California Districts Adopt Web-based Reading Program

Reading affects every aspect of a student’s learning and has been a major focus of recent US education initiatives, including the Common Core State Standards. In California, many schools and districts, including Los Angeles, Santa Ana, San Jose, San Diego, Riverside, Newport Mesa, Poway, and Sacramento, are using Lexia Reading® to help advance reading skills development and meet the demands of the critical assessments being mandated.

Lexia Reading’s web-based technology provides personalized learning and gives educators norm-referenced performance data without administering a test. The program identifies the students who are the most at risk, and recommends teacher-led, direct skill instruction to address specific skill gaps. As students work independently on Lexia Reading, they receive structured learning on foundational reading skills. The program advances students to higher levels as they demonstrate proficiency. Each of the age-appropriate, skill-specific activities in Lexia Reading conforms to the findings of the National Reading Panel, and is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Educators at Los Angeles’ Cahuenga Elementary School began using the program in 2009, making Lexia Reading an integral component of the school’s instructional and assessment strategies.

“Unlike other programs that we used at Cahuenga, Lexia Reading genuinely engaged the students as they were learning. Because each of the activities is aligned to Common Core State Standards, this also has become a great program for us to prepare to meet the new expectations,” said Dr. Chiae Byun-Kitayama, instructional director, Educational Service Center East LAUSD and former principal, Cahuenga Elementary School.

Lexia Reading also includes an embedded assessment feature that can help reduce educators’ dependence on traditional testing methods. This approach, known as Assessment Without Testing®, gathers student performance data without administering a test. The norm-referenced measures are correlated to student outcomes on commonly used measures such as DIBELS® and AIMSweb®. The program automatically provides educators with real-time data on students’ specific skill gaps, as well as norm-referenced predictions of each student’s percent chance of reaching the end-of-year benchmark. Assessment Without Testing identifies and prioritizes students for small group or individual instruction, providing teachers and intervention specialists with data-driven action plans. These plans include targeted instructional strategies and structured lesson plans, including the minutes-per-week of software usage each student needs to improve performance on grade-level assessments. The data interface is also accessible via browser or iPad® and iPhone® apps.

At Cahuenga Elementary, the correlation between Lexia’s performance data and outcomes on the district’s use of DIBELS led Byun-Kitayama to embrace a ‘test less, teach more’ approach.

San Jose Unified School District (USD) recently mandated the use of Lexia Reading to meet the early literacy goals in all its elementary schools, for all K–2 classrooms that instruct in English.

“We had an exemplary pilot program with Lexia Reading that led to our decision to expand the implementation,” said Jodi Lax, San Jose USD director, curriculum, instruction and EL services, pre-K–5. “We wanted a program that delivered rigorous literacy and higher order thinking skills early on in our students’ academic life.”

“Our teachers know exactly where their students’ strengths and weaknesses are and the system provides the direction and practice materials they need to help their students succeed – they aren’t guessing anymore,” said Paul Reagan, bilingual coordinator at Tulare City Schools, located in California’s central valley. “I like to call it ‘live RTI.’”