RTI Update

We've been hard at it. Working in our reading skills to "close the gaps."

Just to recap. We started with Aimsweb testing. Sorted kids into groups. The kiddos with the highest need were give the QPS (Quick Phonics Screener) to identify specific needs, and now we are into the heart of it. Teaching. Progress monitoring. Trying to find materials that work and keep students engaged.

I work with two groups of students. One group is working on short vowels the other on long vowels. These are relatively "low" on the trajectory of increasingly difficult phonics skills.  These are heterogeneous groups for our MTSS/RTI groups. It doesn't matter what the child is labeled, if they even are, all that matters is that they need a particular skill and these groups are in place to try and get them the skills they need.

The biggest problem that I have come against is finding materials that are both age and skill appropriate. There are many great resources for lower elementary with these two skills. However, my fifth graders, feel that words such as "cat" "hat" "beg" are babyish, and really not engaging. I would have to agree. I'm constantly on the search for materials that work for this group of students.  Until I find the perfect mix of materials or program that really seems to click.

There are parts of West Virgina Reading First, that I really like. It is very explicit and systematic...thorough too. But I tweaked it. I didn't spend an entire week on one short/long vowel sound. That was way too boring, not only for the students but for myself as well. So I modified. We covered a sound or two a day with days to review several sounds at a time. That helped.
Click to see the lesson and activity books. A free resource from LINCS.
Then, I changed things up a bit more. The last couple of weeks, I have pulled almost exclusively from LINCS (Literacy Information and Communication System) adult reading program. What I like about this program is that a a single lesson focuses not only on a vowel, but syllabication, reading more age appropriate text, as well as other skill work. I still use West Virgina as a bit of inspiration incorporating activity ideas, just not the full program.

So, as I cut and paste and put things together, I try and supplement as I can. An quick activity I whipped up to start a lesson was a simple word sort. In my long vowel group, I wanted my students to understand the basic VCe pattern as well as knowing that not all VCe words are long, and some words are just flat out rule breakers. We had covered long vowels and variations for a couple of weeks, so this worked as a good warmup/informal assessment.

To get a free copy for yourself click here to go to TPT or here to go to TN.


  1. I know what you mean about finding things that are age and skill level appropriate- it's very difficult. Most times I end up making my own as well. Our school uses Wilson for phonics and decoding.

    Everyone deServes to Learn

  2. Great freebie:) Thanks for sharing more about what you do! You said you have the short and long vowel groups, and it doesn't matter what the student is labeled (if they are), do you have to have at least one special ed student in your group, as you are a sped teacher? What is your ratio of sped to non-sped students?

    I've been doing a lot of small (informal RTI) groups, based on necessary skills, but not all students are sped either. So just curious what other teachers are doing:)

    We are ALL Special!

    1. Thank you!

      The majority of the kiddos in my groups are in special education. We try to keep groups small 4 or less is the best, there is one group with 5 students.

      I have a couple of students with no labels, the rest are either on an IEP or have other services (speech only IEP, title, etc.) Ratio though is roughly 2-1 labeled to non-labeled.

      When I started in October, it was informal too. A great time to explore various resources and see if you can find a mix that fits! :)


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