by Christina Schindler

SUBJECT AREA: Reading diagnostic and strategy tool

PUBLISHER: Lexia Learning Systems, Inc. www.lexialearning.com

COST: $120 for school versions of individual programs. $600 for a school version of all five programs. Multi-user packages are available. Family editions of some programs are available.

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Ages 4 through Adult


    Mac: System 7.5.3 or higher, 12 MB RAM

    Win: Windows 95 or higher, SoundBlaster (16 or 32 bit best), 12 MB RAM

EDUCATIONAL GOALS: To identify studentsí reading strengths and weaknesses; to develop skills through interactive activities; to provide assessment reports for teachers and parents; to track student progress and automatically provide the appropriate level of material needed for growth.

DESCRIPTION: Lexia software addresses the first elements of an effective reading program: phonemic awareness, sound symbol correspondence, and basic decoding skills. To meet various needs, the software is divided into five distinct programs: Lexia Quick Reading Test, Lexia Comprehensive Reading Test, Lexia Early Reading, Lexia Phonics Based Reading, and Lexia Reading S.O.S. (Strategies for Older Students).

The Lexia Quick Learning Test provides a thorough assessment of studentsí decoding skills by covering reading skills taught from grades 1 - 7. The five to eight minute test determines a studentís ability to use word-attack strategies and tests for sight words. The software scores and interprets the test by highlighting specific areas for instruction or practice.

The Lexia Comprehensive Reading Test helps teachers evaluate studentsí reading abilities and skills through the eighth grade level. The reports enable teachers to monitor student progress, so they can tailor the instruction to appropriate levels.

Lexia Early Reading addresses core phonological awareness skills: rhyming, first and last sound identification, segmentation, and blending. Each activity is designed with increasing levels of difficulty that allow the student to analyze, practice and manipulate sounds. Students who need more practice are routed to additional activities led by Lexie the Lion.

Lexia Phonics Based Reading provides practice with reading skills generally taught in grades 1 - 3. The program gives either positive or neutral feedback to maintain motivation. After successfully completing the five activities in each level, the child is rewarded with a fun, instructional game.

This activity in the Phonics Based Reading Program has students match the sentence to the picture.

When an older student has not yet learned to read, the last thing they want is to be treated like a child. Reading S.O.S. (Strategies for Older Students) respects the age and experience of older students, while providing them with the support they need to master basic reading skills. Levels 1 - 3 provide support for 1st through 3rd grade reading skills acquisition. Levels 4 and 5 center on skills needed to master high school vocabulary.

STRENGTHS: Lexia software can help a wide variety of students learn to read. A major benefit of the software program is its flexibility in helping students of all levels. English as a Second Language (ESL) students can use sound-symbol correspondence and word structures to develop their reading skills in English. Beginning readers and struggling students can develop reading skills at their own pace.

SUMMARY: Lexia System software provides an effective supplemental reading tool for school or home by addressing common reading difficulties in an effective age-appropriate manner. Teachers can utilize this program to support their reading curriculum in numerous ways. Most importantly, students can work independently on the computer while practicing their skills and receiving immediate feedback. All programs then generate progress reports for the teacher that detail the status of each student, as well as comparative class results. Record keeping is automated so teachers can concentrate their valuable time on classroom instruction.

Lexia System software can also be used at home to provide reinforcement of the school reading curriculum. Students who are just beginning to read, those who are having difficulty acquiring certain reading skills and poor spellers can benefit from using Lexia. This software is also instrumental in helping ESL students develop their knowledge of the English language. Lexia is an easy-to-use program which can reinforce and extend basic reading skills in an engaging and age-appropriate manner.

Christina Schindler is a graduate student in the Educational Technology Program at The College of New Jersey.


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