Reading and Writing

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 413–436 | Cite as

Making “secondary intervention” work in a three-tier responsiveness-to-intervention model: findings from the first-grade longitudinal reading study of the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities

  • Douglas Fuchs
  • Donald L. Compton
  • Lynn S. Fuchs
  • Joan Bryant
  • G. Nicole Davis


Responsiveness-to-intervention (RTI) is a method for both preventing and helping to identify learning disabilities. An important feature is its multi-tier structure: primary intervention (tier 1) refers to classroom instruction; secondary intervention (tier 2) usually involves more intensive pullout, small-group instruction; and tertiary intervention (tier 3) typically denotes most intensive special education. Despite RTI’s popularity and promise, there are many questions about how to implement it effectively and efficiently. So, in 2001, the Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education funded the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities to conduct two large-scale, field-based, longitudinal, and experimental RTI studies. Both studies, one in reading and one in math, were conducted at first grade, with annual follow up for 3 years in the reading study and 2 years in the math study. This article summarizes findings from the reading study, which was designed to answer three basic questions about RTI’s pivotal secondary intervention: Who should participate in it? What instruction should be conducted to decrease the prevalence of reading disabilities? How should responsiveness and non-responsiveness be defined?


Reading disability Responsiveness-to-intervention Intervention 



The research described in the article was supported in part by Grant #H324U010004 from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs; and Core Grant #HD15052 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, both to Vanderbilt University. This work does not reflect positions or policies of these agencies, and no official endorsement by them should be inferred.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas Fuchs
    • 1
  • Donald L. Compton
    • 1
  • Lynn S. Fuchs
    • 1
  • Joan Bryant
    • 1
  • G. Nicole Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.Peabody CollegeVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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