Change contrast:

Strategic Integration


Behavior and reading are important factors in a student’s ability to learn and engage in school. Evidence suggests that students perform better in school when both areas are addressed regularly. Students may make literacy gains in a reading-only model, but the gains are even greater when exposed to both behavior and reading supports (Stewart, Benner, Martella, & Marchand-Martella, 2007).

Why Behavior and Reading Go Together

An integrated model is powerful because behavior and reading can impact each other. Improved social behavior means less time is spent on discipline, leaving more time for academic instruction (Putnam, Handler and O’Leary-Zonarich, 2003; Putnam, Handler, Rey and O’Leary-Zonarich, 2002).

More time spent on reading instruction can in turn improve behavior. High-quality reading lessons keep students engaged, meaning they are less likely to look for distractions and exhibit problem behaviors (Sanford, 2006; Preciado, Horner, Baker, 2009). Also, as students become better readers, they are more likely to stay engaged in learning activities. In contrast, struggling readers may look for ways to avoid any activity that involves reading (McIntosh, Horner, Chard, Dickey, & Braun, 2008).

Similarities in Supports

Behavior and reading are both supported through similar models. Creating one system of support can be used for both behavior and reading. Both are supported through:

  • A continuum of support from administrative leadership to the classroom level.
  • Action planning guided by a team.
  • Evidence-based practices.
  • Data-based decision making for program development and progress monitoring.


Bohanon, H., Goodman, S., McIntosh, K. (2009). Integrating behavior and academic supports within an RtI framework: General overview. Retrieved August 17, 2006, from

McIntosh, K., Horner, R. H., Chard, D. J., Dickey, C. R., & Braun, D. H. (2008). Reading skills and function of problem behavior in typical school settings. Journal of Special Education.

Preciado, J. A., Horner, R. H., Scott K. Baker, S. K. (2009). Using a Function-Based Approach to Decrease Problem Behaviors and Increase Academic Engagement for Latino English Language Learners. The Journal of Special Education, 42, 227-240.

Sanford, E. (2006). The effects of function-based literacy instruction on problem behavior and reading growth. Dissertation. University of Oregon.

Stewart, R. M., Benner, G. J., Martella, R. C., and Marchand-Martella, N. E. (2007). Three-tier models or reading and behavior: A research review. Journal of Positive Interventions, 9, 239-252.

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