No AccessLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in SchoolsClinical Forum1 Oct 2006

Evidence-Based Practice, Response to Intervention, and the Prevention of Reading Difficulties


    This article provides an evidence-based perspective on what school communities can do to lower the prevalence of reading difficulties among their pupils through preventive interventions. It also delineates the roles that speech-language pathologists (SLPs) might play in these interventions.


    This article is organized to first provide a broad overview of current directions in research, practice, and policy in educational interventions, with an emphasis on how the three are increasingly integrated to respond to evidence showing that American school children are underperforming in reading. Next, the concept of response to intervention (RTI) is described. RTI is an educational policy and practice that is grounded in the accumulated literature that focuses on how schools might better organize themselves to deliver multitiered reading interventions to reduce children’s risk for reading disability. Last, this article provides three organizational principles that school-based professionals, including SLPs, might follow to deliver RTI interventions.


    This article provides an important and timely description of key concepts in the prevention of reading difficulties through proactive multitiered interventions. SLPs can draw on the suggestions presented here to inform their local efforts in implementing preventive literacy programs that are consistent with an RTI paradigm.


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