What RTI Intervention Activities Exist for Struggling Readers?


Reading is one of the most essential skills that people need to thrive. The more students are exposed to text, the easier reading becomes. Students should be reading on their independent and instructional level daily.

Decoding Interventions

Decoding interventions improve student’s ability to recognize letter-sound relationships. This includes letter patterns. Here are a few interventions to consider when a student needs help decoding words:

  • Teach phonics. Using a phonics curriculum is highly suggested since the intervention includes various components: letter sound recognition, blending words, practicing the rules of syllables, etc.
  • Use manipulatives to help teach letter-sound relationships.
  • Have students sort pictures and objects by the sound.
  • Help students understand “irregular” words that don’t follow typical sound patterns.
  • Create site-word lists by grade level. Practice reading the word lists with students. The goal is for students to be able to recognize the patterns and read the words alone.

Oral Reading Fluency Interventions

Repeated reading is the fastest way to help students improve their oral reading fluency. It requires a pre-assessment to identify a students independent and instructional reading level. In this intervention, a student would be timed when reading an independent or instructional level reading passage. The listener will watch the timer and check for any errors. Once the timer is over, the student is informed of their errors and can read one more time. This second round, the lister records the amount of words the student read correctly in the allotted time (typically one minute). The words correct per minute (WCPM) are recorded on a tracker, and the student is able to see their progress over time.

The intervention is occurring when the student is being prompted to read swiftly while being careful to pronounce words accurately. When the listener points out the errors a student has made within the reading, this gives the student the ability to hear the word and practice the word correctly. Additionally, recording the second reading as opposed to the first gives the student time to work with the passage and self-correct. Use this resource to help launch a repeated reading routine.

Comprehension Interventions  

A student’s ability to comprehend text is necessary in every subject area. There are interventions that can occur in all classes to ensure that a student is better able to grasp the material.

  • Teach key vocabulary. Use visuals to represent the words. This will prevent unknown and challenging words from impacting comprehension.
  • Show an image that supports the story to give context about what will happen. When a reader has a heads up of what the story is about, they are able to focus more intentionally on the words.
  • Have high-interest, low-level texts available for struggling readers. If students are excited about their independent books, they will read more. The more they read on their independent level, the more prepared they are to access more challenging texts.
  • Stop and jot key events happening in the text while reading. This will teach students to take breaks to think about what they have learned so far. And, it creates a list of events for students to review if they forget what happened in a specific section of the text.
  • Have students re-read a specific part of the text and act it out with a partner or group. Putting the text in motion will allow the student to use their own body and words to show and feel what the text is about. This will make it harder for a student to forget what happened.
  • Use computer programs that allow students to read short books and answer comprehension questions. The more students practice the skill, the better they will become at comprehending.
  • Have students draw pictures to summarize what they learned in the text. This ensures that students don’t get lost in trying to find the right words to explain what they may be able to visually remember about the story.

Check out our Six Steps RTI Teams Should Take Before Starting a Reading Intervention


Reading is one of the most essential skills that people need to thrive. The more students are exposed to text, the easier reading becomes. Students should be reading on their independent and instructional level daily. Having healthy reading routines at school and at home will support struggling readers. If sufficient growth isn’t happening, the RTI team and the parent will need to reassess the intervention plan and make improvements. If interventions continue to be unsuccessful, an evaluation should occur to determine if the student may have a speech or reading disability. This evaluation will clarify various services and strategies that can support the student’s growth.

Here at Kickboard, we have helped schools develop and improve Behavior Response to Intervention systems using our mobile app, web platform and professional development services. Subscribe to our blog to learn more about how to develop RTI processes and run efficient meetings that promote student growth.