Longitudinal Blended Learning in a Low SES Elementary School
Abstract: By the end of elementary school, most U.S. students fail to meet national standards for reading proficiency, with particularly low proficiency rates among low SES populations. Identifying interventions that have long-lasting positive effects on students’ literacy skills is imperative. The present manuscript explored the long-term impact of using the Lexia® Core5® Reading blended learning program (Core5) with low SES students (N = 63) from kindergarten through third grade. The paper also examined the strategies teachers employed to successfully implement this program. Through Core5, students complete an individualized sequence of online literacy activities, and are presented with a set of more traditional teacher-led lessons. Results suggest that Core5 helped to improve students’ literacy skills from kindergarten through second grade, despite evidence of learning loss over the summer. Although literacy scores plateaued in third grade, students in the sample were reading slightly above national averages. Thanks in large part to the leadership of a school literacy coach, teachers were able to successfully implement this multi-faceted intervention with fidelity. Together, these findings indicate that blended learning programs like Core5 are feasible for teachers to implement and may have a meaningful impact on students’ literacy outcomes.