A Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome (RLI)

The Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome (RLI) is a teaching program designed to improve reading and language outcomes for children with Down syndrome. It supplements and supports regular teaching with daily one-to-one intervention sessions. The intervention sessions follow a consistent format within which instruction is carefully targeted to the individual student.

A targeted, evidence-based approach to meeting specific needs

RLI offers educators a targeted, evidence-based approach to support the development of reading and language skills in children with Down syndrome aged from 5 years. It is designed to be delivered in school by the child's teaching assistant, supported by their class teacher and special educational needs team.

Building on best practice and evaluated with children with Down syndrome

RLI incorporates best practice in carefully-structured activities delivered in fast-paced daily teaching sessions. RLI includes a reading strand and a language strand, each of which includes several components. The intervention follows a prescribed framework within which content and teaching are tailored to meet individual needs. It was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial and found to improve rates of progress compared to ordinary teaching.

Supported with a comprehensive handbook and online courses

The intervention is described in a detailed handbook - available online or in print. The handbook is accompanied by online resources, including video clips illustrating the activities, assessment and record keeping forms, and example teaching materials.

An online training course is available to supplement the handbook with additional support for educators implementing the intervention.

The most widely used school-based intervention for children with Down syndrome

Over the past few years, RLI has helped educators in the UK, the USA, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and over 30 other countries provide evidence-based instruction to thousands of children with Down syndrome.

Photograph of a girl with Down syndrome reading a book

" The RLI program has been a very beneficial program for us to follow with one of our pupils in school. She has gone from having no interest in reading words only looking at pictures to reading shorter stories well and with enjoyment. I took part in the training program and found it clear, easy to follow and maintainable in a busy working school ." (Special Educational Needs Coordinator, UK)

" The RLI program is going great! Our students are succeeding with reading! It is so much fun to see! " (District Reading Specialist, USA)

Intervention summary
Skills targeted
  • Reading (book reading, sight words, letters and sounds, phonology)
  • Language (vocabulary, grammar)
Age range
  • From 5 to 11 years, with reading ages under 8 years
  • School
  • Daily, one-to-one teaching sessions following prescribed framework within which teaching is tailored to meet individual needs
Resources and support
  • Online or printed handbook, online assessment, record forms, example teaching materials, video demonstrations and instruction
  • Online training course
  • Accredited trainers and consultants
  • Intervention is consistent with the available scientific evidence
  • Intervention has been evaluated in a controlled trial