Kansas Reading Initiative (KRI)
KRI End-of-Year Results
Percentage of students meeting grade-level benchmarks rose dramatically from 45% to 70%.
Of 2,000+ students considered to be at-risk of not meeting grade level end-of-year benchmarks, 99% of these struggling readers accelerated their reading skill acquisition by mastering more than one year of content, with 87% advanced two or more grade levels.
The Inception of a Statewide Technology-Based Literacy Program
In 2013, the effort to increase reading proficiency among school children across the state received a significant boost when Governor Sam Brownback signed a progressive piece of legislation supporting a reading roadmap called “Read to Succeed,” known also as the Kansas Reading Initiative (KRI).
The state’s objective was to implement a technology-based literacy approach that would provide a personalized learning path for each student. The legislation focused on helping teachers connect data to instructional strategies through student-specific action plans that help them meet end-of-year benchmarks. KRI called for the use of embedded assessment, which provides student performance data in real-time, without stopping to administer a test. Most importantly, the legislation required that the instructional technology must be proven effective, validated by third-party academic journals. Based on these criteria, the state chose Lexia Reading Core5®, providing the program at no cost to elementary schools who applied for a two-year grant.
Dramatic Reading Gains Reached in First Year
During the 2013–2014 school year, schools across the state that participated in the Kansas Reading Initiative saw dramatic reading gains. With over 225 schools participating in the first year of the two-year initiative, the results showed that of the more than 11,000 students using the literacy program at recommended levels, the percentage meeting their grade-level benchmark increased from 45 percent to 70 percent. More than 2,000 students were considered to be at high-risk of not meeting grade level end-of-year benchmarks, but by the end of the school year, 99 percent of these struggling readers accelerated their reading skill acquisition by mastering more than one year of content, and 87% advanced two or more grade levels.
Statewide Initiative — Local Results
Ryan Cunningham, Principal at Medicine Lodge Grade School, suspected that his students were not adequately prepared for the rigorous Common Core assessments. His teachers needed a way to determine whether student learning was aligned with the new standards’ in-depth demands and he wanted to provide teachers a clear course of action for supporting any student who struggled to keep up with those demands. To address this need, Medicine Lodge Grade School decided to participate in the Kansas Reading Initiative.
Cunningham commented, “Just two weeks after we started using the program, reading gaps began to close and it just kept getting better. In September, over half of our K–5 students were at-risk of reading failure, working one or more grade levels behind. By May, 95 percent of our students were working on skills at or above grade level, and all of these students advanced at least one grade level or completed the entire Lexia Reading Core5 program by mastering their grade 5 skills” (see Figure1).
Educational Design Solutions (EDS), a Kansas-based company, is Lexia Learning’s statewide partner for the Kansas Reading Initiative and works with schools across the state to ensure ongoing implementation success to achieve academic gains for readers of all abilities.