Literacy Intervention in the Middle Grades

Word Learning, Comprehension, and Strategy Instruction, Grades 4-8

Kevin Flanigan and Latisha Hayes
Foreword by Katherine A. Dougherty Stahl

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
December 15, 2022
ISBN 9781462551026
Price: $85.00
252 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
December 15, 2022
ISBN 9781462551019
Price: $35.00
252 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
December 9, 2022
Price: $35.00
252 Pages
print + e-book
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252 Pages
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No two students in grades 4–8 are identical, and many struggle with literacy for different reasons. Using a teacher-friendly, hands-on approach, this eminently practical book walks educators through the nuts and bolts of literacy intervention in the middle grades. Highlights include “North Star” principles to orient instruction, an assessment flowchart, and extended case studies of three middle-grades learners. The book offers evidence-based intervention practices for targeting specific literacy components, including word recognition, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Teachers are guided to plan structured but flexible interventions that promote literacy growth and engagement. Sample lesson plans and clear, engaging figures illustrate how to make literacy intervention work for all students.

“The book leads with 10 powerful ‘North Star’ principles that guide teachers and school leaders to envision high-quality, purposeful, responsive, and practical literacy intervention in grades 4-8. This book will help preservice and inservice teachers to develop a comprehensive understanding of their students as active readers and to target areas of unfinished literacy learning. The book will be useful to anyone designing multi-tiered systems of support in literacy.”

—Stephanie Tatel, MAT, MEd, Coordinator of Literacy, Charlottesville City Schools, Virginia

“As a reading specialist, teacher educator, and researcher working in middle-grades classrooms since 1982, I can attest that Flanigan and Hayes have produced an intervention resource that is both deep and wide. The authors weave theory and case studies in memorable ways that bring important constructs to life. Educators can rely on this book for research-based, explicit, systematic instructional suggestions—for guidance on where to start and where to go next. The practices in this book push hard for measurable progress that kids can see, because for middle-grades learners, there is no time to waste.”

—Kathleen J. Brown, PhD, Director, University of Utah Reading Clinic

“In this exceptional, one-of-a-kind work, master teachers and mentors Flanigan and Hayes guide intermediate and middle-grades teachers to catch students 'before they fall.' The book provides the foundational literacy knowledge required to teach older students with significant literacy challenges. The authors reassuringly demonstrate how to assess, organize, and provide instruction that is developmentally based—so very rare in grades 48, yet so critical—thereby ensuring that instruction will be effective, motivating, and lasting. This book will be welcomed as a robust and powerful resource for undergraduate and graduate courses and professional development workshops.”

—Shane Templeton, PhD, Foundation Professor Emeritus of Literacy Studies, University of Nevada, Reno

Table of Contents

Foreword, Katherine A. Dougherty Stahl

1. Middle-Grades Readers: Introducing Three Case Studies and Debunking Common Myths

2. Middle-Grades Literacy Intervention: “North Star” Principles

3. Start with Assessments

4. Building Automatic Word Recognition with Aliyah

5. Building Fluency with Aliyah

6. Building Vocabulary with Zach

7. Building Comprehension with Zach

8. Building Writing with Zach to Support His Comprehension

9. Building Engagement with Andres

10. Supporting Middle-Grades Students Across the Day

Appendix. Differentiating During Interventions: Three Options for Organizing and Scheduling



About the Authors

Kevin Flanigan, PhD, is Professor in the Literacy Department at West Chester University (WCU) in Pennsylvania. He works in the WCU Reading Center along with master’s students to assess and teach children who struggle to read and write. A former middle-grades classroom teacher and reading specialist/coach, Dr. Flanigan researches and writes about developmental word knowledge and struggling readers. He is coauthor of several books, including Literacy Intervention in the Middle Grades; Assessment for Reading Instruction, Fourth Edition; and Developing Word Recognition.

Latisha Hayes, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education at the University of Virginia (UVA), where she teaches courses on the diagnosis and remediation of reading difficulties. She is also Director of UVA’s McGuffey Reading Center, which works with preservice and inservice teachers to provide students across the grades with diagnostic and tutoring services. As a special educator and reading specialist, Dr. Hayes has taught students with reading disabilities in the primary through middle grades. She is coauthor of several books, including Literacy Intervention in the Middle Grades and Developing Word Recognition.


Classroom teachers, literacy specialists/coaches, and staff developers in grades 4–8; teacher educators and graduate students.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses such as Reading or Literacy Methods (Elementary/Middle), Reading Interventions, and Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Problems.