Let’s Talk Intervention!

Hi all and thanks so much for joining me on this wonderful Monday!  This post is all about INTERVENTION time!  I get asked a lot how I “run” intervention in my classroom!  This post is dedicated for all things intervention! Let’s start with this quote….

The more one repeats an action or
recalls the information, the more dendrites sprout to connect new memories to
old, and the more efficient the brain becomes in its ability to retrieve that
memory or repeat the action. (Judy Willis, M.D.)

To me that simply says that students need to hear something over and over… and not only “hear” it but also practice it over and over for success!   I have always enjoyed intervention time because you get to see the kiddos at their own comfort level (or right above it) and you see them blossom!

How does intervention block look at your school?
At my school each grade has a set intervention block which is 30 minutes.  They are set times that the entire grade level participates in.  They also do not overlap with other grade levels so that the title and supporty staff can assist in each grade level for that 30 minutes (and then extra time slots through the day).  We have 5 teachers per session but this would work with even 2 teachers, etc!  We eventually divide the students five ways and disperse them into each of our 5 classrooms.  However, we do not start this until late September- early October.

How do I start “intervention” in Kindergarten?

If you are a kindergarten teacher then you know that first month to two months is a vital time but a fragile time!  I wouldn’t recommend switching your kids that early.  They are still learning routines, procedures and really still getting to know you!  Those first 8 weeks of school during our 30 minute intervention block we use my program called Kinder Start!

KinderStart is a 8 week teacher scripted curriculum!  The program is broken down into three areas; oral story telling, phonemic awareness, and phonics!  For the storytelling portion the students are introduced to Brisket!  Brisket goes on a new adventure each day and the kids get to listen in and answer simple recall questions!  Following the storytelling is phonemic awareness!  For phonemic awareness the students are introduced to and practice: rhyming, syllables, onset-rime, segmenting, and blending!   The final section is phonics!  Here the students work on letter sorts, alphabet, color words and more!  Please note this section is not for letter name/sound introduction!   The students are introduced to basic phonics concepts!

Here’s Brisket!!!

What skills are covered in KinderStart?

Week 1: Rhyming {Identifying} and Names
Week 2: Syllables and Names
Week 3: Onset/Rime and Alphabet Introduction {Abc’s}
Week 4: Rhyming {Generating} and Letter Sorting {by attribute}
Week 5: Single Sounds and Alphabet Games {maniupulating letters}
Week 6: Blending and Color Words
Week 7: Segmenting and Color Words
Week 8: Segmenting and Words in Sentences

Again, everything needed to implement KinderStart is included within the packet!

Below you can see additional material that is included!  No more hunting down “stuff” those first couple of months!

Please note that KinderStart is teacher led!  You might be thinking that this looks a little tough for the first two months of kinder, but with a teacher’s guidance- it’s perfect!

A look closer at the more of the phonics and color additions to the unit!

Again, KinderStart is what I use for the first 8 weeks before my students start switching for intervention time!

Also included in KinderStart is a phonemic awareness assessment tracker!  This will be vital for me later when I go to choose my intervention groups!   We know our sweet kinders need our tending loving care, BUT we have seen year after year that our kinders come in with a wide range of skills!  I have always tried to assess my students on phonemic awareness early in the year!  This helps guide my instruction and allows me to know another “piece” of information about my incoming kinders!  This is also a great way to show improvement through using this program with fidelity! Along with the above assessment I have also included a phonemic awareness tracker!  It’s perfect for a visual of who has the skills and who is still lacking!

Okay, It’s time to start.  How do I divide up my students?


After the first 8 weeks of KinderStart it is now time to divide up the students into their intervention group.  However, first I’d like to mention that these groups should always be viewed as “fluid”.  At any point in the year the students can be moved and placed into a new group.  In the past I have seen this mainly when we place them into a “lower” group and they take off like a rocket and need moved up!  We never want to hinder them either way…with it being too easy or too hard!  Move them around to a place where they will be successful!

When choosing how to divide your students you need to first decide what groups are available.  I have done those needing intensive letter id/sound help (that’s the kiddos needing handwriting too) and those that are ready to start building words (this is for the kids that know about 80% of their letters/sounds).

Now just like I mentioned the students can be fluid so can your groups!  Every year we start with 3 letter groups and 2 word building groups.  By the end of the year we have 1 letter groups and 4 word building groups!  That’s the goal…we want to move them from the letter group to the word building group (and beyond).

To get an initial idea of which group the students belong in I always start with a letter id assessment!  You can grab this freebie assessment tracker HERE.

As I mentioned above I also use the phonemic awareness tracker from KinderStart to gauge my student’s overall success in beginning of kinder concepts.  I then make a list of my students and place them under the column I feels sets them up for success!  I made two headers: Lettervention and KinderWordBuilding!  This will let me know if they need to go through an intensive letter program or they are ready for word building.  A word of caution!  Don’t be fooled by the term “word building.”  When KinderWordBuilding starts the students are presented with about 6 letters on their board.  Let’s say they have p, h, c, t, m, a on their board.  If you say build the word “cat.”  Most likely if they are comfortable with letters/sounds they can do that!  If they are missing just a handful of letters/sounds I am still confident they will be successful in KinderWordBuilding!

Okay, so I have my two list of names and so do my fellow team teachers.  We compare list and decide from there how many letter groups we need and how many word building groups we will have!  We then take it a little further for the word building groups and break them down again into a medium and high!  We know we have word builders and then we have kids that have been word building and reading for a couple years!


We have our groups!  Now What?

Alright, you have your list of names and how many of each program you’ll be teaching (Lettervention or KinderWordBuilding).  Now you need to decide what teachers are teaching what.  In my building we have a teacher that is beyond AWESOME with those low babies…she willingly takes them on and works wonders on them!  I would open it up to your team and see what they prefer!  We all know that when we are enjoying what we are teaching the students are only going to benefit more!  At our school Title does pull students during this time but it’s maybe 10 students.  The rest of the students are still with us… that means our intervention group is still the size of an average classroom!  But trust me it still works!

You have your groups, the teachers know what they are teaching, and now it’s time to get acquainted with the two programs I think you’ll fall in love with!  Lettervention and KinderWordBuilding!

Let’s start with Lettervention!  Lettervention is a VERY systematic program!  When I say “very”- – I mean it!  The plans will looks similar because that’s the point!  These low babies don’t need bells, whistles, flips and fluff….they need nuts and bolts!  They need repetition and consistency!  Lettervention also uses a ton of “repeated language.”  This simply means that the teacher will use the same phrases over and over again… “What letter is this. Yes, this is a t.  T says…/t/.  What letter is this?  Yes, T, t, /t/”

You can listen to me ramble about Lettervention HERE!

For Lettervention you would invite the students to the carpet as you begin the lesson.  During the handwriting portion they could do that at the carpet with a lap board or have them return to tables!

Lettervention dedicates two days per lowercase letter and capital letter!  I would recommend that you teach two letters per week and use Fridays for assessment or review of the letters taught thus far!  With Lettervention, handwriting is a huge part!  I have included a handwriting template that can simply be placed into a sheet protector!   Please note too before I get too far into the program that you can change the order of the letters 100%!  You do not need to follow my order.  My order is a researched-based order of introducing letters based on their like strokes but you can swap them around and the program is not altered!

Below is a visual of the included material!

A look at the lesson plans!

Up next is KinderWordBuilding!  KinderWordBuilding is a 20 week literacy intervention program!  There are actually 15 built in assessment days so the program is 115 academic days!    The program makes its way through short vowels, mixed short vowels, digraphs, mixed digraphs, double ending consonants, long vowels and mixed long vowels!  You can read more extensively on KinderWordBuilding at THIS post.

Keep in mind that all lessons can be adjusted to fit your needs.  However, a sample whole-group KinderWordBuilding lesson could look like this; students meet at the carpet, students retrieve their letter boards, teacher gives students the first word to build, students build word, students verify their words by viewing the teachers interactive letter board {included in the unit}, students clear their board, students build and check remaining words, students place their boards away and retrieve their journals, teacher prompts students to write each word into their journal, students do so then verify the accuracy of the word by using the teacher’s interactive journal, students write and check sentence, students place journals away and sit at carpet, students read interactive fluency sentences, students read fluency cards, teacher wraps up lesson.

Below is a look at the scope and sequence!

Here is a visual of the daily lesson step-by-step!

Let’s look at a sample lesson!

Step One: Build the words.

Step Two:  Write the words.

Step Three: Read the word in context.

Step Four: Read the words in isolation.

Watch a KinderWordBuilding lesson below!


What do I need for KinderWordBuilding?  Below you can see that it takes magnetic letters, magnetic boards and journals (included).

Okay, review it all once more!

Alright, the first 8 weeks of school you will keep your own kiddos!  You can utilize the effectiveness and stress-less KinderStart or option in your own ideas!  After the 8 weeks you’ll sit down with your data and divide your students up into two sections.  Those needing letter help and/or handwriting and those ready to start building words!  Those needing letter help will go through Lettervention and those ready for word  building will move into KinderWordBuilding!

I need more options!

If you are first grade teacher and/or second grade teacher I also have Firstievention and Second Grade Intervention!  Both of those programs follow the same format an daily routine as KinderWordBuilding!  Actually, a lot of kindergarten teachers will move their kids into Firstievention once they master KinderWordBuilding!  I also have FirstieStart if you are first grade teacher and would like a 4 week boost to your year!


So… I LOVE these programs but my admin is not going to go for something that is NOT researched-based.  Can you help me?

YES, I can help!  I am listening to you and know that you are struggling with getting these awesome programs into the hands of your littles because of the “R” word!  I have compiled a wide range of articles and researchers in THIS document!  Hopefully this will ease the fear of your admin!  I also hope from them the leap of faith, the faith that you know what is best for your kids!  You can also show the thousands of teacher feedback that been left for these programs!  They have found success coast to coast and far beyond that!

Tell me about management!

As I mentioned we switch our kiddos between the five classrooms.  In our own room we say if you are going with Mrs. ___ go line up, Mrs. ___ go line up, Mrs. ____ go line up, etc.  If you stay with me have a seat at the carpet.  Then one teachers watches two rooms and another teacher travels the “train” of kiddos down the hall.  Other that are going back will join in.  We are actually split with 3 down one hall and 2 down another hall.  If you are lucky to be next to another then even better!  The students are to stand quietly outside the teacher’s door until she invites them in.  After intervention block we all bring our intervention class to the restroom,  use the restroom and the line back up with their homeroom teacher!  We then all head to lunch!  We have also done it where the kiddos line up with their intervention teacher after recess which is great…except for snow days, cold days, and rain days 😛

Wait, what about KinderPhonics or FirstiePhonics?

Yes, this is a COMMON question that I would like to explain.  Again, these programs are being used during my intervention block.  You can view my schedule HERE.  I have a separate phonics block!  That is where I would be starting KinderPhonics lesson one or if in first grade then FirstiePhonics lesson one!  I run those two programs simultaneously (KinderStart and KinderPhonics).  It’s a common misconception that you think you would do KinderStart and then do KinderPhonics.  There is nothing wrong with that and it’s completely your choice!  KinderStart remember does not teach explicit letters so I don’t want my kiddos to wait 8 weeks to start letters!  That is why I start KinderStart at the same time as KinderPhonics!  That was a MOUTHFUL!

I LOVE KinderStart but I do not have an intervention block, what about me?

This is another very common question and no fretting!  Do you do literacy centers?  Small group reading?  Daily five?  Most likely the first 8 weeks of school you are not running that block of time 100% because everyone is still learning!  This program is great for that time of the day!  It plugs in there nicely and again no tracking down materials to teach those important concepts, it’s all included in KinderStart!



I also have an intervention bundle if you’re interested in all three grade levels!

In closing…

I am most certain that I have left something out!  If you have any questions or would like me to help you with your specific “set up” for intervention please always feel free to email me (li******************@gm***.com)!  If you have the opportunity to do a grade level intervention time I truly feel that you’ll LOVE it!  We are the tigers so ours is Tiger Time and the kiddos love it and love the independent of switching classrooms as well!


  1. I throughly enjoyed reading this post on intervention in kindergarten! I agree with you in that the first 8 weeks are delicate and important so it is best to not switch until after. In my school we based our intervention off of our common assessment data. We not only create groups within our classroom, but also across the grade level so that some students may go with another kinder teacher for her small group intervention based on their needs. Your strategies, resources, and research have inspired me to change some things about my own intervention for next year in hopes that everything runs smoother. Thanks for the resources!

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