RtI for Pre-K

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RtI stands for Response to Intervention and is a very hot topic in the education field right now.  RtI is defined in Federal regulations as part of the recently reauthorized IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).  

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered approach to help struggling learners. Students’ progress is closely monitored at each stage of intervention to determine the need for further research-based instruction and/or intervention in general education, in special education, or both.

-from the RtI Network

What that translates into is identifying struggling students and working with them in small groups or one-on-one to help them learn.   Students can be identified as Tier 1 -all students, Tier 2 –some who need extra help, and Tier 3 –a few who need the most help.

Many believe that RtI is for special ed students, but that is incorrect, RtI is implemented in the general education setting as a way to identify and address individual student needs.

Our district has been using RtI for the last few years in grades K and up, however we have recently begun to examine the possibility of using it in pre-k as well.  This week several of us had the opportunity to attend a conference about Recognition & Response, which is the RtI method for pre-k. 

The presenters were professors from UNC Chapel Hill and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, Dr’s Buysse and Peisner-Feinberg.  While the presentation was great for those with little to no background knowledge or experience with RtI, it was old news to us.  What we were hoping for was a list of proven interventions for Tier 2 that we could use with our pre-k students.  However, the presenters were unable to provide us with any interventions other than one that was not comercially available. 

The presenters did provide a list of websites that I have found useful:

  • CRTIEC– Center for Response to Intervention in Early Childhood- they actually have an example of how they deliver Tier 2 interventions using listening centers, which I thought was an interesting idea. 
  • RtI Network
  • Recognition & Response

If you are using RtI in pre-k what interventions do you use for your Tier 2 students? 

Our other question was about how to find the time to provide these interventions in a half-day setting.  While we currently have a full-day pre-k program, due to lack of funding we are cutting back to half-day next year.  With only 3 hours to provide quality instruction we are struggling to figure out a way to fit RtI into our already jam packed day.  Do any of you use RtI in a half-day setting and if so, how do you fit it in?

I would love to hear your experiences, thoughts, and suggestions regarding RtI in pre-k.  Please post your comments here on the blog so everybody can benefit, I hope to hear from you soon!

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