Tiered Support

Multi-leveled support can be viewed as layers or tiers of increasingly intense intervention that respond to student-specific needs. While RtI models are commonly and graphically illustrated as a 3-tiered pyramid, the number of tiers or levels will vary depending upon resources available. Information regarding multi-level support can be filtered by specific tier and/or level.


Provides an overview of the five essential components of an effective reading program and discusses how to integrate each component with variables or practices associated with effective instruction and assessment.

Considering Tier 3 Within a Response-to-Intervention Model

Ervin, R. A. (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Tier 3 in an RtI framework is intended for students who are not responding to core instruction or supplemental interventions at Tier 2. This article details considerations within Tier 3 and three questions to ask about the student, strategies, available resources, and outcomes of interventions.

This article contains tips and strategies for motivating reluctant readers. The article provides helpful insights to encourage independence and engagement with reading.  This resource comes from the Education Northwest website.  For more information, please visit: http://educationnorthwest.org

Article that discusses the preventative measures an RtI model would have on learning difficulties in literacy for struggling students. Torgesen suggests that early intervention would have strong effects on reading comprehension, vocabulary, oral language ability and other essential literacy areas. Also provides data from FCAT (Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test) which assesses word knowledge, conceptual understanding and interference skills from third to tenth grade. Torgesen explains that mastery of these three skills have a link to comprehension ability in older students.

A short article that provides a rationale for RtI and a discussion of its critical features: tiered approach and using assessment data to make better decisions about students. Also discussed is the nature of service delivery or interventions at a secondary level and lists the nature of positive outcomes associated with schools who implement a tiered approach at the middle and secondary levels.

Scientifically Based Research

NCREL Learning Points Associates

An eight-page booklet outlining criteria that enable school personnel to evaluate evidence of effectiveness of instructional practices/strategies. List specific characteristics associated with scientifically based research (SBR) along with guiding questions that can be used to evaluate SBR. A glossary of common research terms is also provided

A brief article that defines SBR and describes its historical roots. Explains in detail criteria used to distinguish whether programs or instruction is SBR. Also discusses implications of SBR for school personnel whose responsibility involves selection of program and practices supported by SBR.

A ten-page booklet that provides an overview of scientifically based research (SBR). The booklet begins with a definition of SBR based on the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, followed by a series of questions teachers can use to help them determine if a particular instructional practice or strategy meets established standards for SBR


RtI Implementation Process for Middle School

National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI)

A 20 page informational brief published by the NCRTI.  The brief provides information and guidance relative to RtI implementation issues at the middles school.  Topics include:

-Planning and preparation
-Small-group intervention

RtI Scheduling Processes for Middle School

National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI)

An informational brief published by the NCRTI that responds to frequently asked questions concerning scheduling issues in middle school.  Based on observations, surveys, and interviews from administrators and staff from eleven middles schools implementing an RtI model. The brief offers guidance and support on the following issues:  

-Modifying schedules
-Planning for grade/level and/or content area meetings
-Staffing for smaller intervention classes
-Assessments: screening and progress monitoring

Guidance Documents

Designing and Delivering Intensive Interventions: A Teacher Toolkit

Murray, C.S., Coleman, M., Vaughn, S., Wanzek, J., Roberts, G. (2012)

A practice guide published by The Center on Instruction. It presents activities and resources to help school personnel construct and implement reading and mathematics interventions for students in grades k-12.

Guide developed by the U.S. Department of Education to help educators determine whether a program, intervention or instructional practice meets the SBR criteria established in NCLB (2002). Discusses how to evaluate interventions for effectiveness. The guide also breaks down the elements of research studies to conclude whether they are truly considered SBR.

Power Point Presentations

Considering the I in RTI

Dr. D. Scanlon (2012)

This presentation was delivered at the 2012 NYS Council of School Superintendent’s winter institute. Dr. Scanlon presents the reasons for prevention versus classification. Much discussion is placed on reading difficulties and understanding how reading is a comprehensive and coherent process.

Differentiating Instruction

IRA Commission on RtI: Valencia, S., Connor, C., Laster, B. (2010)

A powerpoint presentation, based on a March 2010 webinar that begins with a review of RtI and a rationale for differentiation based on existing empirical evidence. Emphasizes the use of multiple assessment measures to group students according to need and the necessity of planning for differentiation. Discusses different ways to differentiate instruction and provides an Adaptation Framework that supports planning for differentiation.

The Content Literacy Continuum (CLC), developed by the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas, is a supportive framework that consists of five levels of increasing intensity designed to meet the needs of high, average, and low achievers at the middle school level. This presentation describes each of the five levels and how they can be incorporated into an RtI process.

Selecting and Implementing Evidence-Based Reading Interventions in a Response to Intervention Model

Carolyn A. Denton, Ph.D., Children’s Learning Institute, Department of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

A key component of RTI models in reading is the provision of high-quality evidence-based reading instruction and interventions. Dr. Denton will describe the current evidence from RTI reading research concerning the characteristics of effective Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions. She will also describe research that addresses questions such as: (a) Where should reading interventions be provided? (b) Who can provide reading intervention? (c) How long should intervention be provided in each tier? (d) How should we measure intervention response? The primary emphasis will be on early intervention for the prevention of reading difficulties, but Dr. Denton will also describe the research base on interventions for students in the intermediate and secondary grades.


Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) is a research-validated instructional model designed to improve reading comprehension and content learning in general education and intervention
settings in grades 4-12. CSR can used to differentiate core instruction in content area classrooms or as an intervention at Tier 2 or 3 of an RtI model. CSR procedures are intended to maximize students’ involvement and support student success in heterogeneous, or mixed learning level, classrooms. Participants will learn to teach the core components of CSR (before, during, and after reading strategies); facilitate student-led textbased discussions; use CSR to support students with diverse learning needs
including English language learners in heterogeneous classrooms; and plan for successful integration of CSR into existing structures. Teachers will be provided with access to materials needed to implement CSR.

Response to Intervention can be defined as a schoolwide prevention framework that integrates assessment and intervention to improve student outcomes. While much of RtI research and attention has
focused on elementary models, RtI implementation at the middle school level is gaining momentum and increased attention. Implementing RtI in Middle School is an all-day workshop designed to provide RtI middle school teams with information and resources needed to effectively implement a multi-level
intervention model in their school. Attention will be devoted to examining various RtI models at the middle school level with respect to scheduling for supplemental intervention, screening, and progress monitoring.

A significant number of adolescents enter middle school unable to read and understand complex informational or narrative text. These students would benefit from a multi-tiered system
of supports that provide responsive reading instruction across tiers of a Response to Intervention Model. The overall goal of this professional development session is to provide general and special education
teachers, content area teachers, administrators, and support staff with foundational knowledge regarding best practices for older students who struggle to read.

This professional development opportunity will begin with a brief overview of RtI and the legislative components which take effect July of 2012. The results of a qualitative study that examined RtI implementation practices of middles schools from 28 states will also presented. A discussion involving the essential features of RtI at the middle school level will elaborate on the following topics:

Data-based decision making
Multi-level instruction
Secondary and tertiary intervention practices
Scheduling challenges


RtI in Middle School

Facilitated by Dr. Daryl Mellard and Sara Prewett from the National Center on Response to Intervention

An archived webinar presented by Dr. Daryl Mellard and Sara Prewett from the University of Kansas.  The webinar provides an introduction relative to what is currently known about the RtI process at the middle school level.  Discussion centers on the following issues: 

-Implementation and planning
-Assessment: screening and progress monitoring
-Tiered intervention
-Data-based decision-making
-Staff preparation

Selecting Evidence-Based Tools and Programs for Implementing Response-to-Intervention

National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI) – Presented by Dr. Allison Gandhi (2010)

This webinar provides an overview of the screening, progress monitoring, and instructional tools charts provided on the NCRTI website. The presenter walks through the process that teams can use when selecting an appropriate tool and what to think about when determining the actions your school/district will take when implementing RtI. Discussions about how to use the results to inform decisions about what your logistical needs and priorities are for your school/district; e.g. materials, space, time, LEP students, funds.


The Florida Center for Reading Research (FRCC) provides useful information school based programs and interventions. It provides summaries of these programs and evaluates each one against criteria established by the NCLB (2002) on scientifically based research. The FRCC published a series of reports that provides a summary of instructional programs and interventions school districts are interested in using at various tiers with the RtI process.

A website that provides summarizes of programs and practices for children that have positive outcomes. Reviews and posts outcomes associated with efficacy studies of a variety of programs targeting education, family, and community. The site links research articles with programs, and also provides video clips, resources and tools, and an option to submit programs for review.

Created by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education’s Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education, the Best Evidence Encyclopedia, commonly referred to as the “BEE,” is a free website offering summaries of scientific reviews. Each study is evaluated by a set of criteria which was created to determine the strength of the research. The BEE is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (I.E.S.).

Established in 2002, through an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science, its chief function is to assess the rigor of research evidence regarding interventions and programs used in schools. The website provides a set of guides that summarizes and rates the effectives of various curricula/programs using criteria established by NCLB (2002) on SBR.

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