SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) –October is known as Dyslexia Awareness Month and just over three years ago, South Sioux City schools adopted a new reading skills curriculum that helps dyslexic learners.

According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, around 20% of US students have dyslexia. Back in May, Nebraska passed a bill requiring K-12 schools to report how many students with dyslexia they serve and Covington Elementary has been at the forefront of prevention.

“It is definitely the first time we’ve used this kind of a program in South Sioux City,” MTSS Coordinator for Academics Robin Jager said.

Robin Jager is the MTSS Coordinator for Academics at Covington Elementary. She says this is the fourth year of using the Wilson Reading Program.

“Basically in kindergarten through second grade, the program is really focused on prevention of reading difficulties including dyslexia. Then we move into, as we get into the upper grades is more of an intervention program for grades four on up,” Jager said.

Cindi Koch is a Reading Specialist at Covington and has been teaching for 20 years.

“Because it’s a systematic approach, and we teach to mastery, we make sure that students truly master the skill before moving on. That happens in our tier one instruction so whole class instruction and it also happens in our Wilson reading systems,” Reading Specialist Cindi Koch said.

Koch says she can tell that the program is helping students.

“The students are more confident in what they know that they know and you can see that transferring into the classroom as well. In the past, my first I guess 15 years of teaching maybe, it was more of a guess,” Koch said.

“It’s been really helpful. It’s just made learning a little bit better for me and it’s really helped me with my writing,” Fifth grader Yoselin said.

Yoselin has been part of the reading program for two years.

“Mrs Strait, that’s the teacher I go with, she’s like helped me with it and she like teaches us and I just remember a little bit of that and I got it,” Yoselin said.

And she is just one example of the success seen at Covington Elementary.

“Like we think we know what we know but now with a systematic approach to phonics instruction and that master approach to teaching, students are very confident in what they know about how words work,” Koch said.

Currently, nearly 20 students with dyslexia are part of the reading and writing program at Covington Elementary.