The Virginia Department of Education defines Response to Intervention (RtI) as “the practice of offering interventions provided by the general education teacher, such as additional instruction or small group instruction, and then systematically evaluating the child’s response” (VDOE, 2007). Successful implementation of RtI involves three important components: (1) universal screening; (2) tiers of instruction, intervention, and support; and (3) progress monitoring.

RtI is neither a method nor an instructional approach, but a process that begins with universal screening. Fortunately, Virginia’s Early Intervention Reading Initiative (EIRI) and PALS provide an existing infrastructure for RtI in grades K-3 for reading.

RtI and EIRI share common goals, rationale, and processes for optimal literacy achievement. First and foremost, they require a commitment to student potential and achievement. They seek to prevent failure through universal screening and early intervention. The earlier the intervention, the more likely students will succeed and the less likely they will need special education services. Both RtI and EIRI help participating school districts by:
  • identifying children at risk and in need of early intervention services by requiring universal screening in early grades (PALS).
  • detecting reading difficulties and delays early and implementing intervention. Research suggests that most reading problems can be reduced from current levels of 70% to 3% or fewer (Vellutino, 1999).
  • employing on-going progress monitoring procedures to fine-tune instruction and intervention.
In addition to administering PALS during the fall, mid-year, and spring screening windows, PALS Quick Checks may be used to monitor student progress on targeted literacy skill acquisition throughout the year. PALS Quick Checks should be administered to K-3 students who have been identified by PALS and are receiving intervention, but need even more intensive, explicit instruction in a specific skill. Once students reach mastery in the specific literacy skill, the PALS Quick Check for that skill should be discontinued. PALS Quick Checks provide charts for graphing student progress over time and are a curriculum-based measurement.

    Invernizzi, M. (2007). Universal literacy screening: First steps toward prevention and intervention. Paper presented at the Response to Intervention Institute, Roanoke, VA.

    Vellutino, Frank R. and Scanlon, Donna. 1999. "Early intervention can reduce the number of children diagnosed as reading disabled." The New England Reading Assocation Journal, 35, 3, 3-13.

    Virginia Department of Education. 2007. Responsive Instruction: Refining our work of teaching all children. Unpublished manuscript, Virginia Department of Education Office of Student Services, 6.