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Supporting all learners

When students struggle with reading or writing at any grade level, it is important to identify the specific area in which support is needed. Screeners, writing samples, listening to students read aloud and and other formative assessments can be helpful. Sometimes, bolstering activities that are already built into the ELA curriculum can be enough. At other times, especially for students in upper grades, you may need to use supplemental programs. Here are some resources.

Middle and high school students

Students with disabilities

English language learners

Research supports explicit instruction for ELLs in the literacy components of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and writing.

Teaching linguistically diverse students requires the use of supports and scaffolds to help them acquire the foundational skills and academic language required for comprehension.


Resources for parents

DOE resources

The DOE uses several reading intervention programs that have been validated by independent research. 

    A short-term intervention program for struggling readers in grades 4-12 who read at or above a 3rd-grade level. Designed by Dr. Anita Archer, a leading expert in adolescent reading, REWARDS teaches students to decode multisyllabic words and to identify and understand prefixes and suffixes. The program builds fluency and academic vocabulary, leading to improved comprehension. Instruction is teacher-delivered, explicit, and fast-paced.
    A “comprehensive and multisensory reading intervention and instructional program that integrates phonological awareness, phonics, handwriting, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension in an instructional design that is based upon how struggling readers learn.” SPIRE lessons have 10 carefully timed and scripted steps. Teachers receive a kit with all the materials needed to deliver the program. SPIRE is fun, engaging and fast-paced. It has been used by centrally funded IEP and intervention teachers in elementary schools for several years.
  • Really Great Reading Phonics Boost and Phonics Blitz 
    Phonics Boost is geared to students in grades 3-12 with “significant and severe decoding weaknesses.” Lessons focus on phonemic awareness, phonics, and word attack skills. Like other interventions, it is delivered in a small group. There are multiple entry points for the program. Phonics Blitz is for students in grades 4-12 who struggle with complex text. It is a fast-paced program with materials that are appropriate and engaging for older students. The focus is on helping students read multisyllabic words and words with advanced vowel patterns. Teachers using Boost and Blast have access to a free grouping matrix to help identify the level of students’ decoding difficulties, select appropriate lessons and determine the maximum group size.