RTI Strategies for Reading

Instructor: Amanda Wiesner-Groff

Amanda has created and taught English/ESL curricula worldwide, has an M.Ed, and is the current ESOL Coordinator for the Saint Louis Public School District.

Within RTI, teachers must utilize research-based, high quality instructional strategies in order to effectively teach the skills needed for literacy progression and success. Read on for reading comprehension instructional strategies that fall in-line with the Response to Intervention process.

Response to Intervention (RTI) & Reading

Within Response to intervention (RTI), teachers are required to call upon research-based instructional strategies and regular progress monitoring in order to maintain, or bring students to, grade-level reading standards. This lesson will explain the steps you should be taking to provide high-quality reading instruction and will provide some reading comprehension instructional strategies that fall in line with the RTI process.

Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR)

When instructing according to the RTI model, there are particular steps you should take to ensure your lessons meet the objectives. Gradual release of responsibility (GRR) aims to move the teacher from assuming all of the responsibility of executing a task or strategy, to having the student assume all of the responsibility.

  • Explain - Ensure students understand why a strategy is useful by giving focused instruction of how the strategy should be used.
  • Model (I do) - Provide a demonstration by not only modeling the strategy, but also modeling how to execute said strategy.
  • Guided Instruction (We do) - Execute the strategy together and provide standard error corrections or redirection where needed.
  • Collaborative Learning (You do, together) - Students discuss, explore, problem-solve, and work together to improve overall understanding.
  • Independent learning (You do, alone) - Students independently demonstrate skills and knowledge acquired throughout the learning process .

RTI Reading Comprehension Strategies

Now let's take a look at some RTI reading strategies while using the GRR model.


This strategy not only teaches students to think independently about a question or prompt, it also teaches students to share their thinking with others in order to extend comprehension of reading material.

  • Explain: Define the think-pair-share strategy.
  • Model: Demonstrate contemplation and subsequent discussion of predetermined set of questions or prompts that pertain to the text, theme, or concept of focus.
  • Guided Collaboration: After the thinking period (1-2 minutes), students pair up for discussion.
  • Independent Learning: Students think-pair-write by writing down thoughts and ideas after the peer discussion.

Story Maps

Sequencing is a comprehensive skill that contributes to ability to understand what is being read. Sequencing requires students to identify the beginning, middle, and end components of a story, so they can accurately recall, and retell, events in the order in which they occurred.

  • Explain: The development of a story map.
  • Model: Complete a story map by sequencing events of a familiar story.
  • Guided Collaboration: Students complete story map in groups with teacher guidance and observation.
  • Independent Learning: Students create story maps while reading independently.

Guided Visualization

Students learn to create mental images as they read, or listen to, texts. This strategy is beneficial for students who are easily distracted, since conjuring up an image while reading requires active engagement with the text.

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