Great Ideas for Intervention

Across the year, we will be building this section of the website to provide tips for giving your lowest performers an extra boost. We begin with a real story and a great intervention teacher.

Great intervention teachers see the needs of their students and serve them well.

A Double-Triple Dose of Read Well for Mandy
Note: Mandy is a real child with a fictitious name

Mandy came to my first grade with no idea how to be a student. She couldn’t sit still. She didn’t follow directions. She couldn’t seem to stay in any given area or stay focused on any kind of task. Mandy didn’t really know what she was doing at school, but she did tell me, “Teacher, I’m gonna read books.”

Sadly, Mandy wasn’t able to stay focused enough be successful. Anytime she was not engaged with an adult, time was lost for her. During reading group, she would sit right next to me if possible. Even though she needed a lot of help tracking, learning to follow the lesson, or just staying in her own space, Mandy seemed to come alive in her Read Well group. Reading group was her place to succeed, and she loved it.

My teaching partner and I decided that Mandy should have more of what she was successful at. When Mandy’s group was called, she came happily to her first reading group. When her double-dose time came, she came happily to her second reading group. Then, when she was really supposed to be at center or reading independently for practice, she happily came to her third (more advanced) reading group.

By then, Mandy had missed a lot of school, but she told her mom, “Mrs. Robillard thinks I’m so special I have three reading groups. I can’t be late or miss school anymore because my teacher needs me in all my reading groups.”

We were amazed. Over time, Mandy wasn’t just sitting in on the more advanced reading group. She was reading well in the more advanced group! We moved her up. She continued going to her other groups as a “tutor.” It wasn’t long before she asked to join an even more advanced group that was reading about “that Martin Luther King guy, because that sounds interesting.”

Mandy didn’t quite finish Read Well 1 in first grade, but she did in the fall of her second-grade year. By the end of second grade, she had completed Read Well 2 Unit 18. By third grade, she didn’t need intervention and passed all her state assessments.

Mandy made her dream come true. She learned to read books and read them well.

—Barb Robillard Read Well K-2 Authors’ Training Cadre, Safe & Civil Schools