Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS), Reading

Dear Families,

One of the greatest gifts we can give to anyone is to help them learn to read. We know that as your child’s first and most important teacher, you value your child’s literacy skills. We want to partner with you to open the world for your child through reading. For each child, the path to developing literacy skills is unique and the supports at school may be different.

As shared at the latest Board of Education meeting, the Bethlehem Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) provides various levels of support for students. While the MTSS is in place for a variety of student needs, the presentation and information below specifically address reading, which research tells us is a key to academic success. The process to identify students for extra support helps us to target which specific skills are needed, so that our instruction can be focused on these.


Common, standardized assessments

  • All students are assessed through observation, analysis of written work and a standardized reading (gr. 1-5)  assessment at the start of the year to determine their current levels of literacy skills.
  • All gr. 1-5 students take the iReady assessments.This standardized measure gives us information about each student’s reading performance in the six areas that research has shown to be important for good reading. 
    • Phonemic Awareness 
    • Phonics
    • High Frequency Words
    • Vocabulary 
    • Comprehension (in both fiction and nonfiction passages)
  • iReady assessments are given over the course of several weeks, sometimes just 20 minutes at a time, depending on a child’s stamina.

Additional assessments 

  • Students who perform below grade level on the iReady diagnostic test are assessed with an additional standardized tool called Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS). The information gleaned from the DIBELS provides teachers with insight into the specific reading challenges individual students face.
  • IReady and DIBELS data, along with teacher observation, are used to determine which students would most benefit from additional reading support beyond standard classroom instruction and at what frequency. 
  • Students who perform below the 20th percentile districtwide will receive targeted reading support for the first 8 weeks of school. 

Follow Up

  • After 8 weeks of personalized instruction, student data will be reviewed.
  • Reading support may be adjusted based on student progress 
  • Families will be informed of student progress and any changes in the level of support


Thank you for partnering with us on this most important goal for your child. If you have any questions about this process or MTSS in general, please feel free to contact Jen Szpila, BC Assistant Principal at or your child’s school principal.