RTI/SST Newsletter

January 2016

Welcome Back!

Happy 2016! Looking forward to another exciting year at Sarah Smith. In this issue, you will find some helpful guidelines for retention, information regarding dyslexia, and more useful intervention and progress monitoring tools. If you are doing something exciting in your classroom, or there is something you'd like more information on, please let me know!

Holly Brookins


Dyslexia: Facts and Figures

Taken from a brochure done by the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity


What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is defined by an unexpected difficulty in reading. Dyslexia takes away an individual's ability to read quickly and automatically, and to retrieve spoken words easily, but it does not diminish their intelligence, nor dampen their creativity and ingenuity.

How many people does dyslexia affect?

1 in 5 people have dyslexia. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, accounting for about 85% of all learning disabilities. It crosses racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines.

You may be dyslexic if you...

...read slowly and with much effort

...are often the one to solve the problem

...can't spell; have messy handwriting

...have trouble remembering dates and names

...think out of the box, grasp the big picture

...have difficulty retrieving and pronouncing spoken words

...have excellent vocabulary and ideas

Please note: these are only a handful of the signs of dyslexia. Visit www.dyslexia.yale.edu or read Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr. Sally Shaywitz (see Book Nook below) for a complete list

An index of successful people with dyslexia:


One student's journey with dyslexia:


Cute idea!

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Intervention for Non-Working Students

Do you have students struggling to complete their work? Try the "Dot Intervention"!

Dots Intervention for Non Working Students

(Dr. Ginger Gates’ research)

After first trying a point card without success, you can try the Dot Intervention. Some students do not respond to a point card for initiation of work. For some children nothing is as reinforcing as not working. The Dot Intervention rewards working with not working.

Materials: Sticky Dots- cut out individually

Program: Tell the student “if you do one problem correctly I will give you a dot to cover up any other problem you choose and you don’t have to do it”. “Once you are done with a problem, raise your hand and I will give you a dot”. (Teacher does not mark off problem, the child chooses. Just hand them the dot). Make sure they know that the problem has to be correct for a dot- but be flexible. Very gradually increase number of problems for a dot. Be careful since children will shut down at this stage pretty easily!

Week 1: 1 problem = 1 dot

Week 2: 2 problems = 1 dot

Week 3: 4 problems = 1 dot (caution, don’t give an entire row for a dot or they’ll give up) Week 4: 4 problems = ½ dot (Don’t increase problems to 5 for 1 dot or they’ll give up) Week 5: 4 problems = ½ dot (Don’t increase problems to 5 for 1 dot or they’ll give up) Week 6: 4 problems = ¼ dot

You can vary this if you have less than 8 problems on a work sheet… just be careful in the number of problems you require for a dot. Better to cut dots up than require more problems for a whole dot. Also, if you have a writing assignment you can apply this by asking them to write a number of sentences. Number them on the paper and then they place dots starting on the bottom. For instance, you want 10 sentences; you number the paper 1-10. They place their 1st dot on #10, their 2nd dot on #9, etc.

Retention Guidelines

If you are considering retaining a student, please let me know as soon as possible, if you haven't already. The student must be in the RTI process unless it is a parent request for a K student. There are guidelines in place for retaining ESOL students. Please refer to this link for more information if you are considering retention.


Reading Fluency Intervention: Paired Reading

Taken from www.interventioncentral.org

Paired Reading

The student reads aloud in tandem with an accomplished reader. At a student signal, the helping reader stops reading, while the student continues on. When the student commits a reading error, the helping reader resumes reading in tandem.


  • Reading book


  • The teacher, parent, adult tutor, or peer tutor working with the student should be trained in advance to use the paired-reading approach.

Steps in Implementing This Intervention:

Step 1: Sit with the student in a quiet location without too many distractions. Position the book selected for the reading session so that both you and the student can easily follow the text.

Step 2: Say to the student, "Now we are going to read aloud together for a little while. Whenever you want to read alone, just tap the back of my hand like this [demonstrate] and I will stop reading. If you come to a word you don't know, I will tell you the word and begin reading with you again.".

Step 3: Begin reading aloud with the student. If the student misreads a word, point to the word and pronounce it. Then have the student repeat the word. When the student reads the word correctly, resume reading through the passage.

Step 4: When the child delivers the appropriate signal (a hand tap), stop reading aloud and instead follow along silently as the student continues with oral reading. Be sure occasionally to praise the student in specific terms for good reading (e.g., "That was a hard word. You did a nice job sounding it out!").

Step 5: If, while reading alone, the child either commits a reading error or hesitates for longer than 5 seconds, point to the error-word and pronounce it. Then tell the student to say the word. When the student pronounces the error-word correctly, begin reading aloud again in unison with the student.

Step 6: Continue reading aloud with the student until he or she again signals to read alone.


  • Topping, K. (1987). Paired reading: A powerful technique for parent use. Reading Teacher, 40, 608-614.

Jim's Hints

Consider Using Paired Reading for Peer Tutoring or as a Parent Strategy. Paired reading is a highly structured but simple strategy that can easily be taught to others-including to school-age children and youth. If you have a pool of responsible older students available you may want to create a cross-age peer tutoring program that uses paired reading as its central intervention. Or train parents to use this simple reading strategy when they read with their children at home.

Book Nook: Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr. Sally Shaywitz

I am currently reading this book. It is a fabulous read if you want to understand what dyslexia is all about! We are in the process of trying to order a copy for each campus. This book is recommended by Brenda Fitzgerald, who is doing our Literacy training. It is also available on your electronic device.