Not all literacy intervention is created equal.

By Kelly Griego

What makes for effective literacy intervention? What makes for ineffective literacy intervention? When considering intervention options, these questions matter. Yet wading through the research, the different pedagogical theories behind intervention products and the specifics of how a tool works can be confusing and take enormous amounts of time. As you spend time trying to understand what makes literacy intervention work and what makes it fail, your struggling readers and their teachers lose time, too.

Most of us know that students who fail to reach literacy benchmarks by third grade begin to struggle in more and more areas of school. When this slip-slide towards failing grades goes unchecked, drop out rates go up. A lack of effective and early literacy intervention means students lose time in their quest towards success in school and beyond.

Teachers who work with ineffective intervention tools also lose time trying to navigate through clunky programs that simply are designed for both efficiency and efficacy. Often, intervention time is hollow, which can require more of it, and eventually use time intended for core literacy blocks. Then all readers, not just struggling readers, miss out on crucial reading skill development.

The literacy intervention you choose matters. In an effort to save you time and make sure you select an intervention tool that will not cause teachers or students to lose valuable time, we’ve compiled a list of red flags to look out for when vetting intervention products. Read on to learn for the telltale signs of ineffective, time-wasting literacy intervention...

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