Information on this page about the interventions is based on the book, Prevent-Teach-Reinforce: The School-Based Model of Individualized Positive Behavior Support, Second Edition by G. Dunlap, R. Iovannone, D. Kincaid, K. Wilson, K. Christiansen, and P. S. Strain.
What is the strategy? Why does it work?
This strategy involves teaching a student basic skills, such as reading, writing, or math, that will allow the student to be actively engaged and to complete instructional activities. This intervention is selected and implemented when the student is engaging in the challenging behavior because of lack of skills to do the tasks required of them. The strategy may require seeking the expertise of academic area experts.
There are several reasons for using the strategy. First, it is vital for all students to learn basic academic skills. The skills are building blocks on which all content throughout the student’s school years and post-school years are dependent. Second, although teaching replacement behaviors are extremely effective at reducing challenging behavior and increasing appropriate behaviors, if the student does not have the basic academic skills, the replacement behaviors may not be sufficient for future success. Third, there is ample evidence that academic and behavior challenges are closely associated. That is, behavior challenges impact academic challenges and vice versa. Teaching basic academic skills can increase the competence and confidence of the student and make it less likely for the student to need to engage in challenging behavior.
Functions and antecedents the teach specific academic skills intervention works for
If challenging behavior occurs…
- Because the child is lacking necessary academic skills to do instructional tasks.
Steps for Implementation
- Based upon the PTR Assessment data, determine the specific academic skill the student needs to acquire to be actively engaged and complete the task.
- If necessary, consult with content area specialists to get materials, lessons, and other supports to teach the skill.
- Break down the skill to be taught into components. Use the following sequence to teach the skill:
- Provide instruction and rationale for the skill being taught. Provide several real-life examples of how the skill is used.
- Demonstrate how to do the skill by modeling.
- Provide the student with guided practice opportunities after modeling.
- Provide immediate feedback during guided practice including positive comments for correct steps and corrective feedback for errors. Corrective feedback should be followed by more practice opportunities.
- Provide multiple opportunities in the next weeks for the student to practice the skill and continue to provide feedback.
- As the student gains skills, provide multiple exemplars with guided feedback so that the student begins to generalize the skills.
- Gradually fade the practice opportunities contingent upon student data showing increased mastery.
- Continue to probe throughout the school year to ensure generalization.
How to implement this strategy in multiple ways (examples & resources)
- Use Repeated Reading to improve reading fluency by developing decoding automaticity. Students are tasked with reading aloud short passages of text (50-200 words) until they meet a certain criterion of success in terms of particular speed and accuracy goals (Shanahan, 2017)
- Video example (YouTube)
- Intervention Guide & Tools
- Everything You Need to Know About Repeated Reading
- Repeated Reading with Partners – Guide for implementing the strategy with peer partners
- Everything You Wanted to Know About Repeated Reading – FAQs and answers
- Use Corrective Reading to improve reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension (WWC, n.d.)
- Teach the student to decode multisyllabic words
- Revisit the basic concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division if the student is having difficulty with advanced math.
- Plus/minus sign discrimination training: teach student to circle and discriminate the sign of each problem before calculating the answer
- Assess and focus on the specific components of reading such as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, or text comprehension.
Intervention Central Resources:
- Intervention Planner for Academics – free online tool that lets educators put together customized academic intervention plans to address reading, writing, and math issues for struggling learners. Once you have created an academic intervention plan, you can download the plan in text or PDF format and even email it to others. And if you have a free Intervention Central account, you can also save academic intervention plans that you create online for later retrieval.
- Introducing Academic Strategies to Students: A Direct-Instruction Approach –
- Instructional Hierarchy: Matching Interventions to Student Learning Stage –
- Response to Intervention | Academic Interventions – links to strategies for teaching reading (sight words, phonics, comprehension, and fluency), math, writing, self-management, as well as tips for general academic instruction
- Using Internet Academic “Drill & Practice” Activities to Build Fragile Student Skills: Guidelines –
- Skills Inventory Checklists:
- A Sampler of Quick & Easy Academic Intervention Ideas for Reading, Writing, and Math
- Extending Learning Across Time & Space: The Power of Generalization
- Math Review: Promote Success Through Incremental Rehearsal
- Intensive Intervention
- The Savvy Teacher’s Guide: Reading Interventions That Work
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Strong, A. C., Wehby, J. H., Falk, K. B., & Lane, K. L. (2004). The impact of a structured reading curriculum and repeated reading on the performance of junior high students with emotional and behavioral disorders. School Psychology Review, 33(4), 561–581. https://doi.org/10.1080/02796015.2004.12086268
van der Worp-van der Kamp, L., Pijl, S. J., Bijstra, J. O., & van den Bosch, E. J. (2014). Teaching academic skills as an answer to behavioural problems of students with emotional or behavioural disorders: A review. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 29(1), 29–46. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2013.830444
Wehby, J. H., Falk, K. B., Barton-Arwood, S., Lane, K. L., & Cooley, C. (2003). The impact of comprehensive reading instruction on the academic and social behavior of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 11(4), 225–238. https://doi.org/10.1177/10634266030110040401
What Works Clearinghouse. (n.d.). Evidence snapshot: Corrective reading. https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/EvidenceSnapshot/120