Advancing Literacy Through Personalized Learning: An Alabama Core5 Success Story

Advancing Literacy Through Personalized Learning: An Alabama Core5 Success Story

Educators must be able to adapt to a wide range of learning styles in order to ensure that all of their students are successful. Unfortunately, they often lack the time and resources to differentiate instruction to the specific needs of each student in their classroom. Incorporating a blended learning program like Lexia® Core5® Reading into the school day can help reduce pressure on teachers while offering each student a personalized learning experience. Let’s take a look at how Lexia has helped students in Alabama achieve significant literacy gains:

The Challenge

Prattville Primary School, a public school serving first and second graders in Alabama, was searching for a way to improve their students’ foundational literacy skills. “We’ve been focused on efforts to improve reading for as long as I can remember,” stated Prattville’s Principal Tammy Starnes. “We tried reading initiatives, reading coaches—all of it—and our students’ scores just hovered.”

Starnes needed a program that was easy-to-use and would enhance her teachers’ effectiveness without adding to their already heavy workload. She looked for a program that would offer her teachers the support they needed in order to provide differentiated instruction to a diverse classroom of students. It was important to Starnes that this program be backed by research, and also be able to provide teachers with data regarding their students’ progress. She hoped that such a program would be used by all of the students at Prattville Primary School, including learners who were advanced, those who may be struggling, and those with individual education plans (IEPs). 

The Solution

Ultimately, Lexia’s blended learning approach, with differentiated instruction and adaptive technology, would be key to increasing students’ literacy gains at Prattville Primary School. “I was introduced to Lexia® Core5® Reading at a professional development event,” remarks Starnes. “I was impressed with the rigorous research and independent evaluations of Core5 as well as the program’s ability to adapt to each student’s skill level.”

Lexia® Core5® Reading is an adaptive, technology-based literacy program for students of all abilities in grades Pre-K–5. Core5 targets instruction in six areas of reading: phonological awareness, phonics, structural analysis, automaticity and fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. 

Core5 supports teachers with:

  • real time assessment without testing

  • personalized learning paths

  • supplemental instruction materials for individual and small-group instruction

  • data-driven, easy-to-implement interventions

Students Make Progress through Personalized Learning​

Core5 provides explicit and systematic instruction that adapts to a student's responses. Each activity allows students to learn independently, providing immediate support when necessary and advancing them as they demonstrate proficiency. Progress bars, animations, and the ability to repeat directions further strengthen students’ self-monitoring and executive functioning skills. To support English language learners, directions for Core5 are available in Spanish, Mandarin, Haitan Creole, Vietnamese, Arabic, and Portuguese. 

Carol Davis, a second-grade teacher at Prattville Primary School believes that Core5 builds confidence and allows students to take ownership over their learning: “I’ve been using Lexia for two years,” says Davis. “It’s extremely easy to use and the kids love it. I have students who ask to get on Core5 whenever they can. Core5 shows them what they need to work on and through the personalized learning approach, they needn’t feel self-conscious if they are behind their peers. They have the privacy to focus on their own skill development.” 

Teacher Support

As students use Core5, the program’s embedded assessment system, Assessment Without TestingⓇ , monitors the development of their reading skills and provides educators with ongoing reports on their progress. All of this data is collected without a formal testing event, and can be easily viewed by administrators and teachers via to see first-hand how Core5 is benefitting their students. The online platform also allows educators to generate reports at the class, grade, school, and district levels.

Principal Starnes noted, “Core5 enables our teachers to provide differentiated instruction without a lot of additional effort on their part. The program exposes skill gaps in individual students and provides our teachers with Lexia Lessons to address those gaps. This saves them hours of preparation time and lets them focus on the individual needs of their students.”


Prattville students’ reading scores are no longer hovering—they have significantly increased. The number of students working at or above grade level in Core5 nearly doubled from 50% to 93%, and the number of students working below grade level in Core5 decreased from 50% to 7% in less than one school year (see Figure 1 here). Teachers and administrators recognize Core5’s ability to accelerate learning for those who may be behind or in need of special services, while also deepening learning for those who are advanced. “I had one student transfer into my second-grade class in December,” begins Davis. “She was on an IEP and reading at a pre-K level in Core5. After using the program for less than four months, she’s come within reach of Core5’s first-grade level. I find that remarkable.”

Teachers are really benefiting from the program’s straightforward design, and its ability to engage students. “Lexia Core5 Reading provides the tools students need to learn at their own pace and experience success. They begin to believe in themselves and are able to move forward with confidence,” Starnes concludes.

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