Western Dubuque School Board members heard from teachers and students from Dyersville Elementary School (DES) about a successful reading intervention that is helping students improve their reading.

At Monday’s board meeting, DES principal Linda Martin, along with instructional coach Jenny Hillebrand, shared how the building has implemented the Rise/Rise Up reading intervention program. Along with Martin and Hillebrand were four DES teachers and students in first through fourth grade.

Rise is a guided reading instruction that is transformed into an intervention program. It uses a two-day guided reading lesson and compresses it into a 60-minute intervention block. According to Hillebrand, the program is targeted to meet the specific needs of readers.

“The guided reading instruction teachers do in their classroom during reading stations takes between 20-25 minutes and revolves around four different areas,” she explained. “In Rise, teachers target one station, specific to a student for 15 minutes at each one of those stations.”

The stations are:

• Station One: Reading a Book

• Station Two: Phonics and Word Study

• Station Three: Reread Yesterday’s Book

• Station Four: Guided Writing

After students leave their session, the four instructors teaching the stations meet for collaboration. They discuss observations, teaching points and concerns they have, monitor student progress, plan the next day’s lesson and celebrate student success.

For Martin, the collaboration is essential, telling the board, “that’s where the magic happens.”

Hillebrand told the board they identify students as striving readers instead of struggling readers. “These are students who are striving to become better readers. We want them to strive to become lovers of reading. That’s what Rise is.”

Hillebrand said the program has been successful for the 16 students in Rise, with all increasing their reading level from when they began the program.

Martin credited her staff for their flexibility in helping make Rise work. “We had to do a lot of changes to the schedule to get this to work. Kudos to the teachers. They all worked around schedules to do what’s best for kids.”

A program called Rise Up is similar to Rise but is adapted for large classrooms. All DES students have been using Rise Up to improve their comprehension ahead of state assessments. Throughout the six-week program, students have improved in areas of writing and reading, as well as improved their questioning.