Lexia Reading Core5 began as a suite of CD-ROM reading software for early, primary, and older students and evolved into the current Web-based product in 2006. It provides supplemental reading instruction and practice in early literacy skills in alignment with the Common Core standards, as well as embedded norm-referenced assessments. The program is accessible through a web browser and an iPad app is available for early readers, with a version for older students coming later in 2013. The program’s assessments measure reading skill development in a way that is aligned with traditional reading diagnostics like DIBELS, and predict students’ year-end performance on reading tests – as early as the first month of school. Lexia Reading’s myLexia program (available on a browser or as an iOS app) then delivers tailored recommendations to teachers on how to boost those (assumed) outcomes, including the specific skills they should work on in their class-wide, scripted lessons to work on with small groups (and automatic grouping of the students), and the amount of time individual students should spend on the system. Although the main program is targeted at early grades (preK through 4th grade), it can also be used for middle school and high school students who need to fill in or reinforce basic reading skills.
Lexia is aimed at schools and districts, not parents or individual teachers, and so is its price tag: $6800 per year, or $3000 per year for small schools (less than 150 students), with no additional charge for students to access the program at home. Given how long it has been around and how widely it is used (by about a million current students around the world, including in San Jose Unified School District, Wichita Public Schools, Los Angeles Public School District, Bridgeport Public Schools and Philadelphia Public Schools), there have been a number of research studies conducted on Lexia Reading. Only a few of these have met the What Works Clearinghouse standards of evidence or Best Evidence Encyclopedia’s standards; the former found some potentially positive effects on alphabetics and comprehension and “no discernible effects” on general reading achievement or fluency, while the latter found “limited evidence of effectiveness for beginning reading and struggling readers.”