Learning how to teach is difficult. Teachers go to school to learn different strategies that can be used within the classroom to help a variety of student needs. However, in the classroom, there will be students who more help with certain areas more than others. Those students could be assessed on numerous scales but the screening that is most effective for teachers is Response to intervention (RTI). Being screened within the three tiers will help teachers know and understand how to implement different strategies in all content areas to help students learn and comprehend the learning material.
Overview” RTI is referred to as the response to intervention. According to Lenski, (2011), It is based on the theory that struggling readers have not had enough opportunities for learning. RTI is designed to allow students more than one opportunity to learn before trying to test them to be in special education. There are three tiers to RTI. According to Lenski, (2011) The first tier focuses on the ability to provide classroom instruction to all students. Tier one is the beginning of the RTI process. It can vary in instruction by using a core reading program such as basal or on literature itself.
Lenski, (2011) states that when students who are in tier one are non-responsive to classroom instruction a gap has been made and those specific students move on to the second tier. Tier two consists of instruction that is targeted with an intervention that is based on the students’ needs in the classroom (Lenski, 2011). Students who show growth, move on to tier three which is basic one-one instruction. Students’ progress is monitored during tier three instruction and if they do not respond, they will be identified as acquiring a learning disability (Lenski, 2011).
Teachers can use formative assessments to determine students’ content knowledge so that he or she can change their instructional strategy if needed. In tier one instruction, teachers need to focus on literacy in their teaching rather than teaching the basic reading skills (Lenski, 2011). Lenski (2011) mentions that Shanahan, Shanahan, and Misischia (2006) states that they were the first to research the idea that teachers need to use literacy and apply it into content area classrooms.
In the article Lenski (2011), also states that English teachers need to focus on how to implement literary devices to interpret text complex fictional texts; mathematics teachers show students how to accurately read texts; science teachers demonstrate how to use information from one form to another; history teachers should show how to analyze evidence sources in a text. It is important to realize that literacy can be taught in all subject areas, not just in the English Language arts class.
In tier one, teachers should be providing students with many opportunities to read texts in different content areas. According to Lenski (2011), giving as many opportunities to read is important because it activates and increases prior knowledge, which in turns allows students to comprehend the texts more accurately. Another way Lenski (2011), states in her article about effective tier one instruction is to differentiate the reading materials in the classroom. When differentiating the reading materials, the students’ and teachers can assess where they are on their reading levels.
The reading materials should challenge the students to see if they are able to read and comprehend the text. If the reading assessment levels are extremely low, the student may need move on to tier two instruction. According to Lenski (2011), most RTI frameworks can screen students to see if they need to be placed in tier two instruction. It is important for students to be assessed to see if they need tier two information early so that they can receive the intervention help as soon as possible.
It is important for teachers to use literacy programs such as EasyCBM and AimsWeb to aid students in assessments for vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency (Lenski, 2011). Lenski (2011), suggests that effective tier one instruction, content area teachers should be able to be a part of the identification process for students who need tier two intervention. Teachers should be able to assess and suggest that students need tier two intervention based upon their difficulty reading the content material (Lenski, 2011).
Teachers can use an assessment called Cloze procedure, which is where parts of the text are missing to see if the student can fill in missing words so that the teacher can assess if he or she can comprehend the text (Lenski, 2011). Lenski (2011) states, that there are three types of tier two interventions used in the schools: classes who use purchased programs, instructions that address individual reading needs and strategy instruction. Strategy instruction as intervention is when teachers teach students specific vocabulary and comprehension strategies (Lenski, 2011).
It is stated in the article that Lenski taught students how to make inferences, how to take notes and strategies for remembering information and applying it to other areas, this is considered as Strategy instruction as an intervention (Lenski, 2011). It is important for teachers to use this strategy so that they can help students who are in the tier two intervention stage. Lenski (2011), states that content area teachers need to communicate with tier two teachers about topics they will be teaching and the expectations for the students.
It is extremely important to have a tier two teacher on hand so that the content area teacher has someone to look to when they need help teaching and assessing a student on the tier two intervention level. “Critique” When I think of Response to intervention, I think of a child who may have a learning disability. I have only seen RTI used for students who have learning disabilities. When I was in my special education practicum, the teacher would tell me who in her small group was in an RTI program. She mentioned that several students in the special education classroom were in tier two and have been for several months.
In that school, the screening process took a very long time. The teacher also stated that just because the students in her classroom were in various tiers, those students did not have a learning disability. The students who were not diagnosed with a learning disability struggled with reading comprehension. However, there were a couple of students who were still in the screening process that was being tested for learning disabilities but had not been formally diagnosed till a couple of months before the school year ended.
By reading this article one of the takeaways I had was that just because a student could be placed in one of the three tiers, does not mean that the reason they are struggling is because of a learning disability. Upon reading this article I did not completely understand the three different tiers in the Response to intervention and strategies that I could use to help those students who have been placed in the first or second tier. I learned that tier one focuses on providing classroom reading instruction in content areas for all students.
I also realized that the instruction could be in the form the core reading program, in literature, or a combination of both (Lenski, 2011). I do like the fact that Lenski (2011), mentioned that when there is a gap where the students are unresponsive those students are eligible for tier two instruction. As a teacher, I did not realize that I could suggest those students be screened for tier 2 intervention eligibility. I also thought the strategies Lenski (2011), mentioned such as increasing opportunities to read content area text and differentiating the reading materials were great ways to implement tier one interventions.
Basically, we are already helping students who are eligible for tier one intervention by differentiating our instructions and materials during a lesson. I also learned that tier two intervention consists of instruction that is targeted with an intervention program in place that meets students’ specific needs in the classroom. In tier two literacy intervention there are three types of interventions that can be implemented such as using a purchased program, instruction that addresses the individual learning needs and strategy instruction (Lenski, 2011).
Learning about strategy instruction as the intervention was interesting. I learned that strategy instruction is teaching students specific vocabulary and comprehension strategies. Reading strategies that can benefit students who are tier two intervention are teaching students to use text features, about text structures, how to take notes and learning how to remember information that can be applied in later areas (Lenski, 2011) It is important that teachers know how to teach and model these strategies in the classroom so that students who are on RTI levels can benefit and succeed in content areas.
In conclusion, teaching students who are screened and place on the different tiers of RTI can be a daunting task. However, if teachers learn how to use the different strategies then the students who are on the tiers will benefit in the content areas. It is also important that content area teachers consult a tier two teacher so that they can share strategies and learning goals for the students who need the intervention. The overall goal in response to intervention is for teachers to help students who are placed in the tiers to the best of their abilities so that they can succeed in the classroom.