Using RTI in the Kindergarten Classroom

If you are looking to better understand how to use RTI in the kindergarten classroom, this post is for you!

Happy Saturday, all!  I had a great week and my observation went smashingly.  Today, I’m going to break down my 30-minute lesson that I taught this past Monday.  I hope it will help y’all with your kinder babies. 🙂   

How I Use RTI in my Kindergarten Classroom

As I’ve become more familiar with the purpose of RTI, I feel like I can be more intentional with my instruction and pack the most educational punch into 30 minutes that I can!  

Seriously, I do A LOT with them in that brief amount of time, so get ready for a crazy, long post! Here we go… 

Common Core Standards Addressed: 

  • CCSS ELA-Literacy RF.K.1d Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet. 
  • CCSS ELA-Literacy RF.K.3a Demonstrate basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondence by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant. 

Here’s my kinder-crate, all ready to go…

A kinder-crate assembled for RTI

Teacher-Directed Read-Aloud for Concepts of Print and to Model Fluency (5 Minutes) 

I want my kiddos to LOVE reading, so I begin each session with a read-aloud. (Let’s be honest, I do this as much for myself as I do for the kids!  I LOVE CHILDREN’S LIT and have such a void in my life from not getting to share books with a whole class during read-aloud anymore!) 

Plus, I think the vocabulary exposure for my ELL’s is imperative to their learning and speaking the English language. 

I usually hand the book to a student upside down and backwards and ask them to then turn it the right way and find the front and back cover.  

Picture books suitable for RTI in the kindergarten classroom

Then, we find the title, author, illustrator, and first page of the story. We also note the difference between letters and words. On Monday, I read Rhyming Dust Bunnies. I LOOOOOOOVE Jan Thomas!

Letter Recognition & Sound Correspondence Activities (15 Minutes)

First, we use an ABC pocket chart and sing the alphabet chart.  I use a pointer and touch the letters as we sing. 

We move quickly into our kinesthetic alphabet

kinesthetic alphabet
kinesthetic alphabet
kinesthetic alphabet

I show a letter-picture page and the kids say the letter name and touch their head, say the letter sound and touch their shoulders, and say the picture name and touch their knees.  Keep in mind, we’re sitting down during our time together, and only do the letters we’ve learned so far.  This conserves time.

Letter recognition and matching cases

Review Material

Then, I review previously taught letters.  Quickly, I flash upper- and lowercase cards and we say them aloud 1-2 times. Then, I mix them up and put them in the hands of the students. I start with asking, “Who has uppercase or capital A?” The student puts the card down, and then  I ask, “Who has lowercase a?” We repeat this until all letters are matched.  (PS.  I can’t take pictures at school anymore, so Becks was my model!)

Tactile letters

Next up, tactile letters!  I have a foam set and a fabric set.  Unfortunately, only in uppercase. I pass them out to the students, tell them to trace the letter with their fingers, and say the letter aloud. I call out letters and the students with the matching tactile letters place them next to the letter cards.

Sound bottles
Sound bottles for learning letter sounds

Then, it’s on to sound bottles!  I got this idea from Jessica Meacham (who is brilliant).  She’s the first teaching website that I came upon a bazillion years ago.  Tons of great FREE activities!  (You can purchase the baby soda bottles at Steve Spangler Science HERE.)   Each bottle contains an item(s) that begins with a letter sound.

Sound bottles for teaching letter sounds

We say the name of the object in the bottle and identify the letter it matches. “Ant.  /a/ /a/ Ant.”


Introduce A New Letter

Then, it’s time to introduce the new letter of the week: Oo. (In a later post, I’ll explain why I’m moving away from the sequential alphabet during RTI.) I show them the new letter. We say the letter, the sound, and each picture. “O /o/ octopus. O /o/ ostrich.  O /o/ orange.”

Then, I pass around the tactile letters and the kids trace them with their fingers.


Onto the letter sound.  As I’m sure you know, KIDS LOVE FAKE MICROPHONES.  Teaching the /o/ sound is perfect for the microphone since singers often sing /ooooooooo/ anyway. 😉  

We talk about the shape our mouth makes when saying the letter sound, and, of course, I model it.  Becks is demonstrating today, looking super classy in his oversized, camouflage NASCAR tee.


Leveled Reader (5 minutes)

Onto our mini-books.  This is a great time for students to personally get to experience a book and how it should be handled.  We quickly look at the pictures, identify words and letters, and then practice our one-to-one correspondence with – what else – witch fingers!


Formative Assessment (Disguised as a “Game”) (5 min)

I am *obsessed* with Growing  Kinders’ AlphaHeroes Pack.  Sooooooo many great activities for the two standards mentioned above.  On Monday, my kids dabbed their way through a letter maze, identifying the letter Os.  If you don’t use dabbers, you should!  My kids adore anything that involves them!  

Afterwards, I asked them what the letter O says and recorded it at the top.  This little activity let me see if the kids mastered their objectives: recognizing the letter O and associating the correct sound with it. 


Shooooooo! So, that’s Day 1 of RTI with my K-kiddos.  It changes each day and includes some new activities each day to keep my kids engaged, including those featured in my Kindergarten RTI packs found HERE and HERE or just click the pics below.


And, for those of you who read this far, here’s a FREEBIE of letter cards – 3 sets included! Just click on the pic!


I always aspire to come back and blog more than once a week, so I’m not making any promises, but here’s what’s on my agenda for upcoming posts…

  • Alphabet Cards as Teaching Tools
  • First Grade RTI: Phonemic Awareness (It’s almost done, First Grade Teachers!)
  • K RTI: Numeracy (It’s in the works, promise!)
  • Do the Math (intermediate math intervention)

Happy weekend, friends!!!!!

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Abby is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher who channels her passion for education into creating engaging activities and resources for the kindergarten and first grade classroom. When not dreaming up or working on her next project, you’ll find her enjoying her family – most likely in her minivan on the way to a soccer field.


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Hi, I’m Abby! Thanks for stopping by. I love supporting kindergarten and first grade teachers with engaging, skill-based activities that are easy to use in their classrooms. Let me help you be the best teacher you can be!
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