Teaching Tip 6 Podcast Presentation

Struggling 1st Grade readers and the efficacy of Resp. Inter

Dr. Jennifer Gilbert

Research associate in the department of Special Education and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Quantitative Services Educational Director. Earned her Ph.D. in Special Education from Vanderbilt University. Interests include helping other researchers manage, analyze, and interpret behavioral data, particularly in the area of reading. Current work is focused on individual differences in word reading, orthographic knowledge, and reading comprehension.

Dr. Don (Donald) Compton

Professor and chair of Special Education and a John F. Kennedy Center Investigator at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. Earned his Ph.D. from Northwestern University's School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Was accepted a NICHD post-doctoral research fellowship at the Institute for Behavior Genetics, University of Colorado. Experienced in designing, managing, analyzing, and disseminating data from cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Research involves modeling individual differences in the development of children's reading skills and the identification of children with reading disabilities.

The Research

Their research involves first graders, struggling readers, and response to interventions commonly referred to as RTI.


What is RTI?

Response to Intervention, multi-tiered approach to help struggling learners. Students' progress is closely monitored at each stage of intervention to determine the need for further research-based instruction and/or intervention in general education, in special education, or both.

Tier 1: High-Quality Classroom Instruction, Screening, and Group Interventions

  • Students receive high-quality instructions, all students are screened (probes) on a periodic basis to establish an academic and behavioral baseline and to identify struggling learners who need additional support. Students identified as being "at risk" through screening receive supplemental instruction during the school day in a regular classroom. This lasts for 8 weeks, during this time student progress is closely monitored. At the end of the 8 weeks, if student shows significant progress are generally returned to the regular classroom program. Students not showing adequate progress are moved to Tier 2.

Tier 2: Targeted Interventions

  • Students are provided with increasingly intensive instruction to match their needs. Services and interventions are provided in small-group settings in addition to instruction in the general curriculum. Students who continue to show little progress are then considered for more intensive interventions in Tier 3.

Tier 3: Intensive Interventions and Comprehensive Evaluation

  • Students receive individualized, intensive interventions that target the students' skill deficits. Students who do not achieve the desired level of progress are then reffered for a comprehensive evaluation and considered for eligibility for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.

Gilbert and Compton's Study

Their study is a response intervention model to observe students in the general education classroom. Give the students a series of short tasks that will give Gilbert and Compton an idea of the risks benefits the students face with struggling readers. Then observing the students again in the general education classroom.

If a student is unresponsive in the general education classroom then Gilbert and Compton believe that that student should receive tutoring that is very well structured in groups, 3-5 times a week. This will give the student basic skills to improve basic literacy and reading skills.

Observing and watching how the student responds to the interventions, if there is still unresponsiveness then the tutoring turns into one-on-one tutoring, maybe 5 times a week (increase in intensity). This would then give exactly what the student needs.

The idea of this is to slowly portray the amount of intervention an individual student needs in order to be successful. When students have become successful they can then move back into the general education classroom and will be able to understand the instruction and can benefit from it.

What to tell People?

  1. Teachers- to think about the system (RTI) differentiates types of instruction based on student needs. Students with the most reading problems, need the most intense interventions, by the best-trained reading instructors. Lastly, inform teachers/educators that this study/research does not question what can be done to early benefit students through early interventions.
  2. Parents/Home School- preferred that RTI be provided and instructed by trained people over early literacy skills. Home schooling parents may not be able to get this training. (things to look into)
  3. Principals-to support and train people over early literacy skills
  4. Policy Makers- to be hesitant because there are other studies out there but early intervention is best and RTI is a reality in schools today. To support this study and to make it a priority to look into it.
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