Academic journal article The Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Intervention

Three-Tier Models of Reading and Behavior

Academic journal article The Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Intervention

Three-Tier Models of Reading and Behavior

Article excerpt


This paper provides a description of three-tier intervention models for reading and behavior. Although there is scientific evidence that the implementation of interventions at one or more levels of these models leads to improved reading or behavior performance, there is a paucity of research detailing the integration of three-tiered reading and behavior models. A future direction in the area of reading and behavior intervention models should be the integration of these models. This future direction is briefly discussed.

Keywords: Gating, Model of reading intervention, model of behavioral intervention.


Students must learn to read to be successful in our educational system and society as a whole. Kame'enui, Carnine, Dixon, Simmons, and Coyne (2002) noted, "reading opens up the world for children and is the doorway to learning. Unlike any other ability, the capacity to read allows children access to the collective knowledge, history, and experiences of our shared symbolic humanity" (p. 54). Even though reading is one of the most valued skills in the nation, many students continue to struggle learning to read. When students can't read, precious resources in schools are devoted to remediating the skills of struggling readers, which is estimated to be as high as 70% of older students (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004). Additionally, 80 to 85% of students identified with learning disabilities have reading as their primary area of difficulty (Kame'enui et al., 2002). Deficits in reading achievement are associated with a host of negative outcomes including below grade level performance across the curriculum, grade retention, and failure to graduate (U. S. Department of Education, 2003). It is no wonder why reading has been the focus of instruction in the classroom, especially since the No Child Left Behind Act was passed.

As with reading difficulties, student behavior problems remain a primary concern to the general public and teachers. Not only is the proportion of individual students with severe behavior problems continuing to grow, but the severity and frequency of the antisocial behaviors displayed by these students continues to erode school climate and slow progress toward boosting academic achievement (Department of Health and Human Services, 1999; Walker, Ramsey, & Gresham, 2004). Effective methods for managing and responding to student misbehavior are critical. Walker, Ramsey, and Gresham (2003) noted, "aggression, disruptive, and defiant behavior wastes teaching time, disrupts the learning of all students, threatens safety, overwhelms teachers--and ruins their own chances for successful schooling and a successful life" (p. 6). Without the use of effective management programs, schools can expect to observe more than 20% of their students exhibiting problem behaviors (Scott, 2001). Additionally, Walker et al. (2003) noted, "schools can do a lot to minimize bad behavior--and in doing so, they help not only antisocial children, they greatly advance their central goal of educating children" (p. 6).

The purpose of this paper is to describe three-tiered models under which reading and behavior programs are designed. Additionally, the need to integrate reading and behavior models will be discussed.


There is an urgency in schools to eliminate or to prevent reading failure using research-validated programs. Torgesen (2000) noted, "children who become adults with low levels of literacy are at an increasing disadvantage in a society that is creating ever higher demands for effective reading skills in the workplace" (p. 55). To aid in the elimination or prevention of reading failure, Vaughn and Linan-Thompson (2003) discussed the three-tier reading model. The authors noted that "to optimize learning opportunities for students, instruction at each level (primary, secondary, and tertiary) is more intense and explicit and the instructional group is reduced" (p. …

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