Fighting Summer Loss – “Give Five – Read Five”

The phrase “summer loss” describes the phenomenon in which students suffer a loss of content knowledge and skills over summer break. Research has shown that low-income students are particularly vulnerable to this issue because they lack the resources when they go home.

In an effort to combat “summer loss,” The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and State Superintendent June Atkinson have launched the “Give Five—Read Five” campaign. The campaign is aimed at promoting summer reading while providing books to those in need. Parents, teachers and business leaders are asked to donate five new or gently-used books to their local elementary school. You can donate books at any elementary school during school hours of 8 am – 3:30 pm.

MetaMetrics®, developers of The Lexile® Framework for Reading, have partnered with The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to offer incentives for the top three schools that collect the most donated books. Click here to learn more.

On April 23rd, MetaMetrics President and Co-founder Malbert Smith spoke at the “Give 5—Read Five” campaign launch at Hilburn Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina. State Superintendent June Atkinson recognized MetaMetrics for donating 300 books to the school.  You can check out photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Let’s come together and fight summer loss. Please Give Five and don’t forget to Read Five this summer!


New Global Section: Now Available on

We are thrilled to share our brand new global section on  The section highlights the ever growing global presence of MetaMetrics®.

We’ve divided the Global section into three main categories:

  • Global Partners– Features several of the largest global education companies that use Lexile® measures, including; ETS®, Pearson, and Scholastic International. 


  • In Country Partners– Details each country’s testing, book retailer and publishing partners, translated resources and local press.


  • News Around the World– Includes hundreds of articles from around the globe that feature MetaMetrics and Lexile measures.

Our new global section is your source for latest news. Keep your eyes open for weekly global press updates, new partner additions (like our recent partnership with and our translated global resources.

In addition to the updated global pages, we’ve just released a brand new Lexile overview video, accessible in English, Japanese and Korean.  All videos are also available on our YouTube Channel.

And don’t forget to like our Lexile and Quantile Facebook pages and follow us on Twitter!

The Importance of Early Math Numeracy

Not surprisingly, what students know about math by first grade seems to be an early indicator of how well they will be able to do everyday calculations later in life. About 1 in every 5 U.S. adults can’t perform at a mathematical level that is expected of a middle school student.

A study from the University of Missouri tested 180 7th graders that were performing lower than their peers in a test of core math skills needed to function as an adult. The results showed that the students that were behind in 7th grade were also behind in 1st grade. Unfortunately, the gap was never filled. Dr. David Geary a cognitive psychologist leads a study tracking children from kindergarten through high school in the Columbia Mo. School system. He stated that the students behind in the early grades are not “catching up” with students who started ahead.

Geary says students need “number system knowledge.” This includes:

  • knowing that 3, three, and 3 dots all represent the same quantity
  • knowing that 23 is a bigger quantity than 17
  • realizing that numbers can be represented in a variety of numerical ways such as 2 + 3 = 5
  • 4 – 1 = 5,  5 + 0 = 5, 6 – 1 = 5
  • using a number line to show the difference between 10 & 12 is the same as the difference between 20 and 22.

 Mann Koepke of NH’s national Institute of Child Health and Human Development has a number of suggestions to help children with math at an early age.  For example:

  • attach numbers to a noun such as 5 crayons so they can visually see the concept of the number
  • talk about distance by asking “How many steps to your ball?”
  • describe shapes
  • measure ingredients
  • discuss what time you need to leave to get to a destination at a certain time
  • making change when buying items
  • predicting which line in a grocery store will be the quickest

It is never too early to start recognizing how much math is used in daily activities.  And whenever possible, it pays to intervene early to ensure student math success.

Poem in Your Pocket

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the New York Times has come up with an interesting project: they are publishing haikus. The short poems follow the general syllabic rule we all learned in grade school, but not the true rules of the poetic form (haiku are typically focused on images from nature and always refer to the season.)

Yet these poems published by the Times are unique in their own way: they are all pulled from Times articles using a computer algorithm. Journalists then review the findings and select the more elegant poems to post online. Each poem has a link back to the original article.

With Poem in Your Pocket Day finally here, it may be fun to browse the collection and pick a few favorites to share for today.   And it’s always rewarding to watch as the day’s news leads to art.

Egg Cartons and Collaboration

Very, very early in my teaching career a more seasoned colleague shared with me his lamentation on the profession: As teachers, we are the eggs; the school is our egg carton. Each of us is separated off into our own little protective compartment—our classroom—never touching, never interacting, never discussing.

A new report from the National Center for Literacy Education, Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works, appears to suggest that little has changed in the last 20 years in that regard. According to its findings, only 40% of educators have the opportunity to co-plan with colleagues more than once a month. And yet, co-planning is the one professional learning experience survey respondents value the most. In fact, a majority of educators have less than one hour per week to work with other members of their learning teams. (A one-page infographic summarizing the report’s findings is also available.)

For a profession firmly focused on developing a love of life-long learning, this reality may seem counter-intuitive. However, the pressures of time and available resources too often dictate policy. The good news, as the report also states, is that many of the building blocks to begin to rectify this problem may be already in place: educator teams, online professional networks, smart use of student data, and—perhaps most importantly—instructional coaches and school librarians.

Changing the climate and culture of our schools to embrace collaboration may seem a daunting task. Policymakers at the school, district, state, and national level all have a role in the kind of systemic remodeling for which the report calls. But, as classroom teachers, we must be that change. Now, as classrooms across the country begin the heavily lifting of implementing new standards and striving for college and career readiness, the work becomes more important than ever. This may the time to finally break free from our Styrofoam sarcophagi, to escape our egg-carton mentality, and model for our students the kind of life-long learning we desire to see in them.

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.