Salmon Arm  

Success with at-risk kids

An intervention program in the North Okanagan-Shuswap has helped 236 of its most at-risk students, who are now reading at grade level.

"We know that reading at grade level by Grade 3 is one of the best predictors of success in life. We also know that this program has changed the trajectory of these students," teacher Jen Kelly says in a report to School District 83.

Over the past eight years, the program has expanded to eight schools, and "intervention teachers are working hard to change the educational trajectory of Grade 1 children struggling the most to learn how to read."

A total of 337 students have gone through the program, where students work one-on-one or in small groups with the teachers. Students receive special instruction four to five days a week, 30 minutes a day for anywhere from 12 to 20 weeks, depending on need.

Some students still struggle after the intervention, "which indicates that there may be something else hindering the child’s learning. Because of the information collected during literacy intervention, children are usually able to streamlined into assessment and testing," says Kelly.


Research shows the intervention is paying off. "Literacy intervention is sticking with our students," she said. “We are only seeing them once.”

The district has hired an early literacy intervention specialist to work specifically with Indigenous students, to improve success rates. Also, nine schools in the district do not have the program.

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