Company: Lexia Learning Systems, Inc., 200 Baker Avenue Extension, Concord, MA 01742. Phone: (800) 435-3942. Internet: www.lexialearning.com.
Price: The cost is customized, based on the number of simultaneous users. For example, 25 simultaneous users on one of the Lexia Reading programs would cost $200 per simultaneous user (this license could serve a population of 125 students based on a 5-1 student-computer ratio).
Audience: Grades Pre-K to adult. This is also an especially effective program for English as a second language (ESL) students and supplemental reading programs.
Format: Lexia Reading v5 is available in Macintosh and Windows formats via a hosted web-enabled option or as a network version. The program combines three Lexia programs (Lexia Early Reading for ages 4–6, Lexia Primary Reading for ages 5–8, and Lexia Strategies for Older Students for ages 9–adult) with a management system and new reporting features.
Minimum System Requirements: Windows systems require Windows 2000 (SP4), Windows XP (SP2), or Windows Vista. Macintosh computers require OS X (10.2–10.5).
Both platforms require a minimum of 250 MB RAM, 500 MB free hard drive space, a minimum of a 32 MB accelerated video graphics card or better, and speakers or a headset (headset recommended).
Description: Lexia Reading v5 is a collection of three software programs combined with management functions. Lexia Early Reading increases phonological awareness in early readers. Lexia Primary Reading helps all early elementary children master basic reading skills. Lexia Strategies for Older Students helps students ages 9 to adult learn to read through intensive skill practice.
The three programs use leveled activities that automatically branch to other activities in response to student performance. The web-enabled options give schools an easy-to-install way of implementing Lexia Reading programs, as well as Lexia-hosted student data and management modules.
Overall Rating: *****
Ease of Use A
Product Support A
Installation: This is a large program; installation and setup can be a complicated process. District technology personnel should handle the network installations.
The client workstation software must be installed and configured prior to initial use. The company provides the client software download instructions and the required customer code. The software must be downloaded via a fast internet connection; it is too large for modem download. Before use or distribution to other machines, the software must be configured with a customer code.
Teachers or other administrators must set up class and student lists in the online management area with assignments, usernames, and passwords (if desired) before students can use the workstation part of the program.
The instructions are clear, and the installation process worked well. Installation Rating: A
Content/Features: Lexia Reading v5 is an impressive and complete computer-delivered supplemental reading program. With this program, reading can be taught and improved at all grade levels for students including adults, ESL learners, and challenged readers. The program’s internet-based management segment offers a complete range of data collection and reporting features.
Lexia Reading can be used at school, home, in libraries, or any place that computers and an internet connection are available. The only real limitation is the amount of computer time available. However, even in cases where students can’t get the daily computer time to most effectively use the program, Lexia can be extremely useful and effective in a variety of situations.
The program would be excellent in adult education or in school, after school, or summer reading programs for challenged readers. In our rural school district, we have a few non-English speaking students (Thai and Hispanic at the moment), and Lexia Reading v5 would be excellent for them.
The beauty of the system is that, once placed, students can work independently at their own level and pace. "Own level" means that each student works at activities to improve specific needed skills. The program responds to what each student does and moves them to new and challenging material as needed.
Lexia Reading v5 combines three Lexia programs with several new features. The lowest level is offered by Lexia Early Reading, which has an appealing, clean interface. At Level 1, students practice basic phonemic skills including rhyming, blending, segmenting, and identifying beginning and ending sounds. At Level 2, students begin to practice letter-sound correspondence for consonants, short vowels, and digraphs.
The activities offer directions, provide help, and can read words in a pleasant voice when necessary. Additional help comes from the "Lexie the Lion" character. This systematic and multisensory practice with activities involving auditory, visual, and kinesthetic senses enables children with varying learning styles to improve their reading skills.
Lexia Primary Reading covers the reading levels of Pre-K through grade 3. This material helps students build speed and accuracy, using phonics skills to foster automatic word recognition. Students work independently through the program’s five levels of reading skill development.
Lexia Strategies for Older Students offers reading levels of grades 1 through 8 and works especially well with ages 9 through adult. The activities are designed to remediate basic reading skills while offering age-
appropriate content and interface. The exercises provide practice in everything from basic phonological awareness to advanced word attack skills in an age-appropriate format.
In Levels 1, 2, and 3, students practice the decoding and word-attack strategies necessary for automatic word recognition in context. Students who have mastered the basic skills start at Level 4 and work on word-
attack strategies for multisyllable words and comprehension skills at sentence and paragraph levels.
The final level deals with structural analysis as students practice the more complex skills necessary for fluent reading (prefixes, suffixes, Latin and Greek root meanings, special accents, and additional sentence level comprehension).
Lexia Reading v5 includes a number of new reporting and management features. The new web-based program offers accessible reporting that allows educators to assess and monitor progress on an individual, class, school, and districtwide basis. The report functions provide an ongoing assessment of reading skills and progress. More than a dozen reports are available with variations. Content/Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: The management portion can be a little daunting, but Lexia Reading v5 is a large program with many functions. Once learned, the functions are easy and intuitive. The student workstation software is easy and intuitive to learn, with lots of oral and online support. Ease of Use Rating: A
Product Support: Lexia supports this product in a variety of ways. The hosting service provides support by setting up the online portion and helping users get started. The company’s website features a number of documents that can be downloaded and used, including an excellent "getting started" guide for teachers and students.
In addition, customer support is available by phone or by using an online contact form. The support included in all parts of Lexia Reading v5 is excellent. Product Support Rating: A
Recommendation: I have recommended this program for use in our district with disadvantaged readers and ESL students. At the very least, districts should have Lexia Reading v5 for those populations, but this would also be an extremely useful program to supplement classroom reading instruction at all levels.
Lexia Reading v5 is a useful, valuable, and effective program. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Charles Doe , elementary media specialist, Central Elementary School, Hastings, MI.