For five years, Lexington Elementary School in Indiana has used the Academy of READING® software to help their students boost individual reading skills. But since adding the Response to Intervention (RtI) Package last year, teachers have seen the program reach new heights.
“It’s been going very well this year,” Title I coordinator Mandi Chattin said. “I think the biggest benefits for us since we’ve added the RtI Package is the progress monitoring component and the reports. The student gap reports have been really beneficial. It’s really helped our referral process.”
Mandi Chattin, Title 1 Coordinator
Created from extensive research and proven in thousands of elementary, middle and high schools, the award-winning Academy of READING delivers a powerful, completely web-based intervention solution that helps at-risk students achieve rapid, permanent gains in reading. The RtI Package offers the only completely web-based solution that connects all of the key RtI components, giving educators tools for universal screening, progress monitoring and data-driven decision making.
Response to Intervention emphasizes a process of providing services and supports to struggling students through assessing and monitoring, providing access to high-quality instruction and interventions, and continued measurement to help guide future instruction. The combination of Academy of READING and the RtI Package is empowering teachers at Lexington Elementary and giving students the tools they need to build their reading skills.
“Since we’ve added the RtI component (to the Academy of READING), our teachers have been much happier with the results, as far as their gains transferring over to the classroom. They’re actually seeing more of a difference in the kids than what they were before,” Chattin said. “The reports have really benefitted them. It’s easier for them to see the at-risk students and where they fall in reference to other students across the nation.”
The flexibility of the software allows teachers and administrators to tailor the program to the needs of their students – giving them the opportunity to monitor students’ progress at intervals that work for them.
“If a classroom teacher didn’t have time in their regular day to do an oral reading fluency passage with every student in their classroom, or even just the ones that are at risk, at least they could do it through the RtI Package. You can always go back and score those later,” Chattin said.
Lexington currently uses the software with students in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades – giving each student every opportunity to fully develop their reading skills during the formative years.
“For instance, with the first graders – they’re starting with letter sounds, rhyming words – we let them go halfway through the school year,” Chattin said. “Then they start to struggle with auditory visuals and timing components. We take them out completely and have them start over, which really seems to drive it more home for them and they’re able to continue on and master more that way. I think it’s a really good review for them.”
Schools and districts are applying the RtI model to increase achievement for all students. Using a problem-solving approach that incorporates universal screening data, targeted prevention/intervention programs and ongoing progress monitoring, the model provides a proven framework for the delivery of effective instructional practices matched to student needs.
Since adding the RtI Package, educators at Lexington made the decision to monitor student progress weekly, giving them the information they need to keep students on the path to reading success.
“I think it’s made a difference in how the kids read,” Chattin said. “If a school doesn’t already have an oral reading fluency assessment that they do on a regular basis, of course I think this would be very beneficial.”
She praises the training and support the Lexington staff received after purchasing the RtI Package as well.
“The professional development trainer (from Education Technology Partners) that worked with us was wonderful. She was very knowledgeable about the RtI standards and she was also very knowledgeable in how to make the program work for us,” Chattin said. “She could look at a child’s record and make suggestions as to what we needed to do within the program to better meet their needs. If a school did purchase the program, I would definitely take advantage of the training that comes along with it.”
Adding the RtI component to supplement the Academy of READING software has given students and teachers at Lexington Elementary an extra boost on the path to achieving literacy goals. In the first year working with the RtI package, each Lexington class saw at least a 1.3 level gain in reading with several students gaining a full three or four grade levels.
“I definitely would recommend it,” Chattin said.