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6 Tips for Effective Leveled Literacy Intervention Implementation

You have invested in Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) because you understand the need for small group intervention that will help students get back on track as soon as possible. With intentional planning, you can ensure LLI instruction will have a powerful impact on student achievement.

Here are six tips for effective LLI implementation:

Organize Materials

To maximize the effectiveness of LLI, organize your materials before you start pulling student groups. LLI is rich in materials to support student learning. For each system, you will receive multiple boxes that include teacher resources and student resources. Find space that is ample enough to store the materials but also space that is easily accessible. The goal is to make accessing materials easy. One way to organize the materials to maximize implementation is to store the set of books, lesson word cards, and blank reading record forms in the sturdy plastic lesson folders that are included in the system. Label each lesson folder and place them in order in a filing cabinet or crate so that locating specific lessons can be done quickly.

Schedule Time for Daily Lessons

 It is recommended that students receiving LLI have daily lessons – five days a week, every week so that accelerated progress is possible. It is going to take coordination and support from the entire team (administrators, teachers, and interventionists) to create a schedule that provides students with daily opportunities to participate in LLI. Time is a precious resource. We cannot create more time, but we can create schedules that allow for productive use of it. Primary LLI systems have a 30 minute lesson framework. Intermediate LLI systems have a 45 minute lesson framework. The team should create a schedule that allows enough time for the LLI teacher to teach all parts of the LLI lesson. If LLI is implemented outside of the classroom, be sure to schedule 5-10 minutes between groups, so the LLI teacher has time to transition from one group to the next.

Monitor Student Progress

The LLI System Guides and online tools provide a systematic way to monitor student progress regularly. Use the provided reading record assessment forms to code, score, and analyze students’ precise use of reading behaviors. Take a reading record on one student during the “Rereading and Assessment” portion of the standard even numbered lesson. This will allow you to have a reading record on every student in the group about every two weeks.

Another way to monitor student progress is through detailed record keeping and formative assessment. Lesson Record Forms provide space for the teacher to make notes about individual students during each part of the lesson. Notes consist of specific behaviors related to each students’ use of strategic actions across the LLI lesson. Note what the student can do or what they need to learn to do. Use your notes to plan what you will teach in upcoming lessons.

Flexibility to Meet Individual Student Needs

LLI includes features of a well-designed intervention, but the intervention needs to be based on what you know about your students as readers and writers. The recommended group size for grades K-2 is three students, and for grades 3 and up four students per group is recommended. The small group size allows for close monitoring of student progress and allows the teacher to attend to individual learners.

You may find there will come a time when you need to reorganize groups of students because of individual needs. The groups that you create are not concrete but flexible groupings of students. The intervention should be flexible enough that the teacher can group and regroup students.


Communication is vital between all who have a role in supporting a student’s literacy development. Students’ families need to know the goals of the intervention as well as what students will be expected to do for homework. Communication between the classroom teacher and the interventionist is important so they are working towards the same goals. Administrators need to know the goals of the intervention, how students are progressing, and scheduling needs.

Continue to Develop Your Professional Knowledge

We teach children, not programs; therefore, the most important variable in LLI implementation is the teacher. The quality of the intervention depends upon the skillful use of close observation, assessment, and teaching of strategic actions by the LLI teacher. Teachers of students who find literacy learning difficult need opportunities to continually grow in their professional knowledge of the reading and writing processes.

There are several ways you can develop professional knowledge. Each LLI System Guide includes a monthly professional development calendar with suggestions for working with colleagues in your school or district. The Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative at Lesley University provides options and opportunities for your continued growth as an LLI teacher. If you would like to learn more about effective Leveled Literacy Intervention implementation, save these dates for these upcoming trainings.

Registration coming soon!

  • June 1-2, 2023: Going Deeper with LLI in Grades K-8
  • August 14-16 & October 11-13, 2023: LLI in Grades 3-8
  • August 15-17 & October 11-13, 2023: LLI in Grades K-2


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