Response To Intervention

A guide for parents

What is Response to Intervention?

Response to Intervention, or RTI, is an educational approach designed to help all learners to succeed, through a combination of high-quality instruction, early identification of struggling students, and responsive, targeted evidence-based interventions to address specific learning needs. RTI uses ongoing progress monitoring and data collection to facilitate data-based decision making. In addition, implementation of RTI will assist in the correct identification of learning or other disorders.
Photo copied from

How does RTI work?

It operates on a 3-tiered framework of interventions at increasing levels of intensity. The process begins with high-quality core instruction in the general education classroom. Teachers use a variety of instructional methods to maximize student engagement and learning: modeling of skills, small group instruction, guided practice, independent practice, to name a few.

Through universal screening methods, struggling learners are identified and are given more intense instruction and interventions that are more targeted to individual needs. By giving frequent assessments and analyzing data, teachers make decisions about what levels of intervention will best support student achievement.

What are the Tiers?

  • Tier I: High quality, research-based core instruction in the general education classroom. All students are given universal screening assessments to ensure that they are progressing and are learning essential skills.
  • Tier II: More intensive, targeted instruction, matched to student needs, is delivered to students who are not making adequate progress in Tier I; they often receive instruction in small groups. They receive progress monitoring weekly, and teachers regularly evaluate data to assess whether students are making progress or need different or more intense intervention.
  • Tier III: The most intensive, individualized level of intervention. Students who have not responded to Tier II intervention receive daily, small group or one-on-one instruction. Students in this level often are already receiving special education services, or are referred for further evaluation for special education.
Graphic copied from

How will parents know if their children are making progress?

An essential element of RTI is ongoing communication between teachers and parents. As parents, you are kept involved and informed of the process every step of the way, beginning with notification that your child has been identified as struggling in one or more areas and will receive more intensive intervention. If your child receives more targeted instruction in Tier II or Tier III, he or she will be progress monitored frequently. Teachers will share progress monitoring data with you regularly through meetings, phone calls, or emails, as well as progress reports sent home showing assessment data.

How can parents support their children's learning at home?

As parents, you have numerous opportunities to extend your child's classroom instruction to home and other environments. You can support their reading simply by making a variety of literature available to them and in different formats. Here are some websites with ideas for parents to foster literacy at home:


  • You can support acquisition of math skills by giving your children opportunities to apply their skills learned in school to real-life situations at home and in the community. Children should be encouraged to practice skills whenever possible so that they can make connections from the classroom to everyday activities. Here are some websites with fun activities designed to reinforce basic math skills:

  • How can I learn more about RTI?

    Here are some websites that will give you more information on the background and components of RTI, as well as examples of interventions that are being used in schools:


    Brown-Chidsey, R., Bronaugh, L. & McGraw, K. (2009). RTI in the classroom. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.