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3 Alternatives to Double-Dosing in Dyslexia Intervention

There’s quite a conversation happening around double dosing of curriculums or lessons as instruction for our struggling students. Recently, we’ve heard the recommendation of double dosing for reading intervention.

We often share about the importance of understanding the learner, and how working with students in different places on their journey with reading and dyslexia means we need to be diagnostic and prescriptive in our approach. This includes knowing when scaffolds are needed and using them appropriately to move learning forward based on the diagnostic student performance and teacher observations.

When we double-dose in dyslexia intervention, we fail to understand our learner and we are not being diagnostic or prescriptive in our approach. 

What is Double Dosing and Why Doesn’t It Work?

When you hear the term “double-dosing” this refers to using the same lesson or curriculum used during Tier I whole class instruction, again during intervention. It’s considered a double dose because the intervention students are seeing the exact same lesson twice, first in the whole class, and again during small-group intervention. 

This is not the best use of time in small-group intervention and it is problematic for students with dyslexia. If you have students who are not getting the information in Tier I instruction, we need to look at why. What is it that they’re not understanding? Then, we should target that specific skill in their Tier II intervention. 

Running the same lesson in both Tier I and Tier II intervention is not being diagnostic and prescriptive and it does not honor the journey of our students, particularly those with dyslexia. 

Tier I programs are not sufficient for reading intervention students - more of the same will not equate to success! If the student is not moving forward during Tier I lessons, there may be an issue with:

  • Pacing
  • Precision of language
  • Cognitive overload
  • Not enough opportunity to transfer knowledge to practice
  • Not equating to long-term mastery orientation    

Here are Three Alternatives to Double-Dosing in Your Dyslexia Intervention

1. Look at your data and learning profiles to plan prescriptive and diagnostic lessons:

We want to look at the data and learning profiles to plan prescriptive and diagnostic lessons that will suit the needs of our students at that time. This means pulling appropriate tools and resources to address these needs.

If you feel that you are restricted in your choices remember that the art of teaching is the ability to understand how to break down concepts, provide meaningful scaffolds, and meet the needs of the students in front of you. The program you are using does not dictate the pathway for intervention, especially for those with dyslexia. We need to be able to differentiate, scaffold, expand, and truly meet the needs of the student.

2. Know the target goal/concept and observe students within the lesson:

Know the target goal or concept and observe students within the lesson, determine skills within the lesson that are in need, and determine what scaffolds you may need to use to aid in understanding and teaching this concept to students who need more practice. 

For example, if you had a Tier I lesson, and if you did the exact same lesson in Tier II, there will still be gaps because the breakdown wasn't addressed. We need to have the knowledge to go deeper and recognize that we can’t simply push forward.

3. Be mastery-oriented:

We need to be mastery-oriented and remain steadfast. Remember that progress isn't always linear. We may have gaps that we need to pause and go back and fill in or aid in retrieval before moving forward. Intervention requires a lot, but keeping the unique needs of the learner in front of us at the center is key.

For our full conversation on alternatives to double-dosing in your interventions, check out our latest episode of the Together in Literacy podcast. If you like what you hear, don’t forget to rate, leave a positive review, and subscribe!

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