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RtI as a Model for Reading Improvement: A Focus on Students Learning English. Rollanda O’Connor University of California at Riverside. A “Fact” that began a model:.

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Rti as a model for reading improvement a focus on students learning english

RtI as a Model for Reading Improvement: A Focus on Students Learning English

Rollanda O’Connor

University of California at Riverside

A fact that began a model
A “Fact” that began a model:

Phonemic awareness is more strongly associated with reading achievement at the end of first grade than IQ, vocabulary, or SES of the family.

  • Share, Jorm, et al (1984; 1986)

  • Juel (1988)

  • O’Connor & Jenkins (1999)

The conundrum
The Conundrum

Becoming “phonemically aware” is most useful prior to Grade 2

Most students with LD in reading (RD) aren’t identified until after Grade 2

Does phonemic awareness predict rd
Does phonemic awareness predict RD?


But PA “catches” 20-40% of a kindergarten population

Notions of catch and release
Notions of Catch and Release

  • A nimble instructional model that includes instruction AND learning

  • Catch & Release (Jenkins & O’Connor, 2002)

    • Consider early intervention interfaced with measurement of progress

    • Keep intervention flexible to release children mistakenly caught in the RD net

Rti a general education plan
RTI = A General Education Plan

  • Practitioners deliver good instruction

    • Screen students for reading difficulty

    • Identify students who perform poorly

    • Problem solve:

      • What is the problem?

      • What do we do about it?

  • What we do about it = Tier 2

  • Are students responding to the intervention?

Rti a layered model
RTI: A Layered Model

  • Professional Development to improve teaching

  • Measurement of children (“Gating”)

  • Feedback to teachers on children’s progress

  • Additional intervention for children who need it

  • Flexible movement across groups and conditions

    O’Connor (2000)

Which outcomes are important
Which Outcomes are Important?

  • Silent reading comprehension by Gr 3

  • Reading fluently by Gr 2

  • Decoding words by the end of Gr 1

  • Understanding the alphabetic principle by the end of K

Linking assessment to instruction
Linking Assessment to Instruction

  • Alphabetic principle:

    • Segmenting sounds in short words

    • Matching sounds to alphabet letters

  • Reading words

    • Blending letter sounds

    • Letter combinations

    • Sight words

  • Fluency and comprehension

    • Oral reading rate and prosody, and ???? [need better measures of vocabulary and comprehension]

K 1 studies in rti
K-1 Studies in RTI

  • Small groups unrelated to general class instruction:

    • Vellutino et al., 1996; Torgesen et al., 1999; McMaster, Fuchs et al., 2005

  • Small groups interfaced with general class instruction

    • K-1 Studies with Teachers as Tier 1:

      • O’Connor, 2000; 2005

      • Blachman et al., 2004

      • Simmons, Coyne, Kame’enui, 2004

K 2 studies in rti
K-2 Studies in RTI

  • Kamps & Greenwood, 2004

  • Vaughn et al., 2004

  • Tilly, 2003 (Iowa evaluation)

  • O’Connor et al. (2011)

K 3 studies in rti
K-3 Studies in RTI

  • O’Connor et al., 2005

  • Simmons et al., 2009

  • O’Connor et al., current research

Areas of agreement across studies
Areas of Agreement Across Studies

  • Classroom instruction must be adequate

  • Use measures for catch & release

  • Intervention available regardless of student “category”

A few statistics
A Few Statistics:

30% of 4th grade native English speakers score < Basic

71% of 4th grade ELL score < Basic (NAEP, 2007)

24% of all students in CA are ELL

20-50% of students in Riverside County schools are ELL

Including english language learners in rti
Including English Language Learners in RtI

  • The problem with identifying risk for RD (Klingner et al., 2006):

    • Is it reading risk?

    • Is it language risk?

  • Does it matter?

    • Is our RtI system nimble?

What about students who are ell
What about Students Who Are ELL?

  • ELL learn during small group reading instruction in English:

    • Lesaux & Siegel (2003)

    • Linan-Thompson et al. (2006)

    • Lovett et al. (2008)

    • Solari & Gerber (2008)

    • O’Connor et al. (2010)

  • However--ELL responsiveness was not analyzed in early studies of RtI

Our current studies of rti for ell
Our Current Studies of RtI for ELL

  • Compare response to intervention between ELL and native English speakers in Grades K-3 on:

    • Overall RtI effects on reading and language development

    • Kindergarten vs. Grade 1 start

    • Identification for Tier 2 and for special education

Moving from research to practice
Moving from Research to Practice

  • Include the entire K-3 sample

    • Prior researchers identified students in K-1 only

    • Did not consider late-emerging RD (Catts et al., 2010; 2012)

    • Late-emerging RD are more prevalent among ELL (Kieffer, 2010)

Measures for all children gating
Measures for All Children: Gating

September, January, May:

  • K: Segmenting, letter names, letter sounds

  • Gr 1: Word identification, reading rate in January, comprehension in May

  • Gr 2-3: Word identification, rate, & comprehension

Targets for tier 2 intervention
Targets for Tier 2 Intervention

  • Kindergarten

    • Alphabetic principle

    • Conversation & sentence expansion

  • First Grade

    • Phonics and decoding words

    • Conversation & restatements

  • Second grade

    • Affixes and reading fluently

    • Conversation & justifications

      • Why do you think that…?

  • Third grade

    • Multisyllable words and morphemes

    • Justifications and evidence in text

      • Show me where….

Interventions in kindergarten
Interventions in Kindergarten

  • Segmenting

  • Blending

  • Letter Sounds

  • The alphabetic principle

  • [and meanings of words]

Teaching letter sounds
Teaching Letter Sounds

  • Avoid alphabetical order (Carnine et al., 1998)

  • Use cumulative introduction

  • Teach short vowels in kindergarten

  • Start teaching letter sounds as soon as possible

  • Integrate letter sounds with phonological awareness activities (Ball & Blachman, 1991; O’Connor et al., 1995)

Ex segment to spell o connor et al 2005
Ex: Segment to Spell (O’Connor et al., 2005)

a m s t i f

Interventions in first grade
Interventions in First Grade

  • Segment to Spell (to ensure the alphabetic principle)

  • Phonics

  • High frequency words

  • [and meanings of words]

Patterns in the 100 most common words
Patterns in the 100 Most Common Words

  • th: that, than, this

  • or: for, or, more

  • ch: much, [which]

  • wh: when, which, what

  • ee: see, three

  • al: all, call, also

  • ou: out, around

  • er: her, after

  • ar: are, part

Interventions in second grade
Interventions in Second Grade

  • Common letter patterns & affixes

  • Fluency

  • Conversation & justifications

    • Why do you think that…?

Most common affixes
Most Common Affixes

  • Inflected endings: -ed, -ing, -s, -es

  • Prefixes

    • Un-, re-, in-, dis- account for 58% of words with prefixes (White et al., 1989)

  • Suffixes

    • -ly, -er/or, -sion/tion, -ible/able, -al, -y, -ness, -less

Why bother building reading rate
Why Bother Building Reading Rate?

  • One piece of the comprehension puzzle

  • Minimum fluency requirements (O’Connor et al., 2007, 2009, 2010)

  • Silent reading is NOT effective in improving fluency (NRP, 2000)

  • Building rate requires frequent, long-term practice

  • Improving rate improves comprehension

2 methods of partner reading
2 Methods of Partner Reading

  • Modeled reading (PALS)

    • Each student reads in 5 minute intervals

    • Strongest partner reads first

    • Allows a model for the poorer reader

  • Sentence-by-sentence (CWPT)

    • Partners take turns reading sentence by sentence

    • Reread with other student starting first

    • Encourages attention and error correction

Interventions in third grade
Interventions in Third Grade

  • Morphemes

  • BEST

  • Rules for combining morphemes

  • Comprehension strategies

  • [and meanings of words]


  • The meaningful parts of words

    • Improves decoding

    • Improves with spelling

    • Reinforces word meanings

Teaching morphemes
Teaching Morphemes…

(The meaningful parts of words)

  • “not”

    • Un, dis, in, im (disloyal, unaware, invisible, imperfect)

  • “excess”

    • Out, over, super (outlive, overflow, superhuman)

  • “number”

    • Uni, mono, bi, semi (uniform, monofilament, bicolor, semiarid)

  • “in the direction of”

    • Ward (skyward, northward)

  • “full of”

    • Ful (merciful, beautiful)

English spanish cognates from morphemes
English/Spanish Cognates from Morphemes

  • Google for lists

  • Praise student use of cognates

    • Adult/adulto

    • Atmosphere/atmosfera

    • Chimpanzee/chimpancé

    • Enter/entrar

    • Intelligence/inteligencia

Inter means between
Inter-- means between

  • What does inter-- mean?

  • So what does interstate mean?

  • What’s a word for a highway between states?

  • What would interperson mean?

  • So what are interpersonal skills?

Best for multisyllable words
BEST for Multisyllable Words

  • Break apart

  • Examine the stem

  • Say the parts

  • Try the whole thing

Best examples
BEST Examples




Specific questions for ell v eo
Specific Questions for ELL v. EO

  • Targeted vs. Packaged Tier 2 Instruction

  • Kindergarten vs. 1st Grade start

  • Response to intervention across 3 years

Differentiating instruction gr 2 3
Differentiating Instruction, Gr 2-3

  • Differentiation between skills + fluency, and only fluency

  • Children with slow rate but high skills were not identified for SpEd by the end of Gr 3

    • Rate is less important for predicting RD for ELL

    • Consider skills with and without speeded tasks

Gr 2 rti vs historical control

Same 5 schools of waiting

Same teachers

Same reading curriculum

Gr 2 RtI vs. Historical Control

Conclusions Initial Treatment

  • Students strong in K-1 were identified in later grades [with a higher % of ELL identified late]

  • Including ELL in RtI reduced risk

  • Including ELL improved comprehension