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The purpose of this paper is to describe the efficacy of early literacy interventions and to discuss possible roles for volunteer tutors in helping prevent reading difficulties within the Response to Intervention process. First, we describe a landmark study that evaluated the impact of primary classroom instruction on reducing the proportion of students at risk for reading failure, and a more recent series of studies exploring the effects of individualizing classroom reading instruction based on students’ initial skills. Second, we review studies of more intensive early intervention to demonstrate how these interventions substantially reduce the proportion of students at risk. Third, we examine effective tutoring models that utilize volunteers. Finally, we discuss the potential role of community tutors in supporting primary classroom instruction and secondary interventions.


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