Reading rates on the rise in Susquehanna Twp. from digital program Lexia

SUSQUEHANNA TWP., Pa. (WHTM) —  Reading rates are on the rise at one school district in the Midstate. Susquehanna Township started using technology when it noticed students falling behind in phonics.

Third grader Noah Cobb is using a reading program called Lexia.

“Teaching words that they never learned before…to sound them out.,” said Noah.

The Susquehanna Township School District started using the software last year.

The district’s superintendent Dr. Tamara Willis says when she got on the job three years ago, there weren’t enough resources going toward literacy, and it showed on state testing.

“It wasn’t just one grade level,” said Willis. “We looked at trend data across a number of years and we saw that there was a consistent pattern of deficits.”

That sparked an effort among school officials to focus on reading.

“Providing prescriptive phonics instructions for kids that teachers can then follow up with direct instruction,” said Willis.

The goal is to make phonics fun by having kids learn from playing digital games and conquering levels.

There are students across the district in kindergarten through fifth grade who use the program every day in class on computers or on tablets.

Since starting Lexia last year, the amount of third graders reading at their grade level has jumped from 38% to 55%.

The district’s goal is to raise that number to 90% by 2021.

Noah’s mom Danielle Cobb has already noticed improvements.

“For a boy who reading is not his preferred task, Lexia has been an alternative in my house to reading. So he knows, if I don’t feel like reading tonight, my mom’s going to let me go on Lexia.”

Danielle Cobb is also a teacher, and says technology is making a big difference among her students.

“They really enjoy passing levels. They almost see it as a game, and not really see what they’re getting out of it. But then when they apply those same skills to spelling and things like that, it kind of goes both ways,” said Danielle Cobb.

“Lexia’s fun,” said Noah Cobb. 

More than 75 districts across pennsylvania are also using Lexia.

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