Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Ray Christner, Psy.D., Chairperson

Second Advisor

James Brad Hale, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jennifer Zavertnik, Ph.D.


Early identification of struggling readers and direct instruction for these readers are effective in the prevention and treatment of reading problems (Torgesen, 2002). The practice of "wait-tofail" is being challenged by the responsiveness to intervention (RTI) models, which promote early identification of at-risk students, progress monitoring, and implementation of researched-based tiered interventions. The prereading skills that have been identified as being necessary for future reading achievement include phonological awareness, letter identification, the alphabetic principle, orthography, and rapid automatized naming. The purpose of this CUl1'ent study is to examine the effectiveness of a Tier 2 intervention program that targets these essential pre reading skills with at-risk kindergarten students and to assess the effectiveness of this intervention. Students received either the fall only, winter only, or all year intervention, two times per week for one-on-one instruction, with progress monitoring occurring at mid-points. Results suggest that a Tier 2 intervention program can significantly improve critical prereading skills with at-risk students and that these improvements can be sustained at the beginning of first grade. Project K groups were able to positively change their reading trajectories and most were not significantly different from the typical mean performance, with no groups falling below the some-risk benchmark, at post-test. Slow responders required more time to learn and to transfer critical prereading skills but with persistent intervention, significant progress was made. Strong responders to the fall intervention benefitted significantly from instruction, which produced high inoculation effects during kindergarten in all preliteracy skills. The different response rates of students are worthy of educators' attention before detelmining whether or not a student should be considered as a nomesponder. As educators and psychologists begin to implement the RTI model within schools, several aspects need to be addressed through research to ensure consistency and to avoid some of the same criticisms of the discrepancy model. Some areas that need to be defined include the elements that constitute a nomesponder, ways to assess a nomesponder, and minimal length of time required of a Tier 2 intervention model.