Data analysis for 1:1 instruction (Tier 3) transcript

Elaine Stanley:

Lastly, we're going to look at our dataset again to determine students and areas of focus for Tier 3 support.

There are a couple of students I need to provide intensive support with that I can see. The first one is Sam, and the second one is Sadie. We saw in our whole-class demonstration lesson for Topic 2 that during the SSP lesson where we introduced the sh digraph, Sam was tracing the sh and saying the sound.

[Lit Hub: add link to video 5.4 Data analysis for whole class instruction]

And then he was also sorting a group of picture cards to find the ones that began with sh. This is what he was able to do independently with some guidance and support from me during that lesson.

And, in fact, our data from this phase shows he's been able to pick up some new letter–sound correspondences just by being involved in those whole-class lessons, which is really great. But, in terms of learning to blend and segment and to read and write words, he's still working in Phase 1 with those letter–sound correspondences that he's learning there. So this is the area where we are going to provide further support during Tier 3 intervention with him.

We've also got Sadie. Because of high absence, she needs that extra guided practice in learning letter–sound correspondences, including ones from previous phases that we've learned, and also in using them to read and spell at the word level. For Sadie, the same instructional model will be used again, but the focus would be on revising known letter–sound correspondences and introducing new ones as quickly as we can, but really building her skills and knowledge gradually over time. The focus for her is to fill the gaps with daily practice.

For the purposes of today's session, we're just going to look at a plan for Sam because of time.

We are working at that Tier 3 level of support and we know it's longer-term support with the greatest level of support. So for Sam, small steps are big gains for him. We don't expect to see great progress quickly – it's a slow, steady increase in building his knowledge and skills.

The ideal situation at Tier 3, as we said earlier, is that students receiving Tier 3 instruction have access to working with teachers with the highest level of expertise and being able to support them to progress. But the big key to success is that, as I said before, instruction matches that given in Tier 1 and Tier 2 when you get to Tier 3. So, same procedures and expectations and routines and lesson structure.

Ideally, Tier 3 students will be working with a highly expert teacher every day. Some schools also have an intervention team that can assist the classroom teacher to work with their Tier 3 students. If that's not in place or possible, then 5 to 15 minutes of intensive support with the classroom teacher every day really helps these students move along. And that can be in combination with trained education support staff as well that are working in classrooms with teacher guidance to do the same practice with what students have already learned.

If that's not possible, I've also seen schools use a buddy system with older students – that can still help support the students at Tier 3 level beyond what the teacher does with the student. What would happen there is the teacher would be working with the student to introduce new letter–sound correspondences as the child is ready to move on. But, in between that time with the classroom teacher, the buddies might be practising every day. Often the students have a little pack with letter–sound correspondences they already know and they’re using those to read and spell a couple of words, and the buddy can really help them do that practice every day, which can really support them. Failing that, even a partner in the classroom can do that work as well, to help the student practise their known letter–sound correspondences every day.

What happens with Sam in my classroom is that I (or my education support staff member who's assigned to work with him) practise his known letter–sound correspondences with him every day. We use movable letters – magnetic letters on a whiteboard – to make and break VC and CVC words by blending and segmenting the sounds in them. We also use picture cards, and he segments the sounds he can hear in the pictures and then gets the letters to make the words and re-read the words. Five to 10 minutes every day doing that work.

I also have a planner for Sam; this might be used over a week. I'll gradually keep introducing new letter–sound correspondences according to our progression as his skills develop. I will do that as the classroom teacher. Our main goal is to get him blending and segmenting with sounds he already knows though as well. That's our main focus. When I see him, I'll decide if he's ready for a new letter–sound correspondence and maybe write new words to be practised on the planner. And these will also be practised daily with Sam or with my ES support person in class as well.

So, final word. We've gone through all the tiers of intervention. There's a lot to take in today, and that was a really big session. But don't forget, there's the recording that you can go back and view parts if you would like to. Final words before we stop for questions.

This slide, which is one of my favourite images there on the left, shows the link between the power of the RTI model and its real impact on students. Some students come to school primed to learn and nothing's going to hold them back, so with good Tier 1 instruction, they're off and running along the top of that literacy wall. They're off and running and they're ready to go.

Some students need a little boost and extra support to scale that wall, so through additional Tier 2 instruction, and then they're off and running too, hopefully.

Some students come to school and all they're faced with is that brick wall. Be it due to social factors or emotional or trauma, learning difficulties, language barriers, whatever it might be for that child, they often come to school and all they can see is that brick wall in front of them and they can't even see how to begin to start their learning journey.

This is where this RTI model is so vitally important. Paired with best practice instruction, what you're doing is providing the levels of support to really level out that playing field for all of your students. For that student who needs Tier 3 support often and over the long term, you're helping them scale that wall really, brick by brick, to start their journey like everyone else. Small steps are really big gains, like we said, and you need to have that long-term view to really start to see students move.

But the payoff for having that in place is massive. I've taught students who start off like that student there at the bottom of the wall, and once they start to see themselves moving and start to see they can actually begin to learn as well, and move and progress. They're the students that actually come and find you at recess and give up their recess and say, ‘Can I read my decodable book to you?’, because they're so proud of themselves. Or they won't rub their writing out at the end of a phonics lesson because they really want to show you what they've done. If you can get this happening in your school, it's really worth the effort and the continued sustained input to get it happening.