate assessment of the student’s current instructional level and selection of appropriately matched curriculum and materials to the student’s current level and ability. A student’s prior knowledge, the difficulty of the learning task, and the pace of instruction differ, and therefore instruction must be tailored to the individual student to generate an instructional match.

  • Full Intervention Brief: Instructional Match

    Keyword Mnemonics

    Mnemonics are strategies and techniques that aid in memory.  A mnemonic keyword connects a new vocabulary word to students’ prior knowledge by using a visual depicting the definition to the new vocabulary word.  New vocabulary terms are introduced through a similar sounding word (keyword).  This keyword is illustrated in such a way that the keyword interacts with critical attributes of the definition of the new word.  Lastly, a sentence is created to connect the keyword to the new definition.

    Common Core Standards: Varied

    Setting: Whole Class, Small Group, Individual

    Focus Area: Acquisition, Fluency and Generalization

    Full Brief Link

    Listening Passage Preview

    Listening Passage Preview is an intervention that can be used to increase the accuracy with which students read. It is design to increase reading fluency, but focuses more on the accuracy than the rate with which students read. The teacher or interventionist reads the previously selected passage aloud for as the student follows along. While the passage is being read through the first time, the student(s) is instructed to follow along. Once the reading has been completed, the student will then read the same passage aloud. This intervention can be conducted one on one, or in a small-group setting by having the teacher read aloud then partnering children to read aloud to one another. Although the intervention is called Listening Passage Preview, it is probably best to read only two sentences at a time rather than the entire passage.

    EBI Brief for the Listening Passage Preview

    Phrase Drill

    Phrase drill is an effective error correction procedure designed to provide multiple opportunities to respond and promote generalization of reading words in text. Phrase drill is addresses reading fluency, and is best for students who are able to read most words, but do so slowly. The overall goal of Phrase drill is to increase the accuracy with which students read to help them become more fluent readers.

    EBI Brief for the Phrase Drill

    Reading Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS)

    Reading PALS is a whole-class peer-tutoring program that can be used with students from kindergarten through sixth grade and in high school. Students work on grade-level reading skills. The focus in kindergarten and first grade is on word recognition and fluency. The emphasis in second through sixth grade and in high school is fluency and reading comprehension. The PALS model allows for students to practice reading skills with immediate feedback and to have extensive reading practice.

    Story Detective

    Story Detective turns the reader into a “detective” making predictions about a story as it unfolds through a series of clues. Students are given clues one at a time that, when listed in their entirety, create the outline of a story. The teacher reads one clue such as, “Two friends were walking home for dinner.” The student then has the opportunity to be the “detective” and make a prediction about where the story is headed. The teacher follows that prediction by asking the student to explain his/her thoughts. A second clue is then given. The details of this clue may prove or disprove the previous prediction and a new or extended prediction is made.

    Full Intervention Brief: Story Detective

    Evidence Brief: Story Detective EB


    Tutoring Buddy

    Tutoring Buddy Letter Sounds (TBLS) is a computer-aided teaching tool designed to teach letter sound correspondence using incremental rehearsal. The program has been used successfully with children between the ages of 4 and 6. Using TBLS interventionists preform a brief assessment of letter sound knowledge and the software selects known and unknown letters for instruction. TBLS is a multi-purpose tool. It can be used to:

    1. Identify students who would most benefit from supplemental instruction (screening takes about 1 minute per student on average)
    2. Teach letter-sound correspondence effectively and efficiently (on average 5 minutes per session)
    3. Monitor student response to the intervention- progress-monitoring data is collected and charted automatically.
    4. Inform instruction by showing teachers which letter sounds are known by none, some, and all students.

    Setting: Individual

    Focus Area: Acquisition and Fluency

    EBI Brief Template Tutoring Buddy

    Tutoring Buddy Evidence Brief


    Word Boxes

    Word boxes are an appropriate intervention to use with a whole class, small groups, or individual children. This intervention is intended to help with the acquisition of phonemic awareness skills. Word boxes consist of connected boxes that represent the number of sounds or distinct phonemes in a word. The words that are used in this intervention should be part of a student’s speaking vocabulary, but not necessarily their reading vocabulary. Word boxes can be used to segment the sounds in words, match letters to sounds, and spell words.

    EBI Brief for Word Boxes

    Word Sorts

    Word sorts are an appropriate intervention to use with a whole class, small groups, or individual children. This intervention is intended to help with the acquisition of phonemic awareness skills. Word sorts can be used to categorize words based on common components. Words used in this intervention should have common sound or spelling patterns and should match a student’s instructional level. For sound word sorts, picture cards are used and the words are verbally stated. For spelling word sorts, word cards are used and the words are read by the student.

    EBI Brief for Word Sorts