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Tier 2 FAQs

As more schools use MTSS as the framework for implementing the science of reading, questions arise about the characteristics of the tiers of instruction.

Here are a few FAQs about Tier 2 intervention.

1. What Is The Purpose of Tier 2?

Tier 2 is:

  • provided to the small group of students who are still at risk after the provision of effective Tier 1 instruction
  • designed to accelerate learning
  • aimed at catching students up to grade-level reading goals

2. How Is Tier 2 Defined?

The characteristics of Tier 2 include:

  • small group
  • in addition to, not instead of, Tier 1 instruction
  • 3-5 times per week
  • 30-45 minutes per day
  • explicit, systematic, research-aligned instruction, delivered by a trained instructor
  • focused on eliminating skill deficits
  • frequent progress monitoring so intervention can be changed if it isn't working
  • planned by a grade-level or school-level planning team using screening and diagnostic assessment data

3. How Is Tier 2 Different From Tier 1?

Tier 2 is more intensive, meaning more resources are allotted to students because they are at risk of future reading difficulties, struggling readers, or students with disabilities.

Increased intensity means:

  • smaller group
  • more homogenous group
  • more sessions per week
  • longer duration of each session
  • more frequent progress monitoring

4. How Is Tier 2 Different From Tier 3?

Tier 2 requires less intensive and individualized resources than Tier 3. Tier 2 intervention is typically planned by a grade- or school-level team, whereas Tier 3 is planned by student-level teams that include all who have expertise or a stake in the individual student's reading outcomes, including the student's family and community members.

5. Who Delivers Tier 2 Intervention?

Any educator who has been trained in the research-aligned program or approach. Flexible service delivery in MTSS allows any educator to support intervention, regardless of role or funding source.

6. When Is Tier 2 Provided During the School Day?

Tier 2 is an extra dose of targeted, small-group instruction, so it must be outside of the Tier 1 ELA block. Students may also receive small group instruction in Tier 1.

Here are two common approaches to finding time for Tier 2:

1. Intervention or enrichment for all students in the grade at the same time.

2. Students miss other instruction (math, social studies, specials). This decision is made with the student's parents.

7. How Should Tier 2 Be Evaluated?

The Tier 2 system is effective when the students who receive it reach grade-level reading goals.

8. What Does It Mean to Align Tier 1 and Tier 2?

The answer depends on how many students are at risk and the size of the gap between the skills taught in Tier 1 and the skills of the students.

In some cases, when the gap is small, Tier 2 will involve pre-teaching or re-teaching the skills taught in Tier 1. In other cases, Tier 1 instruction is differentiated and students receive the same small-group instruction in Tier 1 and Tier 2 at two different times of day.

Feel free to reach out if you have additional questions about Tier 2  intervention.

Dr. Stephanie Stollar is the founder of Stephanie Stollar Consulting LLC and the creator of The Reading Science Academy. She is a part-time assistant professor in the online reading science program at Mount St. Joseph University, and a founding member of a national alliance for supporting reading science in higher education

You can follow Stephanie Stollar Consulting and the Reading Science Academy on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and contact her at [email protected].

⭐️ Get Dr. Stollar's free resources on the science of reading here! → 



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