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This month our Lexia Star User is Drapers Brookside Infant and Junior School, Essex. We spoke with Vice Principal, James Smith on how Drapers Brookside have implemented Lexia so well and why they enjoy using it in school.

What do you feel makes Lexia stand apart from other reading skills software products on the market?

Lexia is really good as it focuses children on the aspects of reading that they struggle with and breaks that element of reading down in simpler chunks to try and support the child’s understanding. Its levelled stages mean that children also manage to make progress and are getting challenged progressively as they work through the programme. Finally, the fact that teachers themselves do not have to be too actively involved in the setting up of tasks means that it doesn’t take up too much of the time nor do the children loss their reading opportunities while waiting for their teacher to put more activities on the platform (an issue that happens with other online reading programmes)

Can you provide a general overview of how you use Lexia?

This year has just been a trial year for us with the main goal to refine how we use Lexia and ensure we use it affectively. Currently all of our Year 2, 5 and 6’s have Lexia accounts and just our PP children in the other year groups. For the children in Year 2, 5 and 6, Lexia is used predominately as a homework tool. All the children in these years are asked to do 40 minutes a week and gain at least 5 units. Obviously, children are welcome to do more. Children that do not have access to a device to do this work at home, do not do it regularly enough or those that need more support on the programme can be asked to come and work with a teacher at lunchtime to help them complete the target amount. These sessions take place daily and they ensure that all children are regularly using Lexia. The average number of units completed by a child each week has been over ten this year in these year groups. In the other year groups there have been no set expectations this year, however from September the systems in place for Year 2, 5 and 6 will be implemented across the whole school.

 Have you noticed a positive impact on students?

Confidence and speed in their reading has definitely improved, particularly in Year 2 and 6 (the year groups where it has had the most focus on). The progress of the children in the six months we have used Lexia has been vast. Many children getting double their scores in practice SATs papers and jumping multiple bands in their reading. Children are very aware of their level on Lexia and take great pride in telling each other and adults when they have completed a whole activity section or level.

 Have you implemented any special sort of rewards system in school when pupils progress on Lexia?

At the moment we have not introduced any specific rewards that are regularly given out apart from the Lexia certificates. These are presented in a weekly assembly and we often have between 20 and 30 certificates each week for Lexia. Next year, we are going to have a trophy presented weekly for the class that have gained the most units on Lexia combined.

 How useful have you found the Lexia reports in terms of demonstrating progression and informing planning?

The reports are very good for showing which children are using Lexia and which are not. It is very simple to see who needs to be given another push to use the programme. It is also very useful to see how any individual child is performing and what they are struggling at or perhaps what element of reading they are not as confident in. The tabs at the top of every class’s overview, which show any children that are struggling with an element or does that have completed a level, are very useful and clear.