Sioux Falls School District wants to expand SIPPS reading program


The Sioux Falls School District is going to be expanding one of its program next year to help first graders learn to read.

This past year the district tested the program, called Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words or SIPPS at four schools.

It’s a long title, but it’s basically a reading intervention program that teaches first graders to read better. 

The results were fantastic according to school district officials, so now they want to use the same program at four more elementary schools. 

Learning to read for the first time is a big deal for a young child.  

“When you have first graders saying I can read they’re excited,” Assistant Superintendent Teresa Boysen said. 

To help spread that excitement, the district is going to be expanding the SIPPS reading intervention program.

The district started with a pilot program this past school year at Hawthorne, Terry Redlin, Cleveland and Garfield elementary schools.

School officials say reading levels in those four schools showed tremendous growth.  

“The big thing with SIPPS it’s an opportunity for our students to get back on track in reading and show growth in reading, regardless where they are with their reading today,” Superintendent Brian Maher said. 

The SIPPS program is implemented by a specially trained teacher.  

The district wants to hire six more of those teachers and the curriculum to be used at Anne Sullivan, Cleveland, Garfield, Laura B Anderson, Lowell, and Hayward elementaries. 

District officials say teachers, students and parents have so far been impressed with SIPPS. 

“That’s why we do pilots in Sioux Falls, we need to check it out and see if it’s working before we move it forward,” Boysen said. 

Following the school year, the district will again evaluate the reading levels to see if it wants to continue to use the SIPPS program and if so, look at using it in even more elementary schools. 

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