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Supplemental Instruction: Layers of support that align with classroom instruction to assure success for those finding literacy learning difficult

By Diane Powell

Supplemental instruction, a part of every school, is provided to support students who are finding literacy learning difficult. However, supplemental instruction is often piecemeal – not connected to what students are learning in their classrooms. Often it is a highly scripted program that is purchased with the promise of improving student achievement but without an alignment to what they are learning elsewhere.

In Literacy Collaborative Schools, a comprehensive plan allows the classroom as well as the supplemental instruction to be aligned and cohesively recursive so that what is learned in one area can be used and expanded upon in the other.  The supplemental instruction is seen as a short-term intervention – with a plan for ceasing the additional support as soon as students are able to benefit from the regular classroom instruction only. And finally, progress monitoring is ongoing both in the supplemental teaching and in the regular classroom setting to determine next best steps to close the gap between the two.

Think about these questions and share your comments:

  • What kinds of interventions (supplemental instruction) are available to the students in your schools who are finding literacy learning difficult?
  • How is what students are learning in supplemental programs applicable to what they’re learning in the regular classroom?
  • How quickly are students leaving the supplemental instruction to return to and benefit from regular instruction in the classroom?
  • How are the gaps being closed for students who began the supplemental instruction behind their peers in the classroom?
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