Incremental Rehearsal for Intervention
Guest post by Tanya from First Grade is Fantabulous
Across the grade levels we’ve all been faced with the challenge of providing intervention for students who struggle with tasks such as: letter naming, letter sounds, number recognition, sight word recognition, and math fact fluency. Different schools and districts have different names for the committee that meets to discuss student learning difficulties; but in today’s educational climate, we’re all faced with RtI (Response to Intervention) and we’re all faced with the sometimes difficult task of providing “research based” interventions for our students. One research based intervention that I have had considerable success with is Incremental Rehearsal. I first began using Incremental Rehearsal with a student who I was providing tier III intervention for. For this particular student, nothing else seemed to work. Since then, I’ve continued to use Incremental Rehearsal with many students and have had great success.
What is Incremental Rehearsal?
For classroom teachers, interventionists, and special education teachers; Incremental Rehearsal can be thought of as a flashcard style, research based intervention. Basically, Incremental Rehearsal is a method of presenting unknown material to students by pairing it with known material in a ratio that provides students with the momentum to stay on task, which results in high rates of retention and success. To start Incremental Rehearsal you only need minimal materials, and if you’re a fortunate “techie teacher” with access to appropriate technology (i.e. ipads), you can even set up Incremental rehearsal using a flashcard app.
Is incremental rehearsal a research based intervention?
Yes! Incremental rehearsal is a thoroughly researched intervention. (Yay!) All you need to do is Google Incremental Rehearsal, and you’ll see a plethora of scholarly articles! There are even a few YouTube videos on the subject as well.
What are the benefits of using incremental rehearsal with regular and special education students?
Incremental Rehearsal is beneficial to all students and their teachers. The most significant benefit you will find is that all students, even struggling students, will have success with this method. For teachers, the ease of implementation is a true benefit. You’ll need only very minimal materials to get this up and running in your classroom.
Here’s your start-up guide:
- Teacher assesses the student in an area of need to determine baseline data, known facts, and unknown facts.
- Teacher creates flashcards for nine known facts and one unknown fact.
- Teacher presents facts to student in the following manner:
a.) unknown (top card—telling student what the unknown is), known (2nd card)
b.) unknown (top card), known (2nd card), known (3rd card)
c.) unknown (top card), known (2nd card), known (3rd card), known (4th card)
d.) unknown (top card), known (2nd card), known (3rd card), known (4th card), known (5th card)
**repeat until you have completed the deck of 6-10 cards.**
- After going through all cards, shuffle the known cards around and repeat the process from step 3.
- Repeat daily to ensure continuous progress.
- Be sure to track student progress every 5 days (otherwise known as progress monitoring).
- As unknown facts become known, move them into the known section and replace them with a new unknown fact.
A few more questions about Incremental Rehearsal:
What should I use for baseline data?
Your baseline data can be collected from a variety of resources. I use CBM’s (content based measures) that can be found online. My go to resource (especially for math) is Intervention Central. You can find a variety of printable CBM’s at Intervention Central, plus–all the directions are included there as well. I also use standard sight word lists which you can find online. For my students, I use Dolch, and my go-to website is: Mrs. Perkins’ Dolch Words.
What if students don’t make progress?
This can happen, but give it time. J I’ve found that with some students, the number of cards I use needs to be adjusted. For example: one of my current students has low working memory, I’ve found that for this student I need to limit the number of known cards. For this student I use one unknown card and five known cards.
If a student is still not making progress after using Incremental Rehearsal, you will have the data and progress monitoring evidence to support the next steps, which in some cases, depending on your school and district, may be a referral for special services.
Be sure to pick up my free Incremental Rehearsal Pack!
Tanya has worked as an elementary school teacher for 15 years. She’s taught in both suburban and urban districts. Currently she co-teaches an inclusion class in an inner city elementary school in Poughkeepsie, New York. The majority of her teaching experience has been in the primary grades. For the past 6 years she has taught 1st grade. When she’s not in the classroom, she enjoys creating fun and engaging materials for her students. Check out her Teachers Pay Teachers store or visit her on FaceBook.