Implementing PRESS

Implementing PRESS

PRESS offers a variety of professional learning options:

  • Onsite and virtual workshops hosted by districts, schools, or state education agencies
  • Online, self-paced PRESS course
  • Stand-alone purchase of PRESS Intervention Manual and PRESS Community website offering the tools and learning resources to implement the framework

Full implementation can be accomplished within one school year or gradually across multiple years. Districts may select specific staff to begin PRESS implementation and then scale-up, or approach implementation across all staff, grades K-5.  

Who implements PRESS? 
We see PRESS implemented in a variety of ways.  Classwide (Tier 1) interventions are implemented by classroom teachers and, if available, supported by literacy coaches.  Classwide interventions are particularly targeted toward schools with high levels of students requiring intervention. Tier 2 interventions can be implemented by classroom teachers and/or interventionists and, occasionally, by other support staff.  In schools with high needs for intervention, responsibilities are typically shared by teachers and interventionists to fully meet students’ needs.   Learn more from educators about the impact of PRESS in their school.

Considering the variety of staff who may implement PRESS interventions, we recommend developing an implementation team to guide the initial roll-out of PRESS and provide ongoing support.  PRESS offers customized support to school leadership teams before, during, and after implementation. 

PRESS works directly with education agencies, districts, and individual schools to provide workshops and consulting services. To view a map of schools where PRESS has provided on-site implementation support, click here.

Contact us to discuss implementation options and receive a workshop pricing quote.

PRESS Resources

Implementation requires a purchase of two PRESS resources:

  • PRESS Intervention Manual
  • PRESS Community Website 

Resources can be purchased:

Please contact us with questions!

Rationale for Multi-tiered Systems of Support in Reading with PRESS

Becoming a successful reader is related to many positive life outcomes including academic accomplishment, enhanced career opportunities, and less likelihood of entering the criminal justice system (Hernandez, 2012). Despite the critical importance of literacy learning for the lifelong success of each person, 65% of fourth graders in the United States are below a proficient level in reading (NCES, 2019). 

Multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) refers to structures in schools that use data to identify students who require additional support to successfully meet grade-level benchmarks (Jimerson, Burns, & VanDerHeyden, 2015).  A successful MTSS model relies on 80% of the students working at grade level in reading (Batsche et al, 2005), but this scenario is often not the case as evidenced by NCES statistics (2019). When a majority of students in a grade are identified as needing a Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention, the school should first address Tier 1 to better meet the needs of all students (Batsche et al., 2005). Thus, identifying Tier 1 issues is an important step in the problem-solving process of any MTSS framework (VanDerHeyden, Witt, & Naquin, 2003).
PRESS classwide interventions can be a powerful tool to use at the Tier 1 level by providing targeted instruction delivered by the classroom teacher before considering allocating resources to Tier 2 interventions. A classwide intervention is a practice that can be employed when more than half a classroom’s students are performing below the universal screening benchmark (VanDerHeyden & Burns, 2010). A classwide intervention is selected using screening data to target a specific area of reading and is administered through whole-group instruction for 10-12 consecutive days. Following the classwide intervention, an additional screening measure is administered to all students. Students who remain below the benchmark criterion will be identified as needing Tier 2 support. Several studies have demonstrated the potential effectiveness for implementing classwide interventions in the elementary setting (VanDerHeyden & Burns, 2005; Burns, et al., 2015).  



PRESS tier 2 interventions offer targeted and explicit skill instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary – all including recommended enhancements for English learners.

Often, interventions implemented for Tier 2 rely on standardized protocols or commercially prepared intervention packages that tend to be comprehensive (i.e., address multiple components of reading) in nature (Vaughn et al., 2008). A recent meta-analysis compared the effectiveness of a comprehensive intervention (addressed multiple components of reading; g = .35) to a targeted intervention (addressed one component of reading based on student need; g = .65), and found that the latter was more effective than the former (Hall & Burns, 2018). Interventions in general were more effective if they targeted the student’s area of need (Burns, VanDerHeyden, & Boice, 2008), but how to best accomplish this for small-group interventions has not been well researched. Burns and colleagues (Burns & Gibbons, 2013; VanDerHeyden & Burns, 2010) proposed a model for Tier 2 that uses a standardized approach, but that also targets interventions based on the categories of the National Reading Panel areas (NRP; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000): phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and vocabulary/comprehension.

PRESS interventions target the NRP reading categories noted above and provide explicit skill instruction with protocols for frequent progress monitoring.  Learn more about our research and interventions here.


Batsche, G., Elliott, J., Graden, J. L., Grimes, J., Kovaleski, J. F., Prasse, D., & Tilly III, W. D. (2005).  Response to intervention: Policy considerations and implementation. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Directors of Special Education.

Burns, M. K., & Gibbons, K. (2013). Implementing response-to-intervention in elementary & secondary schools: Procedures to assure scientific-based practices. Routledge.

Burns, M. K., Karich, A. C., Maki, K. E., Anderson, A., Pulles, S. M., Ittner, A., McComas, J. J., & Helman, L. (2015). Identifying classwide problems in reading with screening data. Journal of Evidence Based Practices for Schools, 14, 186-204.

Burns, M. K., Maki, K. E., Karich, A. C., Hall, M., McComas, J., & Helman, L. (2016). Problem analysis at tier 2: Using data to find the category of the problem. In S. R. Jimerson, M. K. Burns, & A. VanDerHeyden (Eds.), Handbook of Response to Intervention, Second Edition (pp. 293-307). New York, NY: Springer.

Burns, M. K., VanDerHeyden, A. M., & Boice, C. H. (2008). Best practices in intensive academic interventions. Best practices in school psychology V, 1151-1162.

Hall, M., & Burns, M. K. (2018). A meta-analysis of small-group reading interventions. Journal of School Psychology, 66, 54-66. 

Hernandez, D.J. (2012). Double jeopardy: How third-grade reading skills and poverty affect high school graduation rates. Washington, D.C.: The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Retrieved from

Jimerson, S. R., Burns, M. K., & VanDerHeyden, A. M. (Eds.). (2015). Handbook of response to intervention: The science and practice of multi-tiered systems of support. Springer.

National Center for Education Statistics [NCES]. (2019). National Assessment of Educational     Progress. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Dept. of Education.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2000b). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction: Reports of the subgroups (NIH Publication No. 004754). Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

VanDerHeyden, A. M., & Burns, M. K. (2010). Essentials of response to intervention (Vol. 79). John Wiley & Sons.

VanDerHeyden, A. M., & Burns, M. K. (2005). Using curriculum-based assessment and curriculum-based measurement to guide elementary mathematics instruction: Effect on individual and group accountability scores. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 30(3),15-31.

VanDerHeyden, A. M., Witt, J. C., & Naquin, G. (2003). Development and validation of a process for screening referrals to special education. School Psychology Review, 32(2), 204-227

Vaughn, S., Linan-Thompson, S., Woodruff, A.L., Murray, C.S., Wanzek, J., Scammaca, N., et al. (2008). Effects of professional development on improving at-risk students’ performance in reading. In C. R. Greenwood, T. R. Kratochwill, & M. Clements (Eds.), Schoolwide prevention models: Lessons learned in elementary schools (pp. 115-142). New York: Guilford Press.

Contact Us