Medicine Lodge Grade School — Medicine Lodge, Kansas
Core5 Implementation Snapshot September 2013–May 2014
231 students in grades K–5 used the program
61% of those students were at-risk of reading failure, working one or more grade levels behind
95% of those at-risk students finished the year working on skills at or above grade level (See Figure 1)
All at-risk students advanced at least one grade level of material or completed Core5
Lexia Reading Core5 Prepares Students for Rigorous Reading Assessments
Despite almost half of its student population being classified as economically disadvantaged, Medicine Lodge Grade School, a Title I school in south-central Kansas, had performed well on the state reading tests, with the majority of students meeting or exceeding state standards in 2013. However, Principal Ryan Cunningham suspected that students were not adequately prepared for the more rigorous Common Core assessments. He decided that his teachers needed a way to determine whether student learning was aligned with the new standards’ in-depth demands, and wants 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 implemented Lexia Reading Core5®. This technology-based reading program accelerates reading skills development, enables educators to ascertain the status of individual student learning with regard to the Common Core and state standards, predicts students' year-end performance, and provides teachers data-driven action plans to help differentiate instruction.
Helping All Students Develop Critical Reading Skills
Cunningham had first become familiar with Lexia during his tenure as director of the South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative. More recently, he had heard that the Kansas Reading Initiative, a two-year statewide grant program, was providing schools with free access to Lexia Reading Core5. Cunningham wasted no time and was one of the first to apply for, and receive, the grant in 2013.
Designed specifically to help students in grades pre-K–5 meet the most rigorous reading standards, Lexia Reading Core5 allows students to work independently in 18 unique levels of engaging, self-paced activities that take them on adventures around the world. Throughout the program, students interact with complex text as they develop critical literacy, listening and reading comprehension skills. If a student struggles with a particular activity, the system gives immediate corrective feedback and presents a scaffolded approach to mastering the relevant skill.
In the case of Medicine Lodge, the program’s diagnosis of students’ initial reading ability levels proved Cunningham’s concerns to be correct. “Many students were found to be in the ‘red,’ which means that they were not on track to meet year-end benchmarks,” he said. “With Lexia, we could clearly see the specific areas in which the students were struggling."
Implementing Quickly; Integrating Effectively
Medicine Lodge teachers were able to put Lexia Reading Core5 to work quickly, thanks to the program’s data-driven action plans, created for each student and for the classroom as a whole. “The student-specific action plans prescribe program usage targets for individual students and recommend teacher-led instructional materials to support struggling learners,” said Cunningham. “The classroom action plans identify students who would benefit from small-group instruction, so teachers can prioritize individuals at greatest risk of reading failure.”
Data and Reporting Improve Instructional Decisions
The teachers are now digging into the data, carefully looking at the program’s reports, lessons and recommended action plans on a regular basis to obtain a clear picture of student progress. “They see the benefit of the program and the importance of using it with fidelity,” Cunningham said.
Teachers can print a skills report to use at parent-teacher conferences to show student’s progress or areas of struggle so that parents can effectively support reading efforts at home.
Program Benefits: Improved Performance and Collaboration
“I would recommend Lexia Reading Core5 to other educators unconditionally. It is the best and easiest program I've used for identifying and addressing areas of struggle,” said Cunningham. “In September, over half of our K–5 students were at-risk for reading failure working one or more grade levels behind. By May, 95% of our at-risk 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.”
He concluded, “Our students are succeeding at their own pace and we have every confidence that they will be properly prepared for current and future assessments. Lexia has been a great complement to our RTI program and has enhanced our ability to serve our struggling readers!”