Trenton Housing Authority Invests in Lexia Core5 Reading to Improve Reading Rates of Student Residents
BOSTON (June, 2014) – Like other states across the country, New Jersey has successfully implemented extensive educational reforms aimed at improving the quality of literacy instruction in its schools. Literacy initiatives supporting these reforms include the Governor’s statewide read-aloud programs, which strengthens instruction in the districts where overall performance is low, and institutes literacy coaches in districts where schools are not meeting expectations. In addition to these measures, there is an increased effort to develop partnerships between local businesses, organizations, and schools for the purpose of preventing reading failure and improving overall literacy gains for students.
One such partnership came to life in Trenton, New Jersey, in June 2014 when Jessie Caine Tossie, a former educator who now serves as a commissioner on the board of the Trenton Housing Authority (THA), and Dr. Tanji Gilliam, THA’s director of community revitalization, gained the support of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to bring the award-winning Lexia® Core5® Reading to the authority’s subsidized summer camp program for elementary students.
“Research has long established that issues regarding achievement gaps in literacy are compounded when students come from low-income and minority homes,” said Gilliam. “So we made a concerted effort to craft a summer program that was a balance of recreational fun and educational instruction tied to reading. That balance would put the students on a trajectory of improvement when they went back to school in the fall.”
The six-week summer camp at Prospect Village served children who resided in THA-owned properties as well as other children who lived in the city of Trenton. The camp met five days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Breakfast and lunch were served daily through the Trenton Board of Education Nutrition Department, and the student campers participated in various athletic activities, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and weekly field trips. In addition, every student spent 45 minutes each day using Lexia Core5 Reading.
Research-based and proven effective, Lexia Core5 Reading provides instruction in the six areas of reading instruction (phonological awareness, phonics/PA, structural analysis, automaticity /fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension). The technology-based reading program also creates personalized learning paths for every child – whether struggling, on-level or advanced – by providing explicit instruction and immediate corrective feedback. Students work independently in 18 unique levels of engaging, self-paced activities that take them on adventures around the world.
“Through the reading program, the students interacted with progressively more complex text as they developed critical literacy, listening, and reading comprehension skills,” said Gilliam. “If a student struggled with a particular activity, the program gave immediate corrective feedback and automatically presented a new approach for the student to practice in order to master the relevant skill.”
Gilliam’s staff noticed that the students began to demonstrate increasing confidence as independent readers over the course of the summer camp. “This program meets these students where they are comfortable − on computers,” she said. “They have a real affection for video. It’s engaging. So it was not surprising to me to see their faces light up as they worked in the program and moved to new levels.”
In order to corroborate her enthusiasm for the reading program with hard numbers, Gilliam enlisted Columbia University graduate research student Tony Cline to analyze the achievement levels of the summer camp students. He found that 32 percent of the students advanced two or more grade levels while 45 percent of the students advanced one grade level.
“This validated for us the importance of the summer camp experience being more than just a summer getaway for Trenton children. It should be a life-changing experience where we can help them with their academics and their lives,” said Gilliam.
Beginning in November 2014, Trenton’s Monument Elementary School, which many of the THA students attend, has begun offering an after school program where participants work on Lexia Core5 Reading four days a week.
Gilliam added, “We know from our summer experience the students love Lexia Core5 Reading, and we know when they love something, they’ll be more motivated to use it. We plan to capture this motivation and use it as the foundation for building momentum and, more importantly, improving reading scores for many more Trenton-area students.”
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Rosetta Stone Inc. (NYSE: RST) is dedicated to changing the way the world learns. The company's innovative technology-driven language, reading and brain fitness solutions are used by thousands of schools, businesses, government organizations and millions of individuals around the world. Founded in 1992, Rosetta Stone pioneered the use of interactive software to accelerate language learning. Today the company offers courses in 30 languages, from the most commonly spoken (such as English, Spanish and Mandarin) to the less prominent (including Swahili, Swedish and Tagalog). Since 2013, Rosetta Stone has expanded beyond language and deeper into education-technology with its acquisitions of Livemocha, Lexia Learning, Fit Brains, and Tell Me More. Rosetta Stone is based in Arlington, VA, and has offices around the world.
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