Walmsley and Allington (1995) define instructional support:
"Instructional support programs are those many and varied efforts to intervene when learning difficulties become apparent. ... In the United States, as in many other nations, such programs can be broadly categorized as either remedial or special education (though remedial programs are often considered compensatory--compensating for, say, economic disadvantage)." (p. 19)
Evaluations of support programs, both Title I and special education, have highlighted important problems in the education of at-risk students. Traditionally, special support teachers have taken children out of the classroom to other settings for supplemental instruction. This approach wastes much instructional time, leads to fragmented instruction, and often leaves the students feeling stigmatized and not a part of the regular classroom. To avoid this occurrence, many schools have restructured the way they provide help to at-risk students. One option is to have all special teachers work with students in the classroom rather than taking them out to another location. Another option is to develop programs that are all-school in focus so that every teacher and paraprofessional in the building is working together with a common philosophy and set of learning expectations.
From the viewpoint of literacy instruction, Walmsley and Allington (1995) suggest a framework for redefining instructional support programs according the following principles: