Reading and Writing (2019)

Can educational technology effectively differentiate instruction for reader profiles?

Baron, L.S., Hogan, T.P., Schechter, R.L., Hook, P.E., & Brooke, E.C. (2019). Can educational technology effectively differentiate instruction for reader profiles?. Reading and Writing, 32, 2327-2352.


This study investigated the effectiveness of the Lexia® Core5® Reading program (Core5) to differentiate instruction for students with various reader profiles. Based on their word reading and comprehension scores on the standardized literacy assessment aimsweb©, a sample of third-grade students were classified into four reader profiles: poor decoders, poor comprehenders, mixed deficits, and typical readers. The Core5 program utilizes scaffolding through three modes of instruction: standard, guided practice, and direct instruction, with the latter two targeting students experiencing difficulty with a Core5 skill. Results indicate that Core5 was effective in differentiating instruction and helping to improve aimsweb© scores for students falling into various reader profiles.


Key Findings

  • There was a significant effect of reader profile on student performance in Core5. Poor comprehenders had significantly lower standard mode accuracy for the comprehension domain than typical readers. Poor decoders spent significantly more time in the guided practice mode for the word reading domain than typical readers.
  • Students showed improvements in areas aligned with their specific skill deficits. Poor decoders made gains in oral word reading fluency (R-CBM) and poor comprehenders made gains in reading comprehension (Maze) on aimsweb©.
  • By the Spring most performance differences between reader profiles were reduced, showing that Core5 can provide differentiated instruction for varied reader profiles.


Average profile performance in Word Reading in the Fall (shaded) and in the Spring after a year of Core5 use (empty)