Our district has played with intervention programs over the years. We have had everything from scripted programs to computer programs, but nothing really works. Why?!
Did we do the programs wrong?
No, we followed them to fidelity. We read every word like it is supposed to be read. We had those kids on the computers in their assigned lessons for the minimum amount of time each week, depending on which tier they fell in.
Did we give the programs enough time to work?
Probably not? Once we found it "wasn't working", we abandoned it for another program. Or, the funding ran out, and we had to go to something else. Even worse, positions were cut, and computer programs were put in place to help those struggling students. Usually we just dropped it to move on to something different, cheaper, or free.
Why didn't they work??
Today a student said something to me that made it all make sense!
Those words from an innocent second grader just
MELTED MY HEART!
He gets it! He knows what he needs to become a successful reader!!
When I began teaching 18 years ago, the computers were used to create documents and learn to type. We played learning games on them like Oregon Trail and Carmen Sandiego because it was fun!
Now our kids learn on those computers, and I spend a great deal of time analyzing those assessments, assigning lessons, and watching them to make sure they are on task. I don't want to be that person! I want to work hard to make those lessons fun for the students who need to be successful readers. I became a teacher to TEACH students, not analyze some data and work around the skills in the computer program! These second graders read WAY below grade level, and reading from real books with real guidance will help those students show the most growth.
Not to mention, many of these kids come from high poverty homes or homes where reading is not important. My ability to read to them and with them makes all the difference. I can make sure they are focused through my interaction with them. I can create lessons that build their self-esteem. My "good job" means a whole lot more than the "yes" on the computer. They love when I take the time to listen to their reading and show them how successful they are becoming. They take stock in their growth because I take stock in their growth.
So, what is the best intervention, you ask?
YOU know best what your students need! YOU can create learning experiences that will enhance student learning. YOU can differentiate and personalize learning to help students be successful. YOU can create the appropriate lessons that will help those students become successful!
Computer programs and scripted programs are just a piece of a puzzle. They CAN help, but YOU have to be the one to help those struggling students become successful. Sometimes those kids need that interaction, and you can provide that for them on a daily basis!
How do you ensure that your students get the best interventions for success?
Thank you to Heather Meek from The Meek Moose for the student graphics and Ashley Hughes for the frames.
And thank you to my second grade group of students for inspiring me to write this post!