By Mo Moore

Students at Lincoln Elementary School are turning the pages of books with a little more confidence now a days. For more than two years the school has been running an intervention program targeted to get students on grade level with their reading, giving them a head start for the rest of their school years.

&#8220Our goal is that every student who exits Lincoln is at grade level,” said Assistant Principal Tim Perrotta. &#8220If we don't reach them now, there will be repercussions. It's our duty to get them where they need to be.”

The reading intervention program is multi-tiered and is made to meet the needs of all children assessed. At the beginning of the school year first and second grade students take a basic assessment test known as the DIBLES (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) test. How well a child scores on the DIBLES test determines the level of intervention they need.

&#8220It's kind of like a stop light,” said Reading Specialist, Cassie Huffman, who, along with Reading Specialist Colleen Pence, work with the neediest students. &#8220Red are intensive students in need of considerable intervention, yellow are strategic intervention students and green are those students on grade level.

Students in need of intensive intervention, work with a Reading specialist during the school day for 45 minutes a day, five days a week in groups of three to four students. The Reading Specialists use phonics-based curriculum and programs for the daily lessons. Then move on to small books rated for that specific reading level.

Strategic intervention students are involved in the afterschool intervention program. Based on a student's assessment test students receive targeted help while also working in groups. The teachers use more assessment tests and respond accordingly until a student progresses to where they can exit the program. The afterschool intervention groups run from about four up to 15 students. The students work with a regular teacher for an hour and the afterschool program works on a six-week term, until a student tests out. If a student still needs help they begin another six-week intervention program. Six Lincoln Elementary teachers volunteer for the after school program.

Students who are at grade level will remain in their regular classes learning their general core curriculum.

&#8220It's gotten to the point that every first and second student is receiving invention, is involved in the after school intervention program or has been invited to the afterschool intervention program,” Perrotta said.

And the results are something to be proud of. When students at Lincoln were initially tested in August, 38 out of 227 first graders were deemed in need of intervention. Twenty-four of the neediest students began the program. Students were tested again in January, with 42% having exited the program and on grade level for reading. For second grade out of 187 students 35 were deemed as needing intervention. Twenty-one of the neediest began the program. In January 33% tested out. Those who did not test out in January remained getting the assistance they needed. By the end of the school year there will be even more students to add to the exit list.

&#8220I had one teacher come up to me this week and tell me that of the six students who entered the program from her class, five are now on grade level,” said Perrotta. &#8220We're excited to see this kind of progress. It's great to see the confidence that the kids gain.”

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