Kansas Reading Initiative Yields Gains

Four months after the State of Kansas launched a two-year grant program for improving reading outcomes using Lexia Reading Core5™, Principal Kenneth McWhirter of Marmaton Valley Elementary School is reporting better student outcomes using the program. McWhirter’s students join more than 20,000 in 61 districts across the state, including those in Lansing, Galena, Stafford County, and Barber County that have opted-in to the Kansas Reading Initiative. The program provides elementary school students access to personalized reading instruction that aims to accelerate the development of foundational reading skills and comprehension.

“I’ve been in education for more than 30 years and this is an exceptional program,” said McWhirter. “It instantly gets down to such a micro level. For example, we noticed our students struggling with rhyming. Lexia Reading Core5 was able to pinpoint the problem and give the students the exact instruction they needed to learn the skill. We were the first school in the state to apply for the reading grant—based on what I’m witnessing in the program—I know that other schools considering the program would be as impressed as we are.”

Lexia Reading Core5 is a technology-based reading program with printed instructional materials that helps students of all abilities to accelerate mastery of skills. Students work independently in 18 levels of self-paced activities that take them on adventures around the world, using an iPad® or web browser. If a student struggles with the task, he or she receives skill-specific instruction in the online program. If the student continues to struggle, the program notifies the teacher and provides structured lesson materials for direct instruction. The program provides real-time assessment data that teachers can use for planning small group instruction.

For Vickie Kelly, principal at Lansing Elementary in Unified School District 469, the decision to implement Lexia Reading Core5 through the Kansas Reading Initiative was simple. “We previously used Lexia Reading. However, the new program is even better. First, it looks at student progress with the Common Core and is aligned to the Standards. Second, it is student-centered and student-friendly. Third, it is research-based and evidence-proven and our teachers can use the data with confidence. ”

Kelly and McWhirter also noted the importance of the program’s assessment system, Assessment Without Testing®, which provides educators with the kind of information typically gathered via a traditional paper and pencil test about what a student knows and where the student needs additional instruction, without interrupting the flow of instruction to administer a test.

“Assessment Without Testing gives us one more way to customize a student’s education,” said Kelly. “It identifies and prioritizes our students for small group or individual instruction, provides our teachers and intervention specialists with recommended targeted instructional strategies and structured lessons, and most importantly, it includes the suggested number of minutes-per-week of software usage each student needs in order to meet expectations on grade-level assessments.”

Kelly concluded. “At the end of the day, we are all accountable for student success – and with this program everyone reaps the benefits.”

Schools interested in participating in the Kansas Reading Initiative should visit www.educationaldesignsolutions.com.