Lexile Measures Underscore States’ “International Literacy Day” Activities

Today, two states—Florida and North Carolina—are observing International Literacy Day and National Literacy Month by encouraging educators, librarians and families to use Lexile measures to help all readers strengthen their literacy skills.

In Florida, Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp will celebrate International Literacy Day as part of the Florida Departments of Education’s and Environmental Protection’s recognition of September as National Literacy Month. With over 20 percent of the state’s adults experiencing literacy issues that impact their families and their lives, Florida Literacy Month aims to help family members of all ages improve literacy skills to help build self-sufficiency.  (more…)

West Virginia Parents Encouraged to Help Students Build “21st Century” Skills

It goes without saying that parents want to do all they can to support their child’s academic success. But, sometimes, knowing exactly what to do can leave parents with more questions than answers, especially when it comes to interpreting their child’s report card.

This year, the West Virginia Department of Education is changing that. When parents receive their child’s WESTEST2 score reports this week, they will also get a supplemental flyer that explains where they can find their child’s Lexile® measure and how they can use that measure to support their child’s reading growth.

Dating back to 2008, students in grades 3-11 have received a Lexile measure on their report cards. (Students in the same grades also receive a Quantile® measure). The Lexile measure indicates the child’s reading level, enabling parents to select books that are the right fit for their son’s or daughter’s reading ability—not too difficult to frustrate the child, but not too easy to limit reading growth. (more…)

For the Students, By the Students

As the Gainesville Times reports, Georgia’s new State Schools Superintendent, Brad Bryant, is looking for advice on how to increase graduation rates – from the students.  In keeping with Superintendent Kathy Cox’s tradition, Superintendent Bryant is forming a council.  High schoolers from all districts in Georgia can apply to the Student Advisory Council which meets three times a year to exchange suggestions and ideas.  Bryant believes “it is important to take the feedback of these students into account as we make statewide policy decisions that affect their futures and prepare them for college and career readiness.”

This year the focus is on increasing the graduation rate.  To apply, students have to provide specific suggestions/ideas to improve the graduation rate.  In 2010, Georgia’s graduation rate rose to approximately 80%, up from 63% in 2002.  The goal of the 2010-2011 Student Advisory Council will be to develop a plan to further increase that percentage.

This bottom-up style of communication not only allows for students to exchange ideas and gain knowledge of how other schools within the state do things, it gives them a sense of ownership for the successes of the school system.  We applaud Georgia for its effort to prepare students for the demands of the post-secondary world. g cloud .

Beat the Heat This Summer With ‘READ NC’

In the latest edition of The Fayetteville Observer , State Superintendent of Public Instruction, June Atkinson, does a great job of explaining why many students fail to read over the summer months:

Research has suggested that one reason that children do not read enough over the summer is that they have difficulty finding books at their reading level that really interest them. Studies also have shown that students’ reading abilities can actually grow over the summer when they read high-interest books that are also well-matched with their Lexile measure.

North Carolina joins a number of states, including Florida and Illinois , in using Lexile measures as an important element of their summer reading program. It’s inspiring to see how aggressive North Carolina has been in educating parents on the importance of maintaining academic focus year round. In fact, they have designed an entire campaign around encouraging parents to keep their children reading targeted, interesting materials during the academic break. Here’s Atkinson describing the campaign: (more…)

Florida’s Summer Reading Adventure Pays Off

A little over a month ago, we wrote on Florida’s efforts to combat summer learning loss through the Summer Reading Adventure program.  It appears that effort is paying dividends:

Following the May announcement of “Find a Book” as part of the Commissioner’s Summer Reading Adventure, scores of avid Florida readers have used the free search tool to choose books that best match their interests and reading abilities.  This popular online resource, located at www.lexile.com/findabook , utilizes Lexile measures, or text complexity, as well as specific interests of users to make it easier for students and families to select their favorite books and then locate these selections at the local public libraries.

…Although “Find a Book” is used by many states, in the month following the announcement of the Commissioner’s Summer Reading Adventure, Florida topped all states with more than 21,200 unique visits, averaging nearly nine minutes in the book search.

It’s good to hear that so many Florida parents and students are determined to fight summer slide and are using Find a Book to keep reading over the summer months.

North Carolina Schools Emphasize Summer Reading

We’ve written before on the notable Read NC literacy campaign.  That’s why it’s good to see so many North Carolina districts making a concerted effort to keep students reading over the summer months.  Here are more N.C. educators making the case for keeping students reading:

“If we don’t continue reading in the summer we lose so much”, said Vickie Cameron, executive director for curriculum and instruction for Mount Airy City Schools.  “Parents should continue to take their children to the library, read to their children a few minutes each day, having their children read to them a few minutes each day and model reading.  They should let them see their parents reading.”

If you haven’t already taken a look, the “Read NC ” webpage includes free resources to support children’s reading success in the classroom and at home, including a link to the free Lexile Find a Book .

North Carolina Students Are Reading This Summer!

Building on the success of last year’s summer reading initiative , North Carolina State Superintendent June Atkinson launched the education department’s “Read NC ” literacy campaign.  This statewide effort encourages teachers, librarians, and parents to help children use Lexile measures and “Find a Book ” to select challenging and engaging books to read over summer break and throughout the year.

Studies show that children who read outside of school – and who grow up in active reading environments – demonstrate improved literacy skills.  According to Supt. Atkinson, “The “Read NC literacy campaign is about helping students find books that will interest them and assist them in improving their reading abilities even when they are not in the classroom.  Teachers work so hard during the year to build students’ literacy skills and we need to do all we can to make sure their progress is not lost during the summer.”

North Carolina was the first state to report Lexile measures. Today, students in grades 3-8, as well as high school students who take the English I assessment, receive a Lexile measure on their end-of grade or end-of-course test reports.  The Lexile measure and a link to the new “Read NC ” webpage are included at the bottom of students’ test results reports.

The “Read NC “webpage includes free resources to suppport children’s reading success in the classroom and at home, including a North Carolina version of the Lexile map and a link to “Find a Book “.  For more information – and to search for books using “Find a Book” – visit the “Read NC ” page.

The Right Book for Every Reader: Illinois Takes on Summer Reading

Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, recently stated, “Summertime reading can ensure that all children can keep learning and growing during vacation.”  We couldn’t agree more.  Research indicates that students perform considerably higher on assessments administered at the end of the school year than they do on the same assessments administered after a lengthy summer break.  This is due, in large part, to the often devastating effects of summer loss .  This loss is particularly evident in students’ reading skills, and most pronounced among students from low socioeconomic familes, where access to books may be limited.  Our own free resource, Find a Book , as well as local public libraries are two great resources for families who want to remind their children that learning can be fun and incorporated into every day – not just the school year.

Students in Illinois receive a Lexile measure from the ISAT and can use that measure to match themselves, within Find a Book, to books within their areas of interest.  And because Find a Book is linked to the WorldCat system, students can search for their selected titles at their nearest public library.

Illinois is also encouraging librarians to use Find a Book and consider ways to incorporate Lexile measures and the free online tools into their summer reading campaigns.  Many state libraries already have summer reading campaigns and incorporating Find a Book into their program is a great way to allow students to match themselves to books at the appropriate reading level and within their area of interest.

By working as a community to keep the educational spigot open during the summer months, we hope to mitigate summer reading loss for all students.  It is our hope that children graduate with the literacy skills necessary for success in school and career.  Click here to learn more about the notable Illinois summer reading program.

Reading Heats Up This Summer in the Sunshine State

We’re excited about what’s going on in Florida!  This summer, Florida Department of Education Commissioner, Dr. Eric J. Smith, and the Florida Department of State are encouraging all students to read more by launching the Commissioner’s Summer Reading Adventure .  As Smith states:

“Encouraging more students to read this summer is the primary goal of the Commissioner’s Summer Reading Adventure, as reading can help students explore exciting realms from the comfort of their homes or public libraries.”

One of the primary aims of the campaign is to promote the retention and growth of students’ reading skills during the summer break.  As we’ve argued in the past, students who continue to read at a targeted level during the intervening summer months can mitigate the loss that typically occurs in the summer months.  In fact, some students have even demonstrated reading gains – as if the educational spigot was never turned off during the summer.

Florida’s effort encourages students to use both our own Find a Book and their local libraries during the summer and year round for both educational and recreational purposes.  Additionally, the Florida Library Youth Program (FLYP) has designed summer activities to engage readers through music, visual arts, movement, and more.

It’s also worth mentioning that Just Read, Florida! is a statewide reading initiative that brings reading to the forefront in public schools, community groups, and volunteer organizations.  Since its establishment in 2001, the percent of Florida public school students who are reading on grade level has increased by 14 percent.  It’s worth a look. tag cloud . domain list .

Oklahoma Combats Summer Learning Loss

The Oklahoma Department of Education deserves special mention for their efforts to combat summer learning loss.  And here is our own Dr. Malbert Smith making an appearance on the Oklahoma State Department’s of Education monthly television program, Oklahoma’s Education Report Card with Superintendent Garrett and speaking with Superintendent Garrett on ways to help teachers and parents connect students with resources across content areas .  The program is worth a look – even for those outside the state of Oklahoma.  In it, Dr. Smith offers a clear explanation on the dangers of summer loss and argues for a robust summer reading program as a way to mitigate the unfortunate learning loss that occurs during the summer months.  As Smith points out, the Lexile Find a Book site is a great way to both match readers to texts at the appropriate reading level and to match kids to books within their areas of interest.  It’s exciting to see Oklahoma take such direct efforts to ensure that, as Dr. Smith remarks, the educational spigot remains open during the crucial summer months.

MetaMetrics is an educational measurement organization. Our renowned psychometric team develops scientific measures of student achievement that link assessment with targeted instruction to improve learning.