Response to Intervention in Reading A Literature Review and Critical Synthesis

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Amanda R. Hurlbut
Jemimah Young
Catherine Boggs
Jamaal Young


The purpose of this study was to review the existing literature on the use of Response to Intervention (RTI) in reading to critically analyze the methodologies, instruments, and findings within the context of the surrounding literature. RTI remains a key process in special education research and practice. Hence, studies range from intervention effectiveness, implementation fidelity, and methods for determining responsiveness to intervention. There are numerous RTI related research studies indicating that tiered or scripted intervention programs may help students identified as at-risk make academic progress on pre-and posttest measures. However, many of these same studies also indicate that students identified as at-risk do not receive the instructional support necessary to close opportunity gaps in reading. To address this concern, we conducted a systematic review of the RTI reading literature. The results indicate that a wide variety of screening and progress monitoring tools were utilized in reading research, which may account for the vast variation in efficacy across studies. Moreover, researchers cite validity, reliability, and replicability as main concerns in determining true responsiveness to an intervention when such a plethora of resources are available. We conclude that consensus is needed in the literature to determine the best screening and progress monitoring instruments to identify true responsiveness and distinguish the best methods for designing, studying, and replicating intervention programs that sustain academic performance by at-risk learners through an RTI based tiered intervention model.


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