With 640 students in grades K-4, our Mississippi elementary school serves a diverse population. In 2020, we were at a point with the third-grade reading test where we weren’t as prepared as we should have been. We knew we had to dig deeper to better prepare our K-2 students, and we also knew this was an ongoing journey.
We started working with the Barksdale Reading Institute to help improve our students’ reading capabilities. Through our experience with the Institute’s Literacy for Leaders, we learned more about Lexia Core5 Reading and the role it could play in helping improve our younger learners’ reading capabilities and test scores.
5 reasons we needed an online literacy platform
We’ve had our online literacy platform in place since January 2020 and have seen significant benefits since then. We renewed our focus this year knowing just how valuable it was for our students, teachers, and parents.
Here are five reasons we focus on Core5:
- Helps us prioritize reading. We set aside daily “WIN” or What I Need time during the day. This is when each grade level focuses on interventions and enrichment. Some teachers use the adaptive literacy program during WIN while others use it during their regular class instruction time as part of a center. The follow-up literacy small-group lessons and personalized skill builders takes place either during reading instruction or during WIN time.
- Supports data-driven decisions. For schools, figuring out how to best allocate IT budgets is an ongoing struggle. Knowing that our literacy program was providing a good return on investment and helping our school achieve reading goals, we found a way to fund the program after the initial funding source ran out. As principals and administrators, there’s a lot of great resources out there and we have to figure out what we have the budget for. It’s about the bang for the buck.
- Keeps parents in the loop. Our literacy program isn’t just a platform that you just put students on and “hope” that they get it. The reporting alone is helpful for parents to be able to understand their children’s reading levels and provide support. There are parent resources provided as well. The benefits of that parental participation can be huge.
- Celebrates student progress. A literacy platform is also a good way to incentivize students because it produces immediate signs of progress or struggle that are easy for students and teachers to see. Students receive a certificate and treat when they level up, which is a way to recognize progress for every student. To highlight the impacts of our program on students who were already on grade level, we created the 21 Club (the platform has 21 levels, each of which includes five activities that are then divided into 6-20 different units). It’s a big deal for anyone to get to level 21, which is a way to recognize our highflyers. We rolled into the 21 Club by chance when our first students achieved that goal and then started highlighting it by putting this on social media and sending pictures of that student to their parents.
- Gives teachers a valuable teaching tool. Our literacy platform has been well received by teachers, although some were hesitant at first, feeling like it was just “one more thing” to do and that it was only for intervention. By the end of the school year, one particular teacher expressed that she loved this program for all her students.
Used across our entire school, our literacy platform goes well beyond reading intervention. It also helps advanced learners tackle tougher reading assignments without fear of failure. When students work beyond their grade level, they get the additional instruction they need to succeed. This pushes students who are on or above grade level to explore new concepts and reach beyond their boundaries.