Highland implements cutting edge Barton Reading program

Highland Highlights


Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects more than 3 million students a year in public schools in the United States. For many years, this disability went undetected for students who struggled with reading.

The Highland Community School District is one of the few schools in the state of Iowa that has adopted the Barton Reading Program. The Barton program is recognized as one the best reading interventions available. While it originally was designed for students with dyslexia, it has been expanded to include students with a variety of reading disabilities.

“We are excited to use this program”, said Elementary Principal Jane O’Leary. O’Leary said that she became aware of the program when she attended a dyslexia conference and began to research more about the program. Highland is in its first year of using this as a Title I and special needs reading intervention.

“We are seeing good progress,” said O’Leary.

Approximately 30 students in grades K-3 are a part of the program this school year. O’Leary said that she hopes to expand the program up through the 5th grade in the future.  The Title I teacher, four associates and a classroom teacher have been trained so far in implementation of the program. 

The Barton program is named after its creator, Susan Barton. It is considered a great tutoring system for children who struggle with spelling, reading and writing due to dyslexia or a reading disability.  It is designed to be one-on-one but could be expanded to as many as three students at a time. Currently, Highland is only using it one-to-one. Each student receives a minimum of two hours of instruction a week.

The program has been fully implemented in the Title 1 program as a reading intervention. It is also being used as a reading strategy for students with reading as an IEP goal. Mrs. O’Leary believes this is on the cutting edge of instructional strategies and will allow students to grow and develop their reading abilities at a pace that Highland has not achieved before. Being one of the first in Iowa to fully implement this program is exciting.

For more information about the Barton Reading and Spelling System, refer to bartonreading.com.


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