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A bar graph made of colored pencils shows fluctuations but a general uptrend

Tweaking Your Intervention

Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction. ~ Kenichi Ohmae

It is important in intervention work to never lose sight of the end goal. We want motivated and curious students who can read fluently and understand what they read. How do you know if your intervention is actually targeting your students’ needs and pushing them closer to the finish line? Data can help you with that!

Data-Informed Decisions

What kind of data you choose to guide your instruction can make all the difference. Often comprehension scores are the sole data point used to identify adolescent readers for intervention and monitor their success. Yet we know from research that showing growth in comprehension within an intervention is a rarity. What other types of data can help you tweak your intervention instruction?

1. Students’ level of engagement and motivation to read, as well as an understanding of the types of reading activities students want to engage or disengage from during school and at home can be captured in informal assessments of motivation and engagement.

2. Are students reading fluently and understanding what they’ve read? Can they read a grade level passage with acceptable accuracy and speed? This often feels like harder information to ascertain at the secondary level because there are far fewer assessments geared towards adolescent readers but leveled passages offer an easy and cheap way to gain insight into how a reader interacts with text and how those interactions change over time and across levels of text difficulty.

3. Informal spelling assessments and writing samples give you a window into how well students are applying their growing knowledge of foundational and/or advanced phonics.

Other Considerations

1. Are students engaged and talking with one another? If not, consider how can you restructure class discussions or small-group dynamics to encourage students to engage in meaningful discussions with one another while learning.

2. Think about the small tweaks you can make to your intervention approach before your make huge shifts. Sometimes a change of text, a rearrangement of student pairs, or a game can reenergize both you and your students.