Elementary schools boost performance with reading software

For Des Plaines, Illinois' North Elementary School Principal Carol Gibbs, the school year began with 75 percent of kindergarteners unable to recognize or name a single letter of the alphabet. Gibbs needed a way to bring these young students into the world of reading - and she found it by incorporating guided practice offered through a reading software program. Now, every child is in North Elementary’s “green” (on-level) or “blue” (above-level) groups academically.

“While I firmly believe in a most flexible and robust core, selecting intervention programs that work well with the core and serve the school’s instructional goals can have a dramatic impact on student performance,” said Gibbs. “We have found such a program in Lexia Reading. It helps us to address the five big areas of reading in a systematic fashion across all grades, it provides performance data and it ties together many of the key programs and tools we use.”

Lexia Reading offers more than 900 activities for reading skills development for students in grades pre-K through 12. Each of the age-appropriate, skill-specific activities conforms to federal guidelines. Students using the program work independently as the software automatically detects when they need additional practice - which ensures that students demonstrate mastery of each reading skill before proceeding to the next one.

Educators in the Chicago Public Schools are also seeing the impact of the software’s guided practice and progress reporting, particularly in their efforts to support struggling students.

At Walter S. Christopher Elementary School, Principal Mary McAloon faced a problem common to many schools: students arrive at school with significant gaps in their educational backgrounds. The school also has a large special education and English Language Learner (ELL) student population, which creates the added challenge of finding an intervention program that helps teachers assist a diverse group of students.

“Lexia has helped many of our older ELL students who are no longer receiving ELL services, but still have problems with phonics,” said McAloon. “For some of these students, we have seen tremendous growth in a relatively short time.”

McAloon notes that Lexia Reading’s data reporting features make a significant impact, helping with writing IEP goals, organizing reading groups, collecting information for Response to Intervention (RTI) and planning meaningful differentiated instruction.

“The students love their time on Lexia; all are engaged and involved in what they are doing,” said McAloon. “It is rare that a teacher ever has to bring them back to task. Furthermore, they willingly come before school starts and stay after school to work on the program. That’s what gets me excited about the future in education — engaging students, challenging students, and helping students succeed.”