Students across Arkansas improve reading skills

Literacy is the cornerstone of school achievement, and educators in Arkansas understand that improving overall student performance requires a keen focus on literacy skills. A growing number of schools and districts in Arkansas, including those in Conway, Bentonville, West Fork, and Fayetteville, have turned to Lexia Reading® software program to improve individual student performance.

The reading software, which offers a technology-based system of differentiated skills practice, embedded assessment, and targeted instruction, is designed to advance reading skills development for all students pre-K through fourth grade, and to accelerate learning for at-risk students in grades 4-12.

In addition to supporting foundational skills development, the program also reduces schools’ dependence on traditional testing methods. Lexia Reading’s Assessment Without Testing™ provides 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. The program then automatically identifies and prioritizes students for small group or individual instruction, providing educators with targeted instructional strategies and structured lesson plans to help each student improve performance on grade-level assessments. This compilation of student performance data is done without administering a test, allowing schools to spend less time testing and reclaim weeks of instructional time.

“In education, we talk about point-in-time remediation,” said Sherry Norrel, reading specialist for Conway Schools. “While my class works independently on Lexia, I can provide one-on-one help to struggling students who need my attention. I can do a mini-lesson with half of the students while the others are working on Lexia. Halfway through the allotted time, I can switch the students, teach the mini-lesson again and do a better job of giving them enough practice time with a new skill.”

As students work independently on Lexia Reading, they receive structured practice on foundational reading skills. Each of the age-appropriate, skill-specific activities conforms to federal guidelines and is aligned to Common Core State Standards. The fun, engaging software delivers scaffolded practice, advancing students to higher levels as they demonstrate proficiency.

“I appreciate that my students are immediately independent, stay engaged, and are closely monitored by the easy-to-use teacher homepage so I can keep track of many students’ skills development,” said Beth Saferite, math and literacy interventionist at Holcomb Elementary School in Fayetteville. “In terms of supporting my struggling students, Lexia Reading makes it very easy to print and provide Tier II and Tier III lessons to meet each student’s individual needs.”

Lexia Reading also provides Lexia Lessons; a set of integrated, structured, teacher-led lesson plans to address specific skill gaps. Available on both the SMART® and Promethean® platforms for Interactive Whiteboards, these lessons focus on seven of the most difficult foundational reading skills, and complement the more than 75 paper-based lessons in the program which support all of the major skill development areas.

“As a 28-year veteran of teaching, 18 of which have been spent working with struggling learners, I have reviewed and utilized numerous intervention approaches and programs. Lexia Reading is multifaceted and unique, and in my experience, it is more effective than other technology-driven programs,” said Rebecca Keith, intervention specialist at Ruth Doyle Intermediate in Conway. “As a national board certified teacher, I am highly aware of the importance one should place on selecting a research-based method of instruction that allows for ongoing assessment and instruction that is directly derived from and driven by the data gained from those assessments. The beauty of Lexia is that it performs both of those tasks automatically without me surrendering a moment of instructional time.”

Keith added, “Before implementing Lexia Reading, differentiating instruction for the numerous and diverse needs of my students was a daunting task. Now with a click or two of a button on my computer or by using the Lexia iPhone app, I can determine each student’s skill level, discover his or her skill strengths and needs, and access appropriate, engaging, multi-sensory lessons to re-teach skills if necessary. One of my sixth grade students summed it up best when she exclaimed, ‘Lexia Rocks!’ I must admit, I totally agree!”

Arkansas educators interested in learning about best practices associated with improving reading scores for struggling and early readers are invited to attend a free reading seminar hosted by Lexia Learning. The event will be held at the Conway Administrative Annex at 1902 Hairston Street in Conway, on February 9, from 7:30 a.m. – Noon. The program, entitled “Leadership and Innovation in Reading,” will feature local educators who will sharing their experiences with Lexia and how their students have benefited, particularly within Response to Intervention models. To register, visit