Ecole Providence students in the school cafeteria enjoying pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.
Literacy is the key to accessing all other aspects of learning. Without being literate subjects such as history, science, and literature, remain inaccessible.
For the past three years, Ecole Providence has employed the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), a set of procedures and measures that provide a specific assessment of early literacy skills from kindergarten through Grade 6.
“The Holy Family Catholic Regional Division implemented the DIBLES process 3 years ago and over the last two years Providence has made it a priority,” says Principal Krista Veitch.
DIBELS employs brief fluency exercises, approximately one-minute duration, used regularly to monitor the development of early literacy and early foundational reading abilities, a process that can reliably predict later reading proficiency.
Developed at the University of Minnesota in the 1970s, DIBELS materials were originally designed around a specific curriculum and expanded later to incorporate different syllabus and learning environments.
Since the late 1980s, The University of Oregon has conducted research on DIBELS, verifying the reliability of the method.
Recently, Ecole Providence has been placing an increased focus on literacy, and has further supplemented the DIBELS program, with activities developed at the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR).
The FCRR is a research center at Florida State University that investigates all aspects of reading such as literacy-related skills for typically developing readers and those who struggle.
Ecole Providence has now implemented DIBELS Deep, a supplementary literacy program scheduled 3 days a week to identify students who need additional help in targeted areas.
“Every day, from 11.30 am to 12 noon all students work on activities from the FCRR and students who perform at their grade level or beyond continue to receive work to further enhance their skills,” says Veitch.
“The activities are fun and the students enjoy participating in them. More importantly we have seen real growth in our students.”
DIBELS Deep is a program used throughout the HFCRD Division and, as the name suggests, it is designed to take a deeper look at struggling readers after they have completed the original DIBELS testing.
The DIBELS Deep assessment helps target the specific area of need in literacy for struggling readers.
“By knowing the specific area and targeting it with intensive instruction in either one-on-one, or small groups, we are able to work with the students and quickly address the area in which they need additional support,” says Ecole Providence teacher Ashley Sherbanuk.
“In turn, this helps to create a more confident, fluent, lifelong reader and as we progress it is really exciting to see such remarkable results.”