Is a Response to Intervention (RTI) Approach to Preschool Language and Early Literacy Instruction Needed?

Charles R. Greenwood, Judith J. Carta, Jane Atwater, Howard Goldstein, Ruth Kaminski, Scott Mcconnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Preschool experience plays a role in children's development. However, for programs with language and early literacy goals, the question remains whether preschool instructional experiences are sufficiently effective to achieve these goals for all children. In a multisite study, the authors conducted a process-product description of preschool instruction, and children's growth and outcomes in typical programs (i.e., Pre-K, Title 1, Head Start, Tuition-Based) using a response to intervention (RTI) perspective. Results indicated that (a) students in their preschool year prior to kindergarten made small gains, but students starting the year in lower Tier 2 and 3 performance levels did not close initial skills gaps, (b) variations were noted by program types with varying sociodemographics and instructional processes, and (c) the quality of instruction (Tier 1) received by all was low with room for improvement. Implications for future research on the application of the RTI approach and potential benefits are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-64
Number of pages17
JournalTopics in Early Childhood Special Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was conducted as part of the work scope of the Center for Response to Intervention in Early Childhood through Grant R324C080011 from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, to the University of Kansas; Charles Greenwood and Judith Carta Principal Investigators.


  • descriptive studies
  • early education programs
  • language acquisition
  • literacy intervention strategies
  • outcomes
  • school readiness


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