Derry, Pa. — August 28, 2007 — When the Derry Area School District embarked on providing differentiated instruction for all students, educators adopted Wright Group/McGraw-Hill?s Breakthrough to Literacy in Grades K-2. The program made such an impact that the percentage of kindergarteners scoring at risk or deficit on Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) has decreased by roughly 75% since the program began in fall 2004.

Students in Grades 1 and 2 have improved too. Before Breakthrough to Literacy began, 23% of Grade 1 students scored in the deficit level in Nonsense Word Fluency in spring 2004. By spring 2007, only 3% scored at that level. In Grade 2, 25% scored at risk in Oral Reading Fluency in spring 2004, but that percentage dropped to 14 by spring 2007.

Breakthrough to Literacy focuses exactly on what educators want to do: differentiate instruction, according to Jan Gebicki, primary principal for Grades K-2 in the district.

?This program is based on differentiated instruction, as well as progress monitoring,? she explained. ?When students work on the computer component, for example, it?s equivalent to a teacher sitting with each child for 15 to 20 minutes. Breakthrough to Literacy also empowers teachers to monitor as often as they wish – daily or weekly. It?s a wonderful program to get our students ready for 21st century skills.?

Dr. Gebicki said staff development for Breakthrough to Literacy is unique because it enables teachers to get the maximum out of the program.

?Trainers actually come in and work one-on-one with teachers throughout the year,? she said. ?It?s not just a one-shot workshop. In addition, tech support is always available so teachers don?t have to be technical wizards.?

Breakthrough to Literacy is used in all three of the district?s elementary schools: Grandview, Loyalhanna and New Derry. It began in kindergarten in fall 2004, expanded to Grade 1 in fall 2005, and then to Grade 2 by fall 2006.

?The bottom line is that Breakthrough to Literacy provides individualized, customized instruction for each child and accelerates him accordingly. The program meets our need for differentiated instruction,? Dr. Gebicki said.

About Derry Area Schools
Serving approximately 2,625 students in PreK-12, this district?s student population is 98% Caucasian and 2% African American. Thirty-six percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. For more information, visit

About Breakthrough to Literacy

Breakthrough to Literacy is an early literacy program from the Wright Group/McGraw-Hill for students in Grades Pre-K to 3. It is a research-based program to teach young children to read, allowing them to develop early literacy skills at their own level and pace through a unique process that includes rich use of oral language and print, individual use of computer software and extensive professional development. Currently, Breakthrough to Literacy is used in 469 school districts across 41 states, reaching 2,000 schools and more than 9,100 classrooms in the United States. For more information, visit

About Wright Group/McGraw-Hill
Wright Group/McGraw-Hill publishes innovative core and supplemental literacy and mathematics programs for differentiated instruction and teacher training in Grades Pre-K-8. The research-based approach is anchored in real-world applications and is based on the assessed needs of students, combining developmentally appropriate materials with explicit outcomes.

Wright Group is part of McGraw-Hill Education, a leading global provider of instructional, assessment and reference solutions that empower the success of professionals and students of all ages. McGraw-Hill Education has offices in 33 countries and publishes in more than 40 languages. Additional information is available at For more information on Wright Group?s products, call 1-800-648-2970 or visit

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