Oxton House Publishers, LLC


RTI and Tiered Instruction – A One-Page Primer

What is RTI?

RTI stands for “Responsiveness to Intervention” or, more simply, “Response to Intervention.” It is an approach designed to help at-risk students get the instruction they need in a timely, effective way.

What is an “at-risk” student?

Students for whom normal classroom instruction is not effective are considered at risk for academic failure.

How does RTI work?

Starting early in kindergarten, all students are assessed several times a year with tools carefully designed to measure their readiness for and progress in the basic literacy and math skills they are being taught. The students who appear to be at risk receive additional instruction and assistance (intervention) in their regular classrooms, using research-based tools that have been proven effective in helping students with at-risk tendencies to learn those skills. Students who respond well to that intervention continue to receive it in that setting until their assessments show that it is no longer necessary. Students who do not respond to this in-class intervention are then given additional remedial help outside of the regular classroom setting, in resource rooms or the like.

Why is RTI better?

The traditional assessment practices in most schools do not identify at-risk students until the end of second grade or later. By that time, many of those students have fallen so far behind that their future education is seriously compromised. Many such students end up in special education programs for the remainder of their basic schooling. By starting the assessment and intervention as early as kindergarten, RTI’s pro-active approach helps remedy many problems in time for the student to keep pace and even flourish in the standard curriculum. By organizing the instructional models into three (sometimes four) distinct tiers based on student needs, more students receive better instruction in a more timely way. This is what “Tiered Instruction” means.

How do Oxton House publications fit in with RTI?

Dr. Phyllis Fischer’s Concept Phonics reading-decoding program and her related automaticity and fluency materials are ideal for students at risk for reading failure in the early grades. They are research-based, classroom-tested materials that can be tailored to individual student needs. Classroom teachers love the flexibility of Concept Phonics and its emphasis on automaticity at every step. Students love it because they see their progress all along the way.  Dr. Fischer’s Speed Drills for Arithmetic Facts and Making Handwriting Flow are also ideal intervention tools.  Research has shown that their methods are effective, efficient ways to get students “up to speed” in these critically important basic skills.

Concept Phonics is a supplementary program for classroom or clinic that teaches systematically, logically, and efficiently the relationships among sounds, syllables, and spellings.  The inclusion of speed drills in the lessons is a unique but important feature that ensures children will develop automatic reading skills.”

Louisa Moats, Ed.D., Director,
NICHD Early Interventions Project


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