It is 6 p.m. and I have just wrapped up a “laborious” hour of math homework with my daughter. Math homework is typically my husband’s “job,” but tonight he is at a meeting so I am in charge. Just like my daughter, I find reading work much easier than the abstract tasks associated with the math work that comes home every night. Students struggling with math is very real but has not necessarily gained as much attention as students struggling with reading. Math Response to Intervention—identifying students who may be at risk of falling through the cracks either in reading or in math—is redefining education. However, the challenges that exist in implementing RTI for math can be significantly different than those for reading.
In the video below, Lynn Fuchs, a senior advisor from the National Center on Response to Intervention (http://www.rti4success.org/aboutus/staff#lfuchs), talks about these differences. She reflects that reading intervention is, in some ways, more straightforward because learning in the early years provides the building blocks for later comprehension and fluency, whereas math knowledge can follow a more indirect path including fractions, geometry, calculus, and measurement that don’t all naturally emanate from one another.
It’s no surprise that teachers are leading the charge on innovative interventions for struggling students. Technology is a very simple vehicle teachers can use to support these students. For example, Gabrielle Smith from Etna Elementary School brought an iPad into her classroom and used an application to test math facts among her students, making it fun to practice facts over and over again while storing children’s scores and progress. Overall, as teachers I think we need to be aware of the differences between reading and math as it relates to Response to Intervention.
National Literacy Consultant, Benchmark Education
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