Best Research Based Ways to Target Comprehension, Decoding, Vocabulary, Fluency

a277bae433b70fbc08910b1156fd859fVisit:  What Works Clearinghouse which includes the very LATEST BEST PRACTICES based on research!  Research is important

Must see website:  The site discusses 5 Big Ideas in Beginning Reading, which are Phonemic Awareness, Alphabetic Principle, Fluency with Text, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.  Click on the links within the site for valuable charts and information.

The National Reading Panel states that the best approach to reading instruction must incorporate:

  • Explicit instruction in phonemic awareness
  • Systematic phonics instruction
  • Methods to improve fluency
  • Ways to enhance comprehension

The Panel found that a combination of techniques is effective for teaching children to read:


  • Phonemic awareness—the knowledge that spoken words can be broken apart into smaller segments of sound known as phonemes. Children who are read to at home—especially material that rhymes—often develop the basis of phonemic awareness. Children who are not read to will probably need to be taught that words can be broken apart into smaller sounds.
  • Phonics—the knowledge that letters of the alphabet represent phonemes, and that these sounds are blended together to form written words. Readers who are skilled in phonics can sound out words they haven’t seen before, without first having to memorize them.
  • Fluency—the ability to recognize words easily, read with greater speed, accuracy, and expression, and to better understand what is read. Children gain fluency by practicing reading until the process becomes automatic; guided oral repeated reading is one approach to helping children become fluent readers.
  • Guided oral reading—reading out loud while getting guidance and feedback from skilled readers. The combination of practice and feedback promotes reading fluency.
  • Teaching vocabulary words—teaching new words, either as they appear in text, or by introducing new words separately. This type of instruction also aids reading ability.

Reading comprehension strategies—techniques for helping individuals to understand what they read. Such techniques involve having students summarize what they’ve read, to gain a better understanding of the material.

Read more at:

As teachers (and parents) we should be following the GRADUAL RELEASE OF RESPONSIBILITY MODEL found here: and DIFFERENTIATE instruction:


Harris and Hodges (1995) defined a reading comprehension strategy as “a systematic sequence of steps for understanding text” (p. 39).

  • Pearson, Roehler, Dole, and Duffy (1992) stated that “strategies emphasize conscious plans under the control of the reader” (p. 169).
  • To implement these plans, students must have a good understanding of how strategies work and when to use them.  
  • Explicitly taught lessons are “clear, accurate, and rich in example and demonstration” (p. 87).
  • Students receive many opportunities to practice a comprehension strategy, with teacher guidance and using many texts, until they have a good understanding of how to use and apply the strategy (Block & Parris, 2008; Block & Pressley, 2002; Calfee & Patrick, 1995).
  • Such teaching includes explicit feedback, independent practice, and weekly and monthly reviews (Ellis & Worthington, 1994).
  • Explicit teaching also means teaching comprehension strategies one at a time (Keene & Zimmermann, 1997; NICHD, 2000) to “acquaint students with a strategic process” (Pressley, 2002, p. 19).
  • Pressley (2006) explained that the aim, over time, is to teach “a small repertoire of strategies,” so readers can use them in a “self regulated fashion” (p. 17) to enhance comprehension.
  • The results of such instruction are “substantial improvements in student understanding of text” (Pressley, 2002, p. 12). 

The above in purple taken from:

Dymock, Susan, and Tom Nicholson. ““High 5!” Strategies to Enhance Comprehension of Expository Text.” The Reading Teacher 64.3 (2010): 166-78. Web.

Read these 3 Comprehension Intervention articles:

compintervention1    compintervention2     compintervention3


Comprehension ~ Although teachers assess strategy use, many aren’t teaching comprehension strategies directly.  Here are some research based ways to teach comprehension.


When a teacher actively uses reciprocal teaching in most readings required of students:

  • Reading levels increase one to two grade levels in three to six months (Oczkus, 2005; Spörer, Brunstein, & Kieschke, 2009).
  • English learners increase vocabulary knowledge and comprehension (García, Jensen, & Scribner, 2009).
  • Students who have disabilities show marked success with this strategy instruction (Alfassi, Weiss, & Lifshitz, 2009; Takala, 2006).
  • Struggling and disenchanted readers engage in reading (Goodman, 2005).
  • Advanced and gifted students increase knowledge level and comprehension (Ash, 2005).
  • An added benefit of making reciprocal teaching fun and hands-on is students’ enjoyment. They no longer dread reading but look forward to learning new information with their peers. They learn how to work collaboratively with classmates. They are engaged and become confident in their reading skills.

Palincsar and Brown (1986) created reciprocal teaching, which uses the four strategies ~ the Fab Four ~ of predicting, clarifying, questioning, and summarizing (to get the main idea) to increase comprehension.

  • With reciprocal teaching, students predict before reading and then check their predictions during reading. They stop to clarify unknown words or ideas during reading. They ask “teacher questions” during and after reading to check for understanding. And they summarize either a page or the entire text selection after reading.
  • Rather than questioning students about a text, a teacher would charge students to create their own questions.
  • Assign students one of the 4 roles!  Make the roles theatrical ~ by dressing up for each role, or create role puppets.  For example ~ Predicting Paul is a parrot who predicts. Clarifying Clarabelle is a cow who likes to chomp on words and ideas. Questioning Queen is a queen bee who loves to question her worker bees. Summarizing Sam is a snake who likes to wrap himself around important information. Whether using characters or puppets, remember that your goal is to not implement the Fab Four yourself, but to teach students how to use the strategies!

Teachers have three primary responsibilities during a reciprocal teaching session:

1. Before reading, activate prior knowledge of words or ideas students will encounter during reading.

2. During reading, monitor, guide, and encourage individuals or groups in their use of the Fab Four.

3. After reading, encourage student reflection and ask students to share which strategy helped them the most and why. This last part is critical to the overall success of reciprocal teaching.

  • Metacognitive thinking is an important tool that gives students insight into their learning styles and allows them to reflect on which tools help them gain the most understanding (Israel, Block, Bauserman, & Kinnucan-Welsch, 2005).
  • When introducing students to reciprocal teaching, it is crucial to make an impact. The goal is to have students remember the Fab Four, so they can use the strategies independently.
  • Use visuals to keep reminding students of the Fab Four as being the purpose for reading every day ~ to own these 4 skills!  Use charts (poster board in 4 sections), bookmarks (students make), paper plate dials (visual and tactile), props, sticky notes (students get 4 each, one for each of the Fab Four), sentence starters:  ■ Predicting—“I wonder…” or “I think that…” ■ Clarifying—“I was confused about…” or “I don’t understand…” ■ Questioning—“How…?” or “Why…?” ■ Summarizing—“The author wants us to know…” or “The big idea is… ■ A 5th post-it can be used for Metacognitive thinking—“What helped me most was…”
  • Reciprocal teaching involves lots of discussion amongst students. The following ideas may encourage students to open up and share their thoughts: ■ Partner sharing—“Turn to your partner and share your prediction.” ■ Response cards—“Hold up your smiley face card if you agree, your frown face card if you disagree.” ■ Face-to-face—Students form two lines and share their summaries with the person facing them (Oczkus, 2005). ■ Passing notes—“Write a note to your friend about a word or idea you do not understand.”

To Assess Comprehension after Using Reciprocal Teaching Numerous Times:  

  • Four Door Chart:  The Four Door Chart (Oczkus, 2005) is useful in determining students’ understanding and use of the Fab Four. To make the Four Door, have students 1. Fold both sides of a piece of construction paper toward the middle so they have a double door. 2. Cut a line across the middle of both doors to create four doors. 3. Label the doors using the Fab Four names. 4. Open the doors and record their work (predictions they have made, words they have clarified, questions they have asked and answered, and summaries they have written). 
  • Summarizing, or sequencing strips are useful in determining whether students are able to state the main idea and supporting details in the correct sequence. Organize students into groups. Assign each group member a different page or section of the text to summarize on a strip of paper. The group mixes up the completed summaries, reads them, puts them in chronological order, and glues them to a piece of construction paper to illustrate the correct sequence.
  • A “Clear” Summary (Oczkus, 2005) is useful in determining whether students are able to write a clear and concise summary. Organize the students into groups and give each group a transparency so each may summarize their reading in 25 words or less.
  • Question Booklets (Oczkus, 2005) are useful for determining the level of cognition occurring in students based on the types of questions (e.g., factual, inferential, critical, creative) they choose to write. Students write a question for each page they read as they preview the text. As students read, they answer their questions. Students also may trade booklets with their peers and answer someone else’s questions.
  • 1, 2, 3, 4 is similar to the Four Door Chart in that it is useful in determining students’ understanding and use of the Fab Four. To make 1, 2, 3, 4, give students two sheets of construction paper. Students fold the paper in layers and staple it so that four sections are visible. Ask students to write one prediction on the first fold, two words or ideas they don’t understand (and possible meanings) on the second, three questions and answers on the third, and a four-sentence summary on the last.


1. Decide how you will model the Fab Four strategies to your students (i.e., using dress up, puppets, and so on). Determine what manipulatives your students will use when it is their turn.

2. Gather props and materials for the modeling session and student practice session.

3. Explain to students why you are modeling the Fab Four, and activate prior knowledge about the topic to be studied.

4. After modeling, break students into groups of four and assign each a Fab Four job.

5. Monitor and guide students as they try out the Fab Four, changing jobs after each page.

6. After the reading is completed, bring the class together to discuss which of the Fab Four helped them most and why.

7. Reflect on the experience and consider what instructional improvements you can make. Decide how you will implement your next hands-on reciprocal teaching session.

All Reciprocal Teaching information from:

Stricklin, Kelley. “Hands-On Reciprocal Teaching: A Comprehension Technique.” The Reading Teacher 64.8 (2011): 620-25. Web.

The following 6 strategies can be started in KINDERGARTEN!  Read more about these strategies here:

ACTIVATING PRIOR KNOWLEDGE ~ Even as young as kindergarten, before you read, activate what they already know.  Making connections, visualizing, asking questions, and inferring will naturally flow from there.  

Providing a supportive book introduction ~ 
• Contagious excitement – Psych students up for each new book, introducing it in ways that connect with their interests and make them feel it will be fun to read on their own.
• Covering all the bases – “We must make students familiar with the story, the plot, unfamiliar phrases, unusual names, new words, and old words used in an unusual way,” say Lipp and Helfrich. “Reading Recovery teachers often ask questions that allow students to think beyond the text, making predictions, and creating suspense by not revealing up front the ending of the text.”  

“Key Reading Recovery Strategies to Support Classroom Guided Reading Instruction” by Jamie Lipp and Sara Helfrich in The Reading Teacher, May/June 2016 (Vol. 69, #6, p. 639-646).

Always define the strategy, provide a visual representation of its meaning, and ask students to use the strategy within the context of the story, through the use of anchor charts and hand signals. 

MAKING CONNECTIONS ~  “Velcro Theory.” Teach that when we get a new piece of information, it’s easier to remember it if we can stick it onto something that’s already in our heads; making this connection helps us to understand what we are reading.  As you read aloud, have children make connections by raising their hands in the shape of the letter C to indicate that they had a connection to share. Categorize these connections by using the think-aloud strategy.  Model text-to-self, text-to-text, or text-to-world connections. Through this categorization, students better understand ways in which to connect and make meaning with texts.

VISUALIZING ~ Visualization encourages students to make movies in their minds. Students should close their eyes when a story is being read aloud, and raise hands with V fingers to share their mind movie.  Have them draw their mind movies, and later compare those to the books’ illustrations!  Use poetry as poetry is shorter. Opportunities should be provided to discuss what was included in the pictures created by the students that helped them to understand and represent their understandings. Visualizing is an important strategy for students as they move from picture books to chapter books, and is especially important in today’s world where everyone is constantly bombarded with sophisticated graphics and little language (Keene & Zimmermann, 1997).

QUESTIONING ~ The questioning strategy involves children constantly asking questions of the text. To do this, children must be involved in creating and revising meaning based on the information provided by the text. An anchor chart with “Expert readers ask questions before, during, and after they read” should be provided.   Read aloud, and have children wiggle fingers when they have wonderings about the story.  Record questions on a chart.

INFERRING ~ This strategy uses all of the strategies.  Inference is created at the intersection of our schema, the author’s words on the page, and our mind’s ability to merge that information into a unique combination (Keene & Zimmermann, 1997).  Start by creating anchor charts at the beginning of the story with questions. After the story is read, discuss the questions and answer whether the question was explicitly answered in the text or if they needed to use their brains. Whenever we need to use our brains, we are making an inference. Presenting the inference process in this manner allows the children to work with the text concretely and make the inference process more tangible. Additionally, asking questions increases children’s ability and inclination to make inferences (Hansen, 1981). 

The above in red is taken from:  

Gregory, Anne E., and Mary Ann Cahill. “Kindergartners Can Do It, Too! Comprehension Strategies for Early Readers.” The Reading Teacher 63.6 (2010): 515-20. Web.

Prompting as students read the book individually  ~ New books introduced in guided reading should be at the edge of students’ instructional level, not too hard but not easy.

        • Minimal teacher talk – “Reading Recovery teachers are trained to know how to say enough without saying too much,” say Lipp and Helfrich. “Too much teacher talk can impede learning.” Brief, gentle interventions might include: Do this. What did you notice? Why did you stop? Think about what you know that might help.
        • The right prompts – “We must remain flexible with our prompting to ensure we are creating readers who skillfully integrate meaning, structure, and visual information to interpret texts,” say Lipp and Helfrich.
Observing and analyzing carefully:
        • Listening closely – “To prevent reading failure teachers must take time to observe what children are able to do,” said Marie Clay, the creator of Reading Recovery. This includes listening, chatting with children about a story, and using running records.
        • How does the reading sound? Are students putting words and phrases together so the reading flows? Are they spending too much time on word solving? When they slow down to figure out a difficult word, do they speed right up again?
        • Using strengths – “Building off readers’ strengths is a foundation piece of the Reading Recovery lesson,” say Lipp and Helfrich. Watch for things they are doing better and use those to support further learning.
        • Noting struggles – Are they making haphazard attempts at high-frequency words? Do they need more practice?
        • Interpreting a “told” word – When a student is stuck and the teacher has to tell a word, what caused the problem? Those words or patterns may need to be practiced.
        • Who is doing the work? “The hardest shift for teachers to make is to think about teaching as assisting the student’s problem solving,” said Lyons, Pinnell, and DeFord. “Reading Recovery teachers are taught to balance strategic teaching with high expectations of accountability for students,” say Lipp and Helfrich. “Reading, to most students, can appear like a puzzle in need of careful solving. Helping students to understand and gain control of the skills and strategies to do their own puzzle solving will decrease their dependence on you as the teacher for constant support… Make sure that you are not jumping in right away to rescue students each time they pause or falter.” When students are right, ask them, Were you right? When they’re wrong, ask, how do you know?

“Key Reading Recovery Strategies to Support Classroom Guided Reading Instruction” by Jamie Lipp and Sara Helfrich in The Reading Teacher, May/June 2016 (Vol. 69, #6, p. 639-646).


HIGH FIVE to enhance comprehension of expository text

Dymoch & Nicholson suggest only teaching 5 strategies.  They are:  (1) activating background knowledge (Brown, 2002; Calfee & Patrick, 1995; Pressley, 2002), (2) questioning (Block & Pressley, 2007; NICHD, 2000), (3) analyzing text structure (Block & Pressley, 2002; Calfee & Patrick, 1995; Dymock & Nicholson, 2007), (4) creating mental images (Pearson & Duke, 2002; Pressley 2002, 2006), and (5) summarizing (NICHD, 2000; Pressley & Block, 2002).

1.ACTIVATING BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE ~ Activating relevant background knowledge helps readers make connections between what they know and what they are reading.   If they don’t have the knowledge, provide it or have them research it.

2. QUESTIONING ~ Encouraging the reader to generate and answer questions before and during reading aids comprehension (Block & Parris, 2008; Block & Pressley, 2007; Dymock & Nicholson, 1999; NICHD, 2000). There are three types of questions the student can ask: right there, think and search, and beyond the text (Dymock & Nicholson, 1999; Raphael, 1982). A right there question about the text is factual, such as, What are the facts here? An example of a think and search question is, What does the writer want me to figure out based on the facts? A sample beyond the text question is, What is not being said here that I should check by doing some background research? Prior to reading, good readers also ask themselves questions that activate background knowledge. Good readers consider the text structure as well.  If the text is sequential, ask what will happen next?  If it is descriptive, what are the subtopics?

3.ANALYZING TEXT STRUCTURE ~ Meyer and Rice (1984) explained text structure as “how the ideas in a text are interrelated to convey a message to a reader” (p. 319). It involves the reader looking mentally for the text structure—looking at keywords, subheadings, and other text features that can reveal the structure the writer is using. Signal or cue words used by nonfiction writers send a signal to the reader as to the text structure the writer has followed. Inside the text, subheadings, labels, captions, tables, graphs, charts, maps, timelines, and figures assist readers in navigating expository text. Outside the text, indexes, tables of contents, and glossaries help identify the structure of expository text (Duke & Bennett-Armistead, 2003). Exposition has many types of structures, and some are complex. The use of design sketches to capture the structure helps hugely in terms of comprehension (Calfee & Patrick, 1995; Dymock, 2009; Dymock & Nicholson, 2007). Capturing the design of the text in the mind as soon as possible is part of text structure awareness. Teachers need to teach each type of expository text structure (e.g., cause–effect, description, problem–solution), so students can internalize all of the structures. Almost all of the expository texts that students read can be separated into two groups: texts that describe and texts that are affected by time (Calfee & Patrick, 1995). Elementary students encounter three descriptive and three sequential structures. 

Descriptive structures focus on the attributes of something, that is, the qualities that distinguish it from other things. For example, the writer may present the attributes of New York, glass, or rattlesnakes. The three descriptive patterns that readers encounter most frequently are list, web, and matrix (see Dymock and Nicholson [2007] for an in-depth discussion on these structures).

  • List. The simplest descriptive pattern is a list. This may be a grocery list, a list of countries that grow wheat, a list of goods and services sold by street merchants in India, or in science, the attributes of a kangaroo. 
  • Web. A web is a more complex structure than a list. This text structure is called a web because it looks like a spiderweb (Calfee & Patrick, 1995). A spiderweb has a center and a number of fine threads that form a network of lines. In a web, the attributes of an object are discussed. The attributes have a common link.  The important thing for the student to remember is that, like a list, a web describes one thing or idea, but the difference is that a web has categories.
  • Matrix. A matrix is more complex than either a list or a web. The difference between a matrix and a web or list is that a web or list describes just one thing, and a matrix describes more than one thing. It compares and contrasts two or more topics. For example, it could compare types of bears, volcanoes, bicycles, or crocodiles

Sequential structures present a series of events or steps that progress over time. 

  • String. A string is where a step-by-step description of events is given (e.g., sequence for baking cookies).
  • Cause–Effect. In the cause–effect text structure, two (or more) ideas or events interact with one another. One is the cause, and the other is an effect or result. For example, a text may cover the causes and effects of environmental disasters, such as an oil spill in the ocean. This pattern is common in history, science, and health publications.
  • Problem–Solution. In the problem–solution text structure, the writer states a problem or poses a question followed by a solution or answer in the text. There is a sequence in this kind of text: first the problems and then the solutions. 

4.VISUALIZING ~ Visualizing while reading helps so students can later make a diagram of it. Diagrams help students make the structure concrete. Students use different diagrams for different text structures. As students progress in reading, some skilled readers may continue to diagram the text, while others may visualize the structure in their minds. 

5.SUMMARIZING ~ A summary is concise and gives only the main points. Research shows that the ability to summarize a text can enhance comprehension. Block and Pressley (2003) defined summarize as “the ability to delete irrelevant details, combine similar ideas, condense main ideas, and connect major themes into concise statements that capture the purpose of a reading for the reader” (p. 117). Students can easily produce a summary if they use High 5! Strategy 3 ~ Analyzing Text Structure. First, read the text. Second, identify the text structure the writer has used. Third, make a diagram of the structure. Fourth, discard redundant information so that only the key ideas remain. Fifth, circle only the critical ideas that you need for the summary. Diagrams help readers summarize the main idea(s) orally, visually, or in writing (Dymock & Nicholson, 2010).

The above in purple taken from:

Dymock, Susan, and Tom Nicholson. ““High 5!” Strategies to Enhance Comprehension of Expository Text.” The Reading Teacher 64.3 (2010): 166-78. Web.

Check out PALS ~ Peer Assisted Learning Strategies ~ as another peer tutoring intervention.  It can be purchased: ~ You can purchase the program here!  It is very inexpensive!  ~ This site gives research on PALS.

Teachers determine which students need help on specific skills and which students can help teach those skills. Teachers then pair students in the class, so that partners work simultaneously and productively on different activities that address the problems they are experiencing.  Every student is on task.  Pairs are changed frequently and all students have the opportunity to be coaches and readers over time as students work on a variety of skills.  By creating pairs, individual needs are being met, instead of a single, teacher-directed lesson that may end up addressing the issues of only a few students. PALS is differentiating at its best! PALS also creates opportunities for teachers to circulate in the class, observe students, and provide individual remediation lessons. PALS is designed to be used in addition to the existing reading and math curriculum, 25 to 35 minutes, 2 to 4 times a week.  (Vanderbilt Kennedy Center).

Kindergarten PALS

  • 3-4x/week
  • 30 minute sessions
  • children practice letter-sound correspondence, decoding, phonological awareness, and sight words

1st Grade PALS

  • 3-4x/week
  • 35 minute sessions
  • emphasizes decoding and reading fluency, as well as retelling, summarizing, predicting, inferencing

2-6 Grade PALS 

  • 3x/week
  • 35 minute sessions
  • emphasizes decoding and reading fluency, as well as retelling, summarizing, predicting, inferencing

High School PALS is similar to grade 2-6 PALS but with more age-appropriate motivational and helping strategies.  It is done 5x every 2 weeks.

Students must be trained in the PALS procedures; these training lessons are in the teacher’s manuals. The lessons are scripted with wording that has been found to be successful in communicating what students must learn. An outline of the material covered in each lesson is also presented.   (Vanderbilt Kennedy Center).

Try this book:  Comprehension Intervention Small-Group Lessons for The Primary Comprehension Toolkit .


Read Naturally might be  resource to consider.

Sound Partners could be purchased.

Great Leaps could be purchased.

3 Fluency Intervention articles:

fluencyelementary      fluencymiddle        fluencyhighschool

Small-group interventions are practical and often more time efficient than individualized interventions aimed to address fluency. Over the past two decades, a substantial amount of research has been conducted in the area of reading. As a result, many reading researchers agree that the essential components of early elementary reading instruction should target phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary (Armbuster et al. 2001; National Reading Panel (NRP) 2000). Yet, in spite of the advances in knowledge about effective reading instruction, a large number of US students still experience great difficulties learning to read (Lee et al. 2007). In the area of reading fluency (commonly defined as a student’s ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression), a recent nationally representative study of 1,779 fourth-grade students suggests that 40% of US students are ‘‘nonfluent’’ readers (Daane et al. 2005). Other important findings from this study revealed a strong correlation between reading fluency and comprehension, as well as a strong correlation between reading fluency and students’ overall reading ability. Collectively, findings from Daane et al. reiterate the importance of reading fluency that was previously highlighted by other reading researchers (e.g., Fuchs et al. 2001) and suggest that almost half of US students would probably benefit from interventions aimed to improve their reading fluency. 

Focusing on fluency ~ Sara Helfrich (Ohio University/Athens) and Jamie Lipp (a former Reading Recovery teacher and currently a curriculum specialist and doctoral candidate) suggest several practices used in one-on-one Reading Recovery lessons that can be effective in guided reading sessions in the regular classroom.  Reading Recovery is the ONLY proven program that works!
• Familiar reading – Have students warm up by whisper-reading a book at their independent or instructional level that they’ve read at least once, and monitor them for fluency.
• Anchor text – Each student should have a very familiar book that he or she can read fluently, and use it to practice reading smoothly and with expression.
• Modeling fluent reading – When students are reading in a choppy, staccato fashion, the teacher should read with them, showing what fluent reading sounds like. Prompts include: Are you listening to yourself? Put them all together so that it sounds like talking. Reread. Did it sound smooth?
• Weaning from finger pointing – “Emergent readers often use finger pointing long after it is needed,” say Lipp and Helfrich. “Once early behaviors such as one-to-one matching, return sweep, and locating known words are firmly established, it is important to ask students to read with their eyes only.” Pointing should be used only when necessary.

“Key Reading Recovery Strategies to Support Classroom Guided Reading Instruction” by Jamie Lipp and Sara Helfrich in The Reading Teacher, May/June 2016 (Vol. 69, #6, p. 639-646).

Repeated Reading*  ~ Found to be the most effective! Repeated reading involves having a student reread a short passage 2 or more times, sometimes reading the passage until a suitable reading fluency level (i.e., criterion) is met (Therrien 2004). Recent meta-analyses (Chard et al. 2002; NRP 2000; Therrien 2004) have illustrated the positive outcomes of using RR procedures. For example, Chard et al. (2002) examined the effects of 24 studies that addressed components of reading interventions and found that RR was associated with significant improvements in reading fluency and comprehension for students with learning disabilities. More recently, Therrien (2004) confirmed the effectiveness of RR procedures for improving various types of reading abilities and, in addition, found that these effects are enhanced when the strategy is implemented with adults rather than peers.

Listening Passage Preview ~ Passage previewing—occasionally referred to as modeling—is another intervention commonly used to increase students’ reading fluency. The research literature highlights three basic types of PP interventions: (a) silent PP, where the student reads the passage silently prior to instruction and/or testing; (b) oral PP, where the student reads the passage aloud prior to instruction and/or testing; and (c) listening PP (LPP), where the student listens to a more skilled reader read the passage (e.g., a teacher, parent, more skilled peer, an audiotape) while following along silently. The efficacy of PP procedures on students’ reading fluency has also been well documented, with LPP generally receiving the most support over other types of PP interventions (Daly and Martens 1994; Skinner et al. 1997). 

The above came from:

Begeny, John C., Hailey E. Krouse, Sarah G. Ross, and R. Courtney Mitchell. “Increasing Elementary-aged Students’ Reading Fluency with Small-group Interventions: A Comparison of Repeated Reading, Listening Passage Preview, and Listening Only Strategies.” Journal of Behavioral Education J Behav Educ 18.3 (2009): 211-28. Web.


Failure Free Online might be considered for vocabulary.

PAVE Procedure ~ try it!

3 Vocabulary articles:

vocabELL     vocabintervention     vocab

ELL VOCABULARY:  As Kinsella (2005) tells us, many English learners (ELs) lack sufficient academic language in both their home language and English to be successful with complex academic tasks. Beck, McKeown, and Kucan (2008) have taught us to think about the words that we select for rich instruction and how we can explain their meanings in powerful ways. Furthermore, English-language development (ELD) lessons must be based on structured language practice that matches students’ English-language proficiency levels (Sonoma County Office of Education, 2006).Backward planning (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) is the first step in successfully infusing ELD instruction into core curricula. Analyze the lesson, including questions and tasks in sidebars and assessments, to determine the concepts that students are expected to learn based on state standards, as well as the necessary comprehension strategies. Our students won’t learn academic vocabulary solely by listening to us; they need to practice using it themselves (Kinsella, 2005). Structured language practice provides opportunities for students to orally practice using academic language to express language functions (see Sonoma County Office of Education, 2006, for more details).

Sentence Frames:  Think about what is the language function that students need to use to think, talk, and write about the core concept? Description, cause/ effect, persuasion, inference, and making judgments are all necessary to comprehend information. To develop sentence frames, first write sentences that express the target language function (e.g., compare/contrast), then replace target vocabulary with blanks, and finally, create a word bank or a list of the words that were eliminated from the original sentences. The resulting materials are sets of sentence frames with fill-in spaces that are appropriate for different language levels and a word bank. Lower level frames are less complex than higher level frames.  To develop sentence frames, group students of similar language levels together in pairs, present frames that match their language levels on sentence strips, and provide a word bank of the target vocabulary words. Support students in learning how to select vocabulary, insert it into the frame, and read the frames aloud. Teach students the following routine: Listen to me say the sentence; now you say it with me; now say it to me; finally, say it to your partner. After guiding students through the process several times, have them practice with each other. Note the primary purpose of the activity is to provide oral practice; however, it is also suitable for written practice.

ELLs are expected to use simple sentences to express the target language function of compare/contrast (e.g., two separate sentences: Oranges are sweet. Lemons are sour.). Level 3 language learners are expected to use more complex sentence structures (e.g., Oranges and lemons are both fruit, but oranges are sweet, and lemons are sour.). Finally, level 4 language learners are expected to use the most complex structures (e.g., The main difference between oranges and lemons are oranges are sweet while lemons are sour). Note that students of all three language levels are expressing the compare/contrast function; the difference is the level of complexity. As students progress in their language learning, they should work with more complex language structures.

For more on teaching ELLs please visit my RETELL page.

ELL information above taken from:

Donnelly, Whitney Bray, and Christopher J. Roe. “Using Sentence Frames to Develop Academic Vocabulary for English Learners.” The Reading Teacher 64.2 (2010): 131-36. Web.


2 Decoding Intervention articles:

decoding first grade      smallgroupdecoding

Consider SpellRead.  It is approved by the What Works Clearinghouse Read the article!

Onset-Rime Instruction:  First, see my page:  Rimes.  According to Adams (1990), it is relatively easy to break the onset away from the rime, but difficult to break either the onset or the rime into its phonemic components. Difficulty in segmenting phonemes may be because separate sounds merge in words and are not easily identified as individual sounds when listening to speech (Juel & Minden-Cupp, 2000). According to Anthony, Lonigan, Driscoll, Phillips, and Burgess (2003), children have a natural ability to hear onsets and rimes. Treiman, Mullinnex, Bijeljac-Babic, and Richmond-Welty (1995) carried out a statistical analysis of the links between spellings and sounds in CVC (consonant/vowel/consonant) words in English and found that rime units had more stable pronunciations than individual vowel graphemes or initial consonant plus vowel units. Stanbach (1992) analyzed the rime patterns of the 17,602 words in the Carroll, Davies, and Richman (1971) word frequency norms for children and found that all of the 17,602 words can be classified into 824 rimes, of which 616 occur in common rime families. This data supports the consistency of the rime unit in typical reading materials children encounter. The consistency of the rime in relation to the vowel suggests another argument because onset-rime instruction avoids short vowel confusion. One of the most difficult areas of phonics instruction is short vowel mastery. According to Goswami (1993), vowel misreading is twice as prevalent as consonant misreading for beginning readers. Adams (1990) stated that phonic generalizations about the pronunciation of individual vowels and vowel digraphs are “frustratingly unreliable” (p. 320); however, vowel sounds are usually quite stable within rime patterns. Instruction with onsets and rimes also requires less facility with blending, another stumbling block for children. Rather than having to identify and then blend the phonemes r-a-t together to make rat, the child only needs to substitute the r in rat for the c in cat. O’Shaughnessy and Swanson (2000) suggested that children respond better to remedial strategies that use larger phonological units (i.e., rimes) that reduce the memory demands of blending sounds together to form words. Finally, onset-rime instruction as a beginning reading program is in accord with the developmental model of phonological sensitivity proposed by Adams (1990), as well as Goswami (1993), a model supported by the research of Stahl and Murray (1994) and Anthony, Lonigan, Driscoll, Philips, and Bergess (2003). According to this developmental model, children’s phonemic awareness progresses from larger to smaller linguistic units (i.e., from words to syllables, to onsets and rimes, to individual phonemes). Anthony et al. (2003) suggested that this developmental model of phonological sensitivity be used to design instruction.

The above Onset-Rime intervention came from:

Hines, Sara J. “The Effectiveness of a Color-Coded, Onset-Rime Decoding Intervention with First-Grade Students at Serious Risk for Reading Disabilities.” Learning Disabilities Research & Practice 24.1 (2009): 21-32. Web.

Here are some intervention resources.  This list is from UNE EDU 744 course.  The numbers in (  ) represent grades:

Read 180 (3-12)
Read Naturally (K-6)
Accelerated Reader (Pre-K-12)
Leveled Literacy Intervention Kits by Fountas and Pinnell (K-2)
Fountas and Pinnell Phonics (K-2)
Fountas and Pinnell Word Study (3)
Reading Plus (2-college)
Discover Intensive Phonics (K-3)
Action 100 (K-8)
System 44 (3-12)
Expert 21 (6-9)
Success Maker (K-8)
Reading Apprenticeship (middle school-college)
Early Intervention in Reading (K-4)
Stepping Stones to Literacy  (Pre-K-K)
Earobics (Pre-K-3)
Ladders to Literacy (Pre-K-K)
DaisyQuest (ages 3-7)
Waterford Early Reading Program (K-2)
Kaplan Spell Read (2-up)
Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing (K-up)
Wilson Reading System (2-up)
Success for All (Pre-K-8)
Lexia Reading (K-3)
Voyager Universal Literacy System (K-3)
Corrective Reading (3-up)
Read, Write, & Type (ages 6-9)
Failure Free Reading (K-12)
Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (2-8)
Fluency Formula (1-6)

Intervention Websites
If you visit the What Works Clearinghouse there is an interactive tool which allows you to choose your grade level (range) and literacy topic (ex. reading comprehension) and many of these programs will appear in chart form.  You can then click on the name of the intervention program in order to read the related research.  To get more information on the programs, try entering the program name into a search engine to find the publisher’s website (UNE EDU 744, Summer 2016). 
Some other Helpful Websites: This website lists many academic interventions that are research-based interventions.  They are not purchased programs.  They are simply academic interventions that have research to support them. This site also lists research-based approaches to instruction.  Click on “Reading” then on the appropriate grade level tab (UNE EDU 744, Summer 2016).

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