RTI Tools

Berwyn South SD Ramps Up Reading Intervention

As part of an effort to to boost achievement for struggling readers, Berwyn South School District 100 in Illinois has rolled out a software-based system that allows them to screen individual students and track progress while providing differentiated and guided instruction.

Berwyn South began piloting Lexia Software's Lexia Reading system in fall 2009 as part of its response to intervention strategy, specifically for the purpose of "gathering student performance data in a timely manner and in a usable fashion," according to a Lexia spokesperson. The district then began deploying the system in January 210 and expanded its use further in March.

Lexia Reading is a hosted, Web-based reading development platform that includes software for three reading levels--Early Reading, Primary Reading, and Strategies for Older Students. It incorporates assessments and tracking features to help enable differentiated instruction and includes more than 900 skill development activities.

"Lexia Reading is a program that has 'some real teeth,' especially for those older students who struggle with decoding and other proficiency issues," said Nancy Simanek, a literature teacher at Berwyn's Heritage Middle School, in a release issued by Lexia.

Berwyn South is one of more than 700 schools and districts in Illinois that are using Lexia, according to the company, including schools in Berwyn, Bourbonnais, Des Plaines, and Chicago.

"We targeted our 'Safe Harbor' scores for ELL students and students with disabilities since these two subgroups did not make Adequate Yearly Progress under NCLB," said Javier Arriola-Lopez, principal of Rachel Carson Elementary, part of Chicago Public Schools. "We provided Lexia services before school four days a week and included it during guided reading as a center activity. Using Lexia's data reporting features, teachers were able to monitor student progress and adjust instruction. As a result, Carson School made Adequate Yearly Progress for the first time in three years."

Berwyn South School District 100 serves about 4,100 students in six elementary schools and two middle schools.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .