The Comprehensive Intervention Model (CIM) is a well-coordinated, systemic and seamless design for providing for reversing the reading failures through layers of instructional interventions that combine differentiated classroom instruction and supplemental interventions within small group and one-to-one settings. The interventions are delivered in two waves of literacy defense: the first wave is K-3 and the second wave is 4-12. The goal of Wave 1 is to increase the overall literacy achievement by the end of third grade and to reduce the number of children identified with learning disabilities within 1.5% or less of the general population. In Wave 2 (4-12 grades), interventions focus on research-based strategies for reading and writing in the content areas.
The CIM is a systemic approach to literacy improvement. Reading Recovery Teacher Leaders and Literacy Coaches are viewed as facilitators of continuous system change process. Within the CIM, Reading Recovery teacher leaders provide specialized training and ongoing professional development for intervention teachers, who work with struggling readers in K-3 grades, including Reading Recovery in first grade. Literacy Coaches provide training and support for classroom and early intervention teachers. At the intermediate and middle school levels, literacy coaches spend up to 40% of their time working with small groups of struggling readers daily and the rest of their time working with classroom and intervention teachers.
The system goal of the CIM is to change the achievement profile of a school by providing: a) research-based interventions that increase the literacy levels of low-performing children, and b) initial training and on-going professional development for teachers in order to increase their expertise in teaching struggling learners.
The CIM includes individual and small-group interventions, including Reading Recovery in first grade. The small-group interventions can be delivered as either pullout or push-in interventions with the exception of the writing process group, which is generally implemented during writing workshop in the classroom. The small group interventions are described below (information on Reading Recovery can be found under the Reading Recovery link).
- Guided Reading Plus Groups are for children in grades one to three who are reading at the early to transitional levels of reading and writing, but are lagging behind their classmates. The lesson format spans two days with 30 minutes of instruction per day. Day 1 includes four components: pre-planned word study activity, orientation to the new book, independent reading with teacher observations and follow-up teaching points, including discussion of the message. On Day 2, the lesson format begins with assessment: the teacher takes a running record on two children while the other students read easy or familiar texts. Then the focus shifts to the writing component, which includes four predictable parts: responding to yesterday's guided reading text, composing individual messages, writing independently, and holding one-to-one writing conferences with the teacher.
- Assisted Writing Groups are designed to support first grade children at the early stage of writing development who are lagging behind their classmates. During interactive writing and, later, writing-aloud, the students learn about the writing process: composing, revising and editing strategies, and the link between reading and writing.
- Writing Process Groups are designed for first to fourth grade children who are struggling with the writing process in their writing workshop classrooms. The Intervention Specialist provides tailored instruction that focuses on the writing process, including drafting, revising, crafting, editing, and publishing processes.
- Comprehension Focus Groups are for children who are reading at the transitional level and beyond in grades two and higher and who are having difficulty comprehending the wide range of text genres as they move up the grades. The interventions are designed to help students develop reading and writing knowledge for three major text types: literary, informational, and persuasive. The intervention includes two major components: 1) students participate in a comprehension focus unit around a specific text type or genre for a minimum of 3 weeks, and 2) students participate in the writing process by developing an original piece of writing within the genre of the focus unit. The lessons are 30 minutes daily.
The Comprehensive Intervention Model recognizes that reading and writing are complex, meaning-making processes. The goal of each intervention is to develop self-regulated, strategic readers and writers who are able to solve literacy problems with flexibility, efficiency, and understanding. The various components of the intervention groups are designed to promote the following literacy processes: oral language development, concepts about print, phonemic awareness, phonics, problem-solving strategies, comprehension strategies, fluency, word-solving strategies, reading and writing reciprocity, the writing process (including composing, transcribing, revising strategies, and crafting techniques), knowledge of text structures, and task persistence.
The components of the various groups within the CIM provide children with constructive reading and writing opportunities. The components ensure that children will receive appropriate literacy experiences that will enable them to reach their highest potential in literacy and are based on the following principles:
- Children become better readers and writers with practice.
- Reading and writing are reciprocal processes.
- Children's past experiences form a knowledge base for new learning.
- Beginning readers should have many opportunities to learn about print.
- Hearing books read aloud is a vital part of learning how to read.
- Children should engage in active book discussions and share their reading and writing with others.
- Reading is a meaning-making, problem-solving process.
- Beginning readers should have a well-designed phonics program.
- Children should write every day.
In the CIM, intervention schedules are developed collaboratively during intervention team meetings and are based on data gathered from initial assessments, progress monitoring, and observations. The schedules must remain flexible to meet the changing needs of the student population.
Selecting students for intervention is an important part of the school wide plan. Students are selected based on their performance in the classroom and careful assessment of reading and writing achievement. The school's intervention team meets regularly to review assessment results and develop a plan for each student who is lagging behind his peers. The team completes a Literacy Intervention Plan for each child, which is reviewed and updated periodically.
Students are selected to participate in small group intervention because they are fragile learners who are in the process of taking on literacy learning. They may still be in Reading Recovery, may be recently discontinued from a series of Reading Recovery lessons, may be among other low achievers in the classroom not eligible for Reading Recovery services, or may be new arrivals to the school.
An intervention assessment wall is one tool used by the school to identify students who are lagging behind grade level expectations in reading and writing. Based on classroom performance and assessments, classroom teachers place each student on the intervention wall in one of four categories: advanced, proficient, basic, and below basic. The intervention wall makes the needs of the whole school visible to the intervention team and allows the team to make data-driven decisions on the best use of resources to intervene in the learning progress of children who are behind.
Placement assessments are used for the purposes of identifying a child's specific areas of strengths and weaknesses so that the teaching can be tailored to meet the needs of individual students and helping to determine possible reading interventions for specific students. Following the administration of the appropriate placement tests, the intervention team reviews the results and develops an intervention plan for each student. In addition to placement assessments, teachers keep track of students' progress on an ongoing basis. These periodic assessments provide a check on whether students are working on material of appropriate difficulty and capture the progress of individual students. Progress monitoring assessments also provide data for the intervention team when making decisions about when to discontinue or modify a student's intervention plan.
Training for the CIM begins with a weeklong Comprehensive Intervention Model summer institute as an intensive introductory experience, followed by an apprenticeship model, in which teachers apply the learning in their schools as they work with children and/or classroom teachers during the school year.