PA Response to Intervention and Instruction Initiative (RtII) – Secondary Schools

“Anita Archer, Ph.D., recipient of eight outstanding educator awards, has taught elementary and middle school students and has been a faculty member at San Diego State University, the University of Washington, and the University of Oregon. She currently serves as an educational consultant to school districts on effective instruction, classroom management, language arts instruction, and study skills instruction. She is a nationally known presenter and has authored training and curriculum materials, chapters, and books. Among her works are the acclaimed REWARDS reading program and the Tough Kid Video Series.”*

During December 2009 and March 2010, Dr. Archer visited five Middle School learning sites in Pennsylvania as part of the Secondary Response to Intervention and Instruction (RtII) initiative. These schools included FDR Middle School in the Bristol Township School District, Chartiers Valley Middle School in the Chartiers Valley School District, Clairton Middle School in the Clairton City School District, Swatara Middle School in the Central Dauphin School District, and Drexel Hill Middle School in the Upper Darby School District.

While visiting these schools, Dr. Archer taught several demonstration lessons that illustrate effective instructional strategies for developing reading comprehension skills in a variety of subject areas by actively engaging students in their learning. Following each demonstration lesson, she conducted “de-briefing” sessions with teachers to review the strategies and skills that she demonstrated during these lessons.

Video segments from the demonstration lessons can be viewed in the Classroom Instruction Videos section below.

*Source: Sonoma County Office of Education, 2008 • All Rights Reserved • 5340 Skylane Boulevard, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 • (707) 524-2600 •


Classroom Instruction Videos

The video segments that follow illustrate effective “Before, During, and After” Reading Comprehension strategies, using active student engagement.

Click on the links below to access Power Point Presentations prepared by Dr. Archer that complement the videos on this page:

Getting Them All Engaged: Inclusive Active Participation in Secondary Classes

Reading Comprehension: Strategies forTeachers and Students

Response to Intervention and Instruction: Components of Reading

Before reading, the teacher establishes expectations for student participation.

SLANT (Sit up, Listen, Ask/Answer, Nod/Note, Track)

Establishing partners

Think/say response cues

Before reading, the teacher prepares the students to engage with the text.

Activates prior background knowledge

Teacher and students share examples

Morphology (the identification, analysis and description of the structure of words)

Before reading, the teacher sets a purpose for reading the text that includes an element of accountability.

Strategy preview

Preserves student work (graphic organizers, two and three column charts, partial notes)

Before reading, complex terms and phrases and the organizational pattern of the text are pre-taught.

Introduces vocabulary (pronunciation, embedded in context, examples/non-examples, word relatives)

Uses technology to define difficult phrases and terms

Text book walk (previews text/chapter structure – beginning, middle, end)

During reading, students interact with the text using questioning, visualizing, predicting, summarizing, connecting, and demonstrating techniques.

Paragraph shrinking

Passage reading

Teacher and student generated questions

Expository text

Narrative text

During and after reading, teacher provides scaffolds for the demands of the text.

Choral reading

Partner reading (Me or We)



After reading, students have the opportunity to discuss, either orally or in writing, their responses to the text with the teacher and/or their peers.

Reading logs

Students complete assignments that incorporate review, rehearsal, and/or reflection

Active reading/note taking/summarizing passage content

Organizing critical information (graphic organizers)

Vocabulary practice

Responding to PSSA open-ended prompts