This is intended to provide parents/guardians, families and others with a basic review and understanding of Response to Intervention. Response to Intervention (RtI) was developed to prevent academic failure for students who are having trouble learning. RtI provides early intervention to prevent early difficulties, especially in the area of reading and literacy, from becoming large and insurmountable.



You should also contact your childs school if you have questions regarding the intervention(s) that your child is receiving.




What is Response to Intervention?


Response to Intervention is a process that aims to prevent learning difficulties in students. RtI focuses on the early prevention of academic difficulty, particularly in the areas of reading and math by:

        ensuring appropriate instruction for all students

        monitoring students progress

        providing additional levels of instructional assistance (intervention) for students who require support


As a result of this preventative approach, RtI may reduce the number of students who are not successful academically by offering support before they experience significant learning difficulties or fall behind their peers.



What are the steps in RtI?


  1. Screening is conducted for all students


Screening is a type of quick test that measures a students skills or behaviors. Screening will help schools identify students who are considered at-risk of not learning the necessary skills expected for the students age or grade level. School wide screening is an important part of RtI because it identifies students who need extra help early before a pattern of failure occurs. In kindergarten through sixth grade, screening will occur three times each school year. If the school recommends that your child receive extra help based on screening results, you will be notified.


2. All students receive appropriate instruction


RtI is a multi-tiered model which provides different levels, or tiers, of instruction to meet the needs of all students. Tier 1, provided by the classroom teacher, is the instruction and curriculum provided to all students in the general education class.


A response to intervention program begins with assuring that all students are receiving appropriate instruction provided by qualified teachers. Appropriate instruction means that the methods and materials a teacher uses are based on research which shows that most students will be successful if taught in this manner. Since students learn in different ways, it is also important for teachers to use a variety of effective methods and materials to meet the needs of all students in their class. You may want to discuss with your childs teacher the type of reading instruction provided in the class. This should include instruction in the essential elements of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency, and reading comprehension.



Tiers of Intervention


  • Tier 1 Core Instruction the instruction provided to all students in a particular grade, based on high quality, research based curriculum and instruction.
  • Tier 2 Targeted Intervention more intensive instruction provided to students who fall below expected learning for their age or grade, and who need extra help to catch up. This specialized help supports the general education services in Tier 1.
  • Tier 3 Intensive Intervention intensive, focused supports provided to students who are not making adequate progress despite support provided in Tiers 1 and 2. In some instances, this support could be provided as a special education service.


Essential Elements of Reading


  • Phonemic Awareness - The ability to distinguish and manipulate the individual sounds of language.
  • Phonics The ability to understand how letters are linked to sounds and patterns of letter-sound connections and how to use this skill when they read.
  • Fluency - The ability to read orally with speed, accuracy, and vocal expression.
  • Vocabulary - Readers understands the word if it is in the reader's spoken vocabulary.
  • Comprehension The ability to understand the written words.





3. Students in need of additional instructional support, based upon screening, receive targeted assistance (Tier 2 or 3), often in a smaller group setting. (Targeted assistance may be viewed as instruction tailored to an individual students needs)


In the RtI model, if your child is experiencing difficulty in progressing as expected, increasing levels of support (Tiers) are provided to help the student reach grade level or state standards.


This additional support, also called Tier 2, could mean that your child may be:

        Taught in a smaller group.

        Receive additional instruction time

        Taught using various instructional methods to work on specific skills


The additional instruction may be provided by a reading teacher or other support staff. During this time, your child will be closely monitored to see if the extra help is meeting his/her needs.


For those students who are still not progressing, Tier 3 instruction may be provided. This additional individual help may be more frequent or for a longer period of time.


If you child is receiving a Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention, he/she will also continue to receive core instruction.







  1. Who determines the level of support (Tiers 1, 2,3) for each student?



If your child is identified as needing extra help, a school team will meet to review information from your childs classroom work, screenings, state and district-wide assessments and information from parents/guardians. The team will recommend what type of extra instruction your child needs and how often and for how long the extra help will be provided. They will also decide on how often your child will be tested to determine if he/she is responding to this additional help. This process is called progress monitoring.



5. What is progress monitoring?


It is important for the classroom teacher, and others persons who may be providing additional support to students, to know whether the intervention is working. How often a childs progress should be monitored will vary by the individual childs needs. In many cases, schools will monitor individual student progress once every other week or as frequently as every week. The school will chart the students progress on a graph so that it is easy to see if progress is being made. This will help everyone, including parents/guardians and family members, to identify the gap between how the student is performing and what is expected of other students of the same age or grade.



Progress monitoring also helps school staff know if the extra help needs to be changed, increased or, in the best case, decreased.


Schools will make progress monitoring information available to the parents/guardians of the student receiving the extra assistance. Progress monitoring results will be reviewed and discussed regularly by teachers and parents/guardians so that everyone who has an interest in the student knows what the expectations are for the future.


  1. What can parents/guardians do to be involved in the RtI process?


Many students who are receiving extra help through one of the tiers of intervention will make good progress in reaching age or grade level standards. In this case, parents/guardians should continue to work with their school and their childs teacher to ensure that the progress continues. Teachers may ask you to assist in continuing your childs progress in a number of ways. They may ask that you read to your child, have him or her read to you and engage in other activities that promote positive growth in skills.

There may be a small percentage of students who do not make the expected progress and may need to be considered for special education support. In this case, the school will seek your permission to further evaluate your child to see if there are other reasons for the lack of progress. The school will seek your consent to conduct this formal evaluation. The information gathered through progress monitoring will be very helpful in this evaluation. If your child is considered for special education, more assessments of your child will be conducted by the school to determine what additional help your child might need, including help from a special education teacher.

If, at any time, you as a parent/guardian, think that your child has a need for special education services, you have the right to make a formal request to the school to have your child evaluated. This is your right that is protected by federal law. You can make that referral through the building principal who will help you with this process.


One of the great benefits and strengths of the RtI process is the collaboration among professionals and parents/guardians. Working together as a team, the goal is better performance for students before there are significant academic, behavioral or social problems. This approach makes school staff and parents/guardians share the responsibility for all students. Providing early appropriate instructional support has a long-term positive effect on all students, especially those who may be struggling. Instead of waiting for failures to occur, a focus on prevention and early intervention for students in need puts the energy of the school and parents/guardians where it can have the most beneficial effect: early in the educational process.