What's happening to Reading Intervention?

Due to budget cuts, it has been proposed to eliminate the Reading Intervention (RI) program in Ann Arbor Public Schools for the 2013-2014 school year. Please sign to support this valuable program for our K-2 students. Please be vocal about your support because early intervention works too well to be eliminated. Share this petition via email or Facebook, and contact the school board, central administration, and other community members with your support. We must work together to save Reading Intervention in AAPS.

What exactly is Reading Intervention?

RI provides daily reading instruction in a small group to students below grade level. This strategy-based instruction and systematic phonics is provided by a highly specialized teacher who works in coordination with daily instruction provided by classroom teachers to accelerate and support students. Essentially, at-risk readers receive double instruction. Most students do not need further help after participating in RI, but some will. RI "fixes" many readers, but it also informs us who will need sustained support. Click for more information about RI from AAPS.

Reading Intervention is a "Tier 2" intervention. Students are screened and then provided intervention services in addition to classroom supports as needed; RI involves focused supplementary instruction and weekly monitoring of student progress.

Why offer Reading Intervention?

As a community, we must support early intervention services for our students for many reasons. First, it is our duty to meet the academic needs of each and every student. Additionally, RI is not only sound instructional practice, but it is a moral imperative. Providing RI meets state guidelines in addressing the achievement gap and it meets the model for appropriate implementation of RTI (Response to Intervention, Tier 2).

We offer Reading Intervention because children matter in our community. Research indicates that children who get off to a poor start in reading often do not catch up and working with a preventative model in early intervention, rather than a remediation model in upper grades, has proven to be more effective.

Research also indicates that children with low reading scores even as early as third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school than kids with proficient reading scores. Early intervention programs like RI are essential in meeting long-term education goals.

Students that struggle with reading may often struggle in other academic areas as they continue to move through the increasing demands of each grade level. Helping students reach grade level expectations with reading will help them reach expectations in all academic areas including Math, Writing, Science, and Social Studies.

Reading Intervention is a program that has significant value to both its participants and the general classroom community and should not be eliminated.

Who does Reading Intervention help?

Reading Intervention, served 460 students in 2011-2012. In past years, most students who received an RI program will close the gap and be at or close to grade level, giving them an equitable start. Being at-level in reading has emotional benefits and impacts progress in other content areas as well.

Having RI in place also benefits classrooms by facilitating higher contact times with students (not receiving extra support) and classroom teachers, which certainly is a concern with rising class sizes and split classes.

Reading Intervention teachers also provide casual and formal support with professional development at a grade, building, and district level. RI teachers meet with families of students (on and off caseload) to share resources and make home-plans. RI teachers support students, families, and school communities.

How can I help?

Sign the petition!

And say something! If you value the work of early intervention, write letters, e-mail, Facebook, and call the decision makers: school board members, your building principals, and especially district administration.

Why is RI on the chopping block with all the concern at district and state levels about the achievement gap?

It certainly is confusing why the support of RI would be pulled from buildings. RI is helping close the achievement gap and often with early intervention programs, a short preventative program keeps a student close to target early, but remediation later proves to be longer, more costly, and often not as effective. Significant studies link failing to meet grade-level reading scores by third grade with a significantly reduced high school graduation rate.

But now, even with all our efforts on providing effective instruction for all children and maintaining an additional focus on the achievement gap, Reading Intervention is a proposed cut. Cutting RI now will create greater needs in other areas, such as Achievement Team, SISS, and on student-teacher contact time in classrooms.

Additionally, cutting RI eliminates our Tier 2 Response to Intervention support, which could become problematic from both the state and with families when considering the legal ramifications of Michigan Department of Education Focus Schools and the Achievement Gap. If RI is removed, then the Read 180 program in 4th grade will be most students’ earliest opportunity for extra help, other than special education services.

Should we cut other programs instead of RI?

So many programs are valuable. The current small, but vocal, commentary about district mismanagement shows a lack of understanding about school funding, taxes, teaching and learning, and the workings of Lansing. The problems at a state-level are really starting to wear down the good work of our district. So much of the "fat" has been trimmed from programs, such as RI.

As a community - we must value early intervention and support and maintain this effective, sustained program for our at-risk readers but it is also essential to make sure we take an active role at a state-level in supporting children in all Michigan schools.

What essential resources should I consult to understand early intervention and Reading Intervention?

These resources were linked to in the questions above:

Reading Intervention is an early intervention program for K-2 readers in AAPS. Please don’t cut RI in 2013-2014.

Sign to Support RI