How much time should be spent on reading intervention?

Finding the time to get reading help for your child can be stressful. So parents wonder how often they need to have tutoring sessions. A common question is, ”Can I do 2 hours once week rather than twice a week for an hour?” Either way it is two hours, so it should be the same, right?


It is the same amount of time, but the effect is not the same. With the two-hour session you start out strong and then get tired. You push further in the session, but how much information will be forgotten in a week? Now, if you did the 2-hour session AND did a second follow up session in the week, you would gain tremendous ground. But with a long break between sessions too much information is lost, necessitating a longer review to catch up in the next session.

Working on reading skills twice a week allows the child to quickly review the material from the previous session, strengthening the knowledge while building a feeling of success. Students become more confident before moving on to new information.

Love to read

Many parents are beginning to think about summer plans, so they are wondering how much time to spend on reading intervention. There are number of points to consider to be able to answer this question.

  • How far behind is your child in reading?

  • How old is your child?

  • Does your child have a learning disability or he just behind in reading?


These questions are important to consider. If you child is young and just learning to read, but she does not have a learning disability, then a sequenced reading program and consistent practice over the summer can move the child to the next reading level.

If your child is young and has a history of speech, language, visual or attention processing difficulties then a more intensive summer program many be needed.

Finally, older students (meaning 3rd grade and up) who are still struggling to read should get as much reading intervention as possible in the summer. Reading is a key aspect of school and students who are behind in reading skills are constantly challenged to keep up with their work.

When I suggest a reading intensive to families, I am suggesting 60 hours or more of targeted intervention. Most research has identified 60 hours as the amount of time needed for the effects of intervention to become measurable. Smaller gains are made along the way, but to make a significant increase in skills, 60 hours seems to be the sweet spot. Does this mean you have to have 60 hours of intervention to see a change? Of course not, your child should be practicing and learning new skills each week and making changes along the way.