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Using DIBELS to place a student in Intervention A

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This page explains how to use data from the DIBELS early-reading assessment to place a student in Intervention A. You will find it helpful to refer to the Intervention A program map (click here) while reading this article.

Intervention A is designed for at-risk readers in kindergarten and first grade. For the purposes of this article we define at-risk to be having a DIBELS Instructional Support Recommendation of Intensive or Strategic (i.e., below Benchmark).

For kindergarten students at risk, begin at Week 1, Day 1 of Intervention A. This is because all the kindergarten skills measured in DIBELS are covered at the beginning of the program.

For a first grade student:

  • If he or she is below the DIBELS goal for the grade and time-of-year on Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF)
    then begin at Week 1, Day 1 of Intervention A.
  • If he or she is at or above goal on PSF, but below goal on Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF)
    then begin at Week 5, Day 1 (the start of the sounding out strand), and consider proceeding more rapidly than suggested if the student responds well (for instance, you could skip letter-writing activities, or you could skip every other sounding-out activity).
  • If he or she is above goal on PSF and NWF, but below goal on Oral Reading Fluency (ORF)
    then begin at Week 20, Day 1 (the start of letter combinations and, shortly thereafter, Irregular Words II).

You can use DIBELS progress monitoring probes to track progress during the intervention, and you can then make adjustments based on the results.

The protocol above is for individual students. However, in most cases you will be delivering the intervention in small groups. You should try to ensure that every student in a group has a similar skill gap (for instance, students who are above goal on PSF but below on NWF) so that instruction will be well-targeted for all students in the group.