The Difference Between Push-In and Pull-Out Reading Interventions (2023)

Literacy statistics today present educators with a challenge when it comes to teaching reading. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), in 2022, the average fourth-grade math score decreased by 5 points to its lowest level since 2005. The average eighth-grade math score decreased by 8 points to its lowest level since 2003. Many children are struggling with reading at a very young age, and there are many reasons why some students are unable to read. Unfortunately, reading difficulties are common and can range from poor reading skills, to learning disabilities, to language barriers, and more. For every reading challenge students face, there is a reading intervention strategy teachers can utilize in their classroom. When teachers are working with students with IEPs, special needs students, or ESL students, they may wish to examine the pros and cons of methods such as push-in and pull-out reading interventions.

Reading Interventions

In general, reading interventions are a more targeted or direct reading instruction to students who may have fallen below their ideal reading level. Reading interventions usually focus on reading categories such as word study, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Once reading assessments have been administered and student data has been analyzed, teachers can evaluate what interventions to offer based on the needs of particular students.

Reading interventions can range in the number of services offered based on what a student needs. Because of this, reading interventions usually follow a type of tier system. For example, students in the first tier who are close to grade-level reading may only need a small amount of additional support. Students in the second tier who have fallen behind grade level may need more small-group interventions. Finally, third-tier students who have fallen significantly behind may need more intensive and individualized reading interventions.

The reasons for using reading interventions in the classroom go beyond the opportunity for growth in just reading. Reading interventions can also provide students with an opportunity to increase writing, test taking, and study skills at their instructional level. This opportunity for growth in a multitude of areas is why educators must approach planning and organizing interventions with intentionality and care. In her article “Reading Intervention Strategies for Struggling Readers,” Dr. Amy Endo walks readers through evidence-based reading intervention strategies as well as ways to implement those strategies. Dr. Endo writes, “Implementing effective reading intervention strategies into our classrooms allows for students to experience moments of success and even joy through their reading, no matter how short or long the text may be. The cumulative process of experiencing these small wins will help make our students ‘page turners’ not only in the books that they read but also equips them to start new chapters in their personal achievements.”

How Push-In and Pull-Out Reading Interventions Work

Some may assume reading interventions are not widely needed; however, literacy statistics are revealing the need to put just as much focus on interventions as instructional time. It is important to know how interventions work. Most reading intervention models, including push-in and pull-out services, involve research-based curriculum, progress monitoring, and appropriate Response to Intervention needs.

(Video) Push and Pull for Kids

Education programs across the country are giving added attention to reading interventions through professional development training for teachers that showcase the positives and negatives of different types of interventions. For example, Dr. Jemi Sudhakar, a University of Cambridge graduate and principal of Orchids International School, has noted the positive impact of remedial classes, especially with remedial reading programs. One place to start with remedial reading programs or reading interventions is deciding whether a student needs push-in services or pull-out interventions.

Much research has been done to compare the effectiveness of the two options, but teachers must also consider their specific group of students as well as the research. Teachers will notice the research often references factors such as setting, socioeconomic status, and gender as factors for whether push-in or pull-out services would be a better fit.

Push-In Intervention

Push-in intervention involves supporting a student who is struggling inside the classroom. All of the additional support and differentiated instruction happens in the classroom instead of somewhere else. Sometimes the classroom teacher can provide these services, and other times an additional person comes to assist, such as a special education teacher or reading specialist. In some situations, there is a need for a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech therapist to come into the classroom. LLA Therapy met with therapists involved in push-in therapy and asked them questions about success stories, barriers, and overall ways to make push-in intervention work for each situation. When it comes to reading interventions in particular, speech therapists are often helpful in the classroom.

The main benefit to this method is that it most closely follows the general education routine by keeping students in their normal environment, surrounded by their peers, and with their familiar teacher. The main setback to this method is that less individually focused instruction can happen because both teachers and students can get distracted by other students in the room.

Pull-Out Intervention

Pull-out intervention is when students are pulled out of the general education classroom and taken to a separate setting for small-group or one-on-one instruction. This is sometimes necessary due to the severity of the reading challenge or certain learning environments. With this method, individual students’ needs are able to take center stage more since it is a smaller group of people in the room. Here, specialists are more prominent than the general education teacher, and curriculum is more tailored to specific needs.

(Video) Why Pull out Reading Programs Don't Work

While there are a few more logistics to worry about with this method in terms of having multiple educators across different spaces, the opportunity for a positive outcome is present. Several studies have noted that with pull-out interventions, “students appeared more confident while working on instructional-level skills away from classmates performing on a higher level, which can also help increase achievement.” While there is still the potential for students to feel uncomfortable socially by being removed from the classroom, most of the time, students are exhibiting positive academic reactions to pull-out intervention.

Other Reading Interventions for Struggling Readers

Push-in and pull-out interventions are not the only reading interventions for struggling readers. There are other reading interventions that provide additional strategies and activities to boost reading skills in other areas. These interventions are research-based and can be done in the regular classroom by a general education teacher or can be done in a separate setting by an intervention teacher or reading specialist. Either way, making sure the special needs of each student are being met is the primary focus to ensuring a favorable Response to Intervention.


The supports put in place to help a student succeed.


This entails encouraging reading effort, often with compliments and incentives.

Small Groups

A teacher may focus on the abilities that need to be developed in a group of students who are having similar problems by using small-group instruction or teaching.

(Video) Pull-outs and Push-ins

Prior Knowledge

Using existing knowledge to contextualize text helps provide context and create meaning for newly presented content.


Reading material aloud repeatedly may help with comprehension, fluency, and speed.

Reading Workshops

Reading workshops can provide focused mini lessons, peer discussion and collaboration, and quality independent reading time.

Using Technology

Since much of the world operates online now, incorporating technology into reading interventions can provide students with real-world experience of reading skills.

Student Choice

Giving students the opportunity to select their own books or worksheets can give them the authority or autonomy to foster a feeling of confidence in a setting when they may feel weak or challenged.

(Video) Push and Pull for Kids | Force and Motion

Interventions in Reading Across Grade Levels

Students from different grade levels or year levels have different reading comprehension, which means the interventions may look different as well. This is because as students grow and develop, their ability to comprehend further knowledge grows as well. Then, as students gain additional knowledge and skills, those things begin to expand upon each other as students now have more prior knowledge to activate for new lessons.

Because of all this, the effectiveness or impact of the reading interventions may also vary from school year to school year.

Some studies have shown that the impact of reading interventions is higher in younger grade levels in elementary school. For example, a 2015 case study conducted by Gardner-Webb University found, “The percentage of first-grade students reaching grade-level proficiency was much higher than that of second-grade students.” But just because there is a push to start reading interventions as early as possible, that does not mean middle schools and high schools do not need interventions. For example, in her research “The Effectiveness of Reading Interventions for Middle School Students with Learning Disabilities,” Jennifer Hicks said,“Older students with reading deficits benefit from reading instruction that fosters background knowledge, vocabulary development, ability to detect and comprehend relationships among concepts, and the ability to use strategies to ensure understanding and retention of reading material.” Her studies supported that of previous researchers, who found, “30% of middle school students with reading-related LD require specific, intensive, and explicit reading instruction either individually or in small groups to meet grade-level reading standards.” As students get older, it can be harder to address foundational skills while still working on grade-level work as well.

School districts should take note of this research and have intervention plans for each grade level, whether that involves classroom instruction aimed at targeted reading skills, team teaching in the general classroom setting, small-group instruction through push-in or pull-out services, or even specialized intervention teachers or reading teachers. With the right reading intervention plans in place, every group of students can find success and enjoyment in language arts lessons.


Every teacher is a reading teacher, and therefore knowing some of the best strategies for instruction and intervention are crucial for student success. Different intervention models have various strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes it is up to the teacher to decide which one is the best for their education program and their students. For some, push-in interventions will be able to help students academically while still keeping them in the social setting of the general education classroom. For others, pull-out interventions will be necessary to provide learners with the quality time and attention they need to make progress on their reading skills. Voyager Sopris Learning® solutions can help with teaching reading skills through the use of reading interventions and strategies. With programs ranging from elementary to high school, we are confident we have a reading intervention that can equip you with the necessary tools to help your students make strides in reading and literacy.

(Video) Pull Out and Cancellation Stuttering Strategies by Peachie Speechie


What is the difference between pull out intervention and push in intervention? ›

Pull out service delivery is when the child is pulled out of their normal classroom to have speech services. Push-in delivery involves pushing into the child's regular classroom activities to incorporate services into their routine class activities.

What is push in versus pull out therapy? ›

Push in therapy describes services being delivered within a student's contained classroom, targeting language goals alongside their everyday lessons. Pull out therapy describes what most think of when discussing speech therapy – removing a student to a secondary location for 1:1 or small group language therapy.

What is the difference between push in and pull out ESOL? ›

With the push-in approach, ESL teachers work with ELLs in their regular classrooms; with the pull-out approach, ESL teachers work with such students in separate classrooms, whether for one period a day or a much longer time.

What is push in intervention? ›

Following are the two important models of school-based interventions in special education: 1. Push-In. With this approach, the general education teacher and the special education teacher work together in close collaboration.

What is a pull-out intervention? ›

Pull-out intervention is when students are pulled out of the general education classroom and taken to a separate setting for small-group or one-on-one instruction. This is sometimes necessary due to the severity of the reading challenge or certain learning environments.

What is pull-out method of teaching? ›

What it is: Pull-out/pull-in groups are small group strategies. In pull-out groups students usually leave the regular classroom to work with other students of similar ability or interest. Traditionally, a gifted specialist or other resource teacher provides the instruction.

What is push in method in therapy? ›

The term “push-in therapy” refers to physical, occupational, or speech therapy sessions (or other specialized educational services) that are delivered within the context of the classroom or during other naturally occurring events during the school day.

What is the pull out phase of therapy? ›

Pull out: When the student experiences a moment of stuttering, they attempt to “catch” the stutter by holding on to it (prolonging it slightly) then relaxing the tension, often through the use of a stretched sound, before finishing the word. This strategy requires a high degree of self-awareness and monitoring.

What is push in support? ›

“Push in” services is a term used to describe school based occupational therapy services provided when students are participating in their natural environments. At school, these environments can include the classroom, the cafeteria, the playground, or any other setting that a student accesses during the school day.

What is a push-in program for Ell? ›

Push-in ESL is an instructional delivery approach in which ESL instruction is provided by an ESL teacher in grade level/content area classrooms.

What is the difference between ESL content based and pull-out? ›

ESL Pull-Out models provide English Language Arts and Reading instruction by ESL certified teacher(s), while Content-Based models provide instruction for English learners by ESL certified teacher(s) in all content areas.

What is the disadvantage of the pullout approach to teach ESL? ›

Pull-out requires that students miss class time. ESL teachers using this model often hear about it from the classroom teacher. There can be complaints about the students missing anything from a literacy period or a test. The classroom teacher needs to remember that the ESL teacher can only be so flexible.

What are the three intervention stages? ›

As shown in the figure below, three levels of intervention (primary, secondary, and tertiary levels) are available to support students. These levels reflect the same organizational framework applied in public health and community psychology intervention planning.

What are the three primary types of intervention? ›

The three primary types of intervention are: direct service, program planning, and administration. Each of these are important in different ways.

What are the 5 intervention techniques? ›

The five major steps to intervention are the "5 A's": Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange.

What is push-in vs co teaching? ›

Push-in: Push-in teacher usually brings own materials, lesson plan, and can follow a separate curriculum. The specialist & classroom teacher may or may not be aware of the plans and materials the other is using. Co-teaching: Co-teachers share the workload & responsibility to prepare materials & lesson plans.

Are push-in models effective? ›

In fact, I am finding that push-in is every bit as effective/productive as pull-out. The push-in model is more than providing support; it is planning lessons and teaching parts of the lesson to the whole class, including the non ELLs.

What is push and pull teaching method? ›

Perkins suggests that in a push approach, teachers tend to start with the remember and understand questions from Bloom and hopefully work to more critical thinking. With pull, students enter into creating, evaluating and analyzing that requires them to seek knowledge and understanding.

What are the effects of pull out method? ›

The pull out method has no side effects.

The pull out method is safe because it doesn't have any side effects. But pulling out won't protect you from getting an STD and it's not the most effective way to prevent pregnancy.

What are the four phases of Counselling process? ›

The Four-Stage Counseling Process
  • Identify the need for counseling.
  • Prepare for counseling.
  • Conduct the counseling session.
  • Follow-up.

How do you transition a client out of therapy? ›

Explore the feelings and the potential sense of loss for the client. Discuss positive and negative reactions to ending the relationship and the therapy. Focus on and emphasize the gains and progress the client has made. Help the client recognize the positive changes.

What are the disadvantages of the traditional pull out intervention approach? ›

There are obviously disadvantages to the pull-out model, including: students miss classroom instruction while they are receiving services, there may be little or no coordination between speech-language goals and goals in the classroom, there may be little opportunity to practice new skills in the classroom, and there ...

What does ESL push in look like? ›

During ESL push-in time, a trained ESL teacher should be able to walk into a classroom, observe what is going on, and immediately figure out a plan of action without any contact with the teacher or disruption of the class in progress. The classroom teacher does not need to create lesson plans for the ESL teacher.

What are the benefits of pull out special education? ›

Pull-out programs for children with special needs, including learning disabled, gifted or emotionally disturbed, are intended to provide the student with instruction in smaller class settings and with more individualized instruction. The goal is to give the student a better chance of success.

What is push-in speech? ›

Push-in speech therapy is a collaborative classroom-based service delivery model. Basically, instead of pulling kids out of class to come to another location (like a speech room or maybe even in the hallway), the SLP is going into the classroom to work with the kids in their natural environment.

What does push-in classes mean? ›

The push-in method involves the ESL teacher working inside her students' regular education classroom to provide instruction. Proponents of the push-in method of instruction claim that keeping ESL students in the mainstream classroom instead of pulling them out helps them feel like a part of their learning community.

What are early exit programs for ELL? ›

Bilingual program model that serves students of limited English proficiency. The transitional bilingual/early exit model transfers a student to English-only instruction between two and five years after the student enrolls in school.

How do you understand the differences between ELL and ESL? ›

English language learner (ELL) refers to a student who is age 5 or older and who is learning English as a second language. English as a second language (ESL) is an approach in which students who are not native English speakers are mainly taught in English. It focuses on language skills rather than content.

What are the different types of ESL methods? ›

In the contemporary classroom, there are five main teaching styles by ESL teachers: The Authority Style, The Delegator Style, The Facilitator Style, The Demonstrator Style, and The Hybrid.

What is the most common teaching method in ESL? ›

Communicative language teaching is perhaps the most popular approach among the methods of teaching ESL today. CLT emphasizes the students' ability to communicate in real-life contexts, and students learn to make requests, accept offers, explain things, and express their feelings and preferences.

What do ESL students struggle with the most? ›

Listed below are four challenges ESL learners face on their paths to English language proficiency and education.
  • Fewer English Language Models. Schools that offer ESL classes tend to be in urban areas with high concentrations of minority and economically disadvantaged students. ...
  • Culture Shock. ...
  • Time Constraints. ...
  • Background.
Apr 19, 2019

What is pull out language? ›

Pull-out ESL is a program in which LEP students are "pulled out" of regular, mainstream classrooms for special instruction in English as a second language.

How is pull out remedial education provided to students? ›

Pull out remediation is given by pulling the student out of the classroom and providing instruction in a small group in a different environment. This type of instruction can be beneficial to students who get distracted by other students or frustrated when there is a lot going on in the classroom.

What are 4 types of intervention options? ›

Some interventions may have both effects.
  • 2.1. Preventive interventions. 2.1. Vaccines. ...
  • 2.2. Therapeutic interventions. 2.2. Treatment of infectious diseases. ...
  • 2.3. Other forms of intervention. 2.3. Legislation, legal action, taxation, and subsidies.

What are 4 examples of intervention? ›

4 Common Types of Intervention Techniques
  • Simple Intervention. A simple version is when one individual, usually a close friend or family member, confronts the addict. ...
  • Classic Intervention. ...
  • Family System Intervention. ...
  • Crisis Intervention.
May 26, 2021

What are the 6 major intervention strategies? ›

Intervention Strategies and Techniques
  • Give plenty of feedback. ...
  • Continually monitor progress. ...
  • Clarify your objectives. ...
  • Direct instruction. ...
  • Have students rephrase your lesson. ...
  • Make sure those kids reflect.

What are the 7 P's interventions? ›

Consider if elements of the 7Ps, product, price, place, promotion, packaging, positioning, and people, can be used to de- velop your product and promote your product or behavior change intervention.

What are the two main types of interventions? ›

Interventions are Generally Categorized into Four Main Types
  • The Simple Intervention.
  • The Classical Intervention.
  • Family System Intervention.
  • Crisis Intervention.
Feb 10, 2023

What are the 4 R's of behavior intervention? ›

The steps of a Behavior Intervention Plan are best remembered through the 4 Rs: reduce, replace, reinforce, and respond!

What are the different intervention strategies? ›

Some examples of useful interventions include building relationships, adapting the environment, managing sensory stimulation, changing communication strategies, providing prompts and cues, using a teach, review, and reteach process, and developing social skills.

What is Tier 3 intervention strategy? ›

At Tier 3, these students receive more intensive, individualized support to improve their behavioral and academic outcomes. Tier 3 strategies work for students with developmental disabilities, autism, emotional and behavioral disorders, and students with no diagnostic label at all.

What are the techniques used in intervention? ›

Taking action in crisis intervention involves intentionally responding to the assessment of the woman's situation and needs in one of three ways: nondirective, collaborative, or directive. Nondirective counseling is preferable when a woman is able to plan and implement actions on her own that she chooses to take.

What are the 3 levels of intervention? ›

What are the three tiers of Response to Intervention (RTI)?
  • Tier 1: Whole Class Instruction.
  • Tier 2: Small Group Interventions.
  • Tier 3: Intensive Interventions.
Feb 8, 2022

What is push in math intervention model? ›

Push in. What it is: A math teacher or math interventionist pushes into the core grade level math class and assists students who are struggling with math.

What are the 5 phases of intervention? ›

Successful intervention begins with identifying users and appropriate interventions based upon the patient's willingness to quit. The five major steps to intervention are the "5 A's": Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange.

What are Tier 2 interventions for reading? ›

Tier 2 interventions include increasing the amount of instructional time in addition to tier 1 reading instruction. At the elementary level, the recommended group size is three to five students. The interventions should take place three to five times per week for 20 to 40 minutes.

What is the push-in model in special education? ›

Model 2: Push-In Instruction

This approach allows for a large team of educators to practice their specialties within each inclusive classroom environment. Like with the collaborative model, push-in instruction lets students study in the same environment as their peers.

What are the 3 tiers of RTI? ›

Here's a look at the three tiers of RTI.
  • Tier 1: The whole class.
  • Tier 2: Small group interventions.
  • Tier 3: Intensive interventions.

What are 4 quick intervention strategies? ›

Intervention Strategies and Techniques
  • Give plenty of feedback. ...
  • Continually monitor progress. ...
  • Clarify your objectives. ...
  • Direct instruction. ...
  • Have students rephrase your lesson. ...
  • Make sure those kids reflect.

What is the best intervention for struggling readers? ›

The most commonly used strategy to improve reading fluency is the reading and rereading of familiar texts. Opportunities to read aloud, with guidance from teachers, peers or parents, are also associated with the development of fluent reading.


1. Using a push-in model for ELLs
(Colorin Colorado)
2. SLA Presentation: Role of ESL Teachers Iin Pull Out Programs
(Pete B)
3. Push-in Speech Therapy Ideas: 9 models for co-teaching
(Carrie Clark, SLP Solution)
4. ESL Pull Out Service 1
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5. Toddler Learning Video with Ms Rachel | 2 Year Old Milestones, Speech & Social Skills for Toddlers
(Songs for Littles - Toddler Learning Videos)
6. Pushing and Pulling: What is the Difference? | Force and Energy for Kids | Kids Academy
(Kids Academy)
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