You Can’t Build on a Weak Foundation!

Before exploring RTI in further detail, I want to make sure that each of you understand that state’s, district’s and school’s Response to Instruction frameworks vary.  I have experienced states and districts with extremely strict and time-consuming frameworks and districts with informal frameworks.  Both experiences have provided me with knowledge on best practices for RTI and an understanding of components that are vital for reaping the most growth from interventions. Please use this and future blog postings to inform you on a variety of educational topics (most chosen by you). I hope information provided supports you to be a reflective and responsive educator.

If you have information to share to further our knowledge, feedback on information or questions feel free to comment on any posting.


A home builder cannot build on a weak foundation. Similarly, a teacher cannot build on students’ foundational skills when they are weak. As part of Response to Instruction, educators identify at-risk students using universal screeners. Interventions provide instruction to strengthen the foundational skills of students.

What is an Intervention?

Defining the term intervention is simple. An intervention is a set of researched-based procedures designed to teach specific skill(s).

Is there a Difference Between Accommodations, Modifications and Interventions?


Accommodations are adjustments made to instruction that enable students to complete activities/assignments at the same expectation as other students. Accommodations do not change the elements of activities/assignments. Examples: extended time, individual or small group, preferential seating, typing instead of manual writing.

Modifications are changes made to the elements of knowledge expectations in activities/assignments. Examples: simplifying curriculum with lower reading levels and vocabulary, reducing the amount of outcomes to master, assignments are changed by lowing readability, worksheets and accessible vocabulary.

Examples of interventions for various skills and grade levels:

General Academic Interventions

Comprehension Interventions (scroll to bottom of linked page)

Various Literacy Interventions Gr. 2-3

Various Literacy Interventions Gr. 4-5

Comprehension Interventions #2

Vocabulary Interventions

Fluency Interventions 

Modifications and Accommodations:

K-4 Modification Checklist

5-8 Modification Checklist

Accommodations, Modifications (in-depth explanations with examples)

Professional Books on Interventions:

Click on the book to linked information.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photophoto 4

(Each one of the above texts are available in my office.)

Of course, many publishing companies have their own boxed intervention programs for purchase. For example, Linda Mood Bell (LIPS, Seeing Stars, Visualizing and Verbalizing), SRA Corrective Reading (comprehension and Decoding), READ 180, etc.  These boxed programs tend to be more intensive and time-consuming.

Researched-based instructional frameworks, such as guided reading, can be considered an intervention. This can occur when instruction is above and beyond the core instruction. For example, a teacher meets with guided reading group A (her lowest achieving group) 5 days a week for 20 minutes. This is her school’s minimum expectation for guided reading. She increase the time to 30 minutes, 5 times a week.  This would mean group A receives 50 minutes more of a guided reading intervention each week.

Defining and locating an intervention is easy. To implement an intervention so it constitutes as an intervention (an intervention that accelerates growth) is not as simple! In the next posting, I will explore what are the important components to an implemented intervention.


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