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Stacking Interventions: How 1:1 Tutoring Moves the Needle for Students who Need it Most

Multi-tiered systems of support transform struggling readers' learning journeys. Stacking interventions inside and outside the classroom can boost reading performance and repetition is the key to success.

Layers of Support

Struggling readers across all ages and grade levels require multiple tiers of systematic and strategic instructional support to learn and practice the skills needed to be an accurate and efficient reader. This idea isn’t new and is the basis for creating Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), an intervention framework adopted and utilized by most school districts in the United States and Canada. Under MTSS, instruction breaks down into three tiers based on the level of intensity. 


Tier 1 is core instruction delivered by classroom teachers to all students, using differentiation as necessary to allow access for all to their grade-level curriculum and learning standards. 
Tier 2 tends to take place in small groups, providing additional differentiated instruction on specific skills or concepts to students based on data that reveals their need for further education or practice. 
Tier 3 is the most intensive intervention tier and often incorporates 1:1 instruction to deliver hyper-customized learning and monitoring to the students who require it. 

Because 1:1 time is challenging in the typical classroom, many schools and districts utilize instructional partners, like Hoot Reading, to fulfill their Tier 3 intervention work. These tiers build upon one another. Students who receive Tier 3 interventions continue to receive Tier 1 instruction and Tier 2 strategic support. The multi-tiered system only works when all tiers work together, delivering the right amount of intervention to the right students. 

Tier 1,2,3


Stacking Interventions Outside of the School Day 

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The MTSS framework exists inside the school day, but the underlying strategy works in all learning environments. Many striving readers attend out-of-school academic programs after school or during the summer. These opportunities provide critical additional hours for students to keep learning and remediating their reading abilities. 

In 2020, Hoot Reading partnered with Read Alliance and the NYU Literacy, Technology & Culture Lab to investigate whether students participating in the Read Alliance teen mentoring and tutoring program and a five-week Hoot Reading intervention outperformed students who only participated in Read Alliance. While students in both groups made impressive gains, combining the two tutoring interventions yielded significant improvements in reading performance, as measured by the DIBELS® assessment. Check out the results below!


To see our complete research report, click here.

At Hoot Reading, we love working with other innovative partners dedicated to improving literacy outcomes for students. The need is great, and so the solution must be multifaceted! Multiple partners and programs are encouraged, especially outside of the school day, to create similar overlapping layers of literacy instruction. 

Repetition is Required

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Reading instruction and intervention at Hoot Reading are always delivered 1:1. One of the key reasons we’re dedicated to our model is that students can learn at their required pace. Unpacking this further, we can drill down to the level of repetition different students require to master the skills we know they need. 

In “A Principal’s Primer for Raising Reading Achievement” (Montgomery, Ilk, and Moats, 2012), the authors provide the following estimated ranges of repetitions required to acquire the foundational skills necessary to learn to read: 

  • 4-14 repetitions for a typical student
  • 14-40 repetitions for a struggling student
  • 40-200 repetitions for a student with dyslexia or other language-based learning disability

All our students are different, but providing multi-tiered instruction and intervention is best practice for all struggling readers to give them the required exposure and repetition. Since we don’t always know the correct number of repetitions that it will take for new learning to stick, we must have places and spaces where students can get the targeted instruction, skillful feedback, and the space and time they need to move forward. Hoot Reading is honored to provide both in-school and out-of-school programs as a strategic support layer for new and striving readers.

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