We selected Essential Skills for our intervention program because the software is sequential, comprehensive, and engaging. Our students were selected based on their August DIBELS scores. First grade students were selected based on their performance in Phoneme Segmentation Fluency and Nonsense Word Fluency. Students participated in a sixty-minute after school tutoring program in our computer lab. They each started on the Phonemic Awareness program of Essential Skills. Teachers monitored students' progress and required repetition of activities until 80% mastery was achieved. Students progressed at their own pace within each skill. They were actively engaged with the software and found the stars earned and positive comments given very motivating. We had 10 students participate regularly in the intervention program. We tested them again on the same DIBELS indicators in May. Their results and per minute increase are shown below.
Most students who participated in the afterschool intervention group using Essential Skills demonstrated strong growth on DIBELS indicators in May. All of these students were identified at the intensive level in August. In May, 2 students continued to score at the intensive level ( they have been recommended for special education evaluations), 3 students progressed to the strategic level and 4 students achieved benchmark goals. Our teachers and students were motivated by their progress! Students expressed their excitement when working with the software. They especially enjoyed the concentration games. Teachers noted that students were actively engaged and motivated by the activities and verbal encouragement given within the program.
We have added our site license programs to the student workstations in our K-3 classrooms. This will afford more opportunity for student use during the school day. We plan to continue using the Essential Skills products in our intervention programs before and after school.
Magnolia School, Alabama