RILL lesson structure

Below is a quick visual of a single RILL lesson, which follows the same structure every time, thus allowing the child to recognise the rhythm whilst bringing familiarity and confidence as the course progresses.

A detailed description of the lesson structure can be found below:



Recap previous lesson and outline aim of the lesson.


Words of the day

Words of the day words are tier two words (Beck et al., 2002) selected from the story from the lesson. Tier two words are:

  • High frequency for mature language users

  • Demonstrate utility (i.e., appear frequently across multiple domains).

  • Have instructional potential (i.e., worked with in various ways and linked to other words in order to build rich semantic representations).

  • Possess some conceptual basis (i.e., students have some underlying understanding, but which a more sophisticated or specific verbal label can be applied).

Words of the day are trained following the approach used in the Reading and Vocabulary Intervention (REVI; Duff et al., 2008), based on Beck et al. (1982; 2002). It follows:

Instructor contextualises word

Child repeats word

Instructor defines the word

Instructor uses an alternative

Child uses the word in context

Child repeats the word


Passage of the day

Read the passage (aimed at instructional level) with the instructor.

Depending on the child’s level, they may read aloud independently or shared with the instructor. The passage contains the two Words of the Day and so the child is also exposed to the written form of these words in text.

The instructor will ask the child two or three pre-set questions on the text.

Phoneme awareness

Word games

The Words of the Day plus two pseudowords (words that possess a similar orthographic and phonological structure in English but have no meaning) phonemic structure is explicitly manipulated by completing two out the three tasks:

  • Blending phonemes (i.e., synthesising individually presented phonemes to produce the target word).

  • Deleting phonemes (i.e., repeating the word having removed the initial or final phoneme).

  • Rhyming (i.e., producing words that rhyme with the target). Each task follows the same structure:

Instructor explains task

Instructor introduces the item

Child blends/deletes/rhymes | Child blends/deletes/rhymes

correctly incorrectly

Next item Instructor models

Child blends/deletes/rhymes


Instructor models



Names and sounds of the day

Where necessary, this session will focus on securing letter knowledge (for younger and poorer readers and spellers) using alphabet mats (see Byrne, 1998). The focus then shifts to explicit instruction of a specific vowel sound/pattern. The focus early in the programme is short vowel sounds, advancing to long vowel sounds later. The structure of this component follows:

Letter knowledge (if appropriate) context

Specific pattern instruction with implementation

Pattern in context (dictated sentences)


Verbal and written story skills

Focus on one key narrative skill (characters, sequencing, and structuring, elaborating, connectives, and verb use; see Clarke et al., 2010) in both the verbal and written domains. These skills are used to incrementally construct a story over several sessions.


Words of the day recap

Recap on the words of the day by:

  • Recalling the words.

  • Defining the words.

  • Providing context for the words.


Recap and discussion

Instructor leads the discussion by prompting the child to describe what they have learned in the lesson and what they enjoyed doing.

Instructor briefly describes plan for next lesson.

Below you can watch snippets of a RILL lesson recorded live: