The ONE THING All Good Reading Intervention Programs Have in Common

If your child or student reads below grade level you may have tried a number of reading intervention programs with varying levels of success.  Maybe you’re still searching for one that actually works.  Keep in mind, all good reading intervention programs do share one very important quality in common.


Closeup of stack of colorful books with with text overlay and text boxes in teal and apple-green


By the way, when I say “good” what I really mean is “effective.”


This might surprise some, but I’m not about to say that “good” reading intervention programs all need to be research-based.  That’s not the ONE THING.  If you’d like my thoughts about the research read The Trouble With Research-Based Reading Programs.


Before I (finally) share the ONE THING, fair warning.  You may want to accuse me of being Captain Obvious.  That’s okay. Consider this.  If finding the right reading intervention program were truly so obvious, then your struggling reader likely wouldn’t be struggling anymore.  Food for thought.


Okay.  Here it goes.  Are you ready?


The One Thing

Reading intervention programs that successfully help struggling readers become strong, capable readers are tailor-fit to the needs of the learner.


Like I said, Captain Obvious, but stay with me.


Effective Reading Intervention Programs

When you search for effective reading intervention programs you likely come across a few key components of good reading instruction in general.  Maybe you’ve read that instruction must be:

  • Systematic (It progresses from least difficult to most difficult.)
  • Cumulative (It builds upon prior skills.)
  • Explicit (Students never need to guess for understanding.)
  • Diagnostic (Instruction is individualized to the child.)


Those all describe structured literacy.  Structured literacy benefits ALL students, not just the struggling ones.


Those requirements are all fine and good when we’re talking about reading intervention, too, but let’s take a closer look at the term “diagnostic.”


According to the International Dylexia Association, instruction must be individualized.  “Diagnostic teaching… meets a student’s needs.”  In other words, it’s tailor-fit to the student.


How do we achieve that?  We take steps to recognize what the student’s needs actually are.  Unfortunately that’s not as common or as obvious as we would expect.


Here’s what we don’t do.  We certainly do NOT provide reading instruction at the phonics level to a student who hasn’t yet mastered phonemic awareness, or sound-symbol association.


Don’t worry if you don’t know what those terms mean yet.  You’ll have an opportunity to become crystal clear about them in just a moment.


First, let me ask you this.  Is your child or student reading below grade level?  If so, the reading intervention program or programs that you’ve already tried aren’t working.  It’s time to find one that does.


So how do you know what’s at the root of your learner’s reading difficulties?  How do you identify, or “diagnose” if the trouble begins at the phonemic awareness level, at the sound-symbol association level, at the phonics level or something else entirely?


I have two invitations for you to consider.  Both are free.


Invitation #1

Whether you’re a teacher, a parent or a specialist in reading, if your learner in K-6 has been formally evaluated then perhaps you already know that reading is falling apart at the letter-recognition level (sound-symbol association). If that’s true for you I encourage you to sign up for The Letter Sounds Made Simple TEST DRIVE.  It’s a free online video training that includes a downloadable, printable sample lesson of a powerful, effective reading intervention program.


Yes, the program ticks all of those required boxes for structured literacy that we discussed earlier.  It’s also multisensory.  It’s also very easy to implement.  It also leaves struggling readers reading with accelerated confidence in a very short time.


To see if it’s actually a good fit for YOUR learner, you can take it out for a spin for free.  Don’t worry if the sample lesson turns out to be TOO simple for your struggling reader.  Remember, the program starts off easy (systematic).  Each lesson builds upon the letters and letter combinations that your learner mastered in the prior lessons (cumulative).  You can learn more about it here.


Invitation #2

If, on the other hand, you already know that your learner struggles with phonemic awareness (which we need to develop BEFORE letter recognition), OR you’d like to dig deeper and identify what’s REALLY holding your learner back (in reading and beyond) then please sign up for the free training, Looking at Learning Differences Differently.  Once you have a better understanding of what to look for you’ll have a chance to make the next big step in your learner’s journey forward.  By the way, that next big step does include EFFECTIVE phonemic awareness training, plus the complete Letter Sounds Made Simple reading intervention program, and so much more.  It allows you to tailor-fit instruction (with ease) every step of the way.


Whichever direction you choose, if you ever have questions, please don’t hesitate to connect with me here.