Lexia Reading Core5 (formerly Lexia Reading)

Study: Macaruso & Rodman (2009)

Macaruso, P., & Rodman, A. (2009). Benefits of computer-assisted instruction for struggling readers in middle school. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 24, 1, 103-113.

Descriptive Information


Acquisition and Cost

Program Specifications and Requirements


Overview: Lexia Reading Core5 (Core5) is designed as a user-centered, interactive, and collaborative model of personalized learning and is appropriate for accelerating reading skills development for students of all abilities in Pre-K to Grade 5. Students begin by taking an Auto Placement assessment which assigns them to the appropriate start level in the program’s scope and sequence. Students then progress through the program levels at their own pace. Teachers and school staff monitor the implementation through dashboards on the myLexia website.

Alignment to Standards: Core5 is closely aligned to most rigorous state and national standards, including the Common Core State Standards for Reading (Foundational Skills, Reading Literature, and Reading Informational Text) as well as many Writing, Language, and Speaking and Listening standards.

Scope & Sequence: Core5’s scope and sequence provides balanced skill development for all five strands of the “Essential Elements of Scientific Reading Instruction” as identified by the National Reading Panel (2000) — Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Comprehension. In addition, a sixth strand in Core5 targeting “Structural Word Analysis” helps form the bridge from decoding skills to advanced vocabulary and comprehension. 

Core5 is used by nearly 8,000 individual sites across all 50 states, Washington DC, and an additional 30+ countries including Canada, Australia, Great Britain, South Korea, and New Zealand. As of November 2015, over 1.5 million unique students used Core5.

The Core5 online activities are accessible online through an internet browser or through the Core5 app for iPad or Android tablets. Students can work on Core5 in school, at home, in extended-day programs, or libraries and other community centers — anywhere there is internet access and a browser.

Students use the online program for 20–30 minutes per session, 1–5 times per week, for 25–30 weeks.

For struggling students, the online prescription is a minimum of 60 minutes/week for K-3 students and 80 minutes/week for grades 4–5. Students spend an additional 40–80 minutes a week engaging with offline program components (teacher-directed Lessons and Instructional Connections, as well as independent/partner Skill Builders).

Access to assessment data is available to teachers and administrators in real time through an internet browser or through the myLexia app for the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple Watch. Teachers are notified by web-based reports or email when students require support or intervention.

Where to Obtain:
Lexia Learning Systems

300 Baker Avenue Suite 320

Concord, MA 01742

Phone #: 978-405-6200

Web Site: www.lexialearning.com

Cost: There are two ways to buy Core5 – individual student licenses or a site license (unlimited number of students at that site). Individual licenses costs between $30-40 a year per student, depending on the number of licenses purchased. A site license for a school that has 500 students would be $17 per student for a single-year license. As a subscription service, a one-year renewal is at the base rate, and multi-year renewals will reflect discount. Although purchasing training is not required, a launch training and two follow-up trainings per year are recommended. These are available in person (price may vary based on the needs of the school) or via webinar at different price points. E-learning modules are also available – nearly all of training videos are available for free through the program’s admin portal, myLexia.com.

The Core5 program requires a web-enabled device, such as a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet (7 inches or more — IOS or Android). The online component is conducted by each student independently, with one device. Implementation monitoring through myLexia can be accessed through a web browser on any device or through our IOS app, myLexia (versions for iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch).

Instructional and supplemental materials require printing.Offline instructional experiences may require pedagogical materials commonly found in elementary school classrooms.

Core5 includes an extensive online resource library of interactive professional development videos, documentation, Lexia Lessons, Lexia Instructional Connections, and Lexia Skill Builders embedded into the administrative component of the program.

Lexia offers Implementation Support Services that includes trainings in person, via webinar, and through e-learning course modules. A full support package includes an Implementation Manager that consults with and assists district and school leadership throughout the year. Activities may include: creating an implementation plan, professional learning events, reviewing implementation milestones, data coaching and analyses, assistance in developing sustainable models and staff expertise, and assisting with seasonal account maintenance activities.

Additionally, teachers can access Training On Demand, a robust series of training modules that are available anytime and anywhere.  These interactive modules cover a wide range of topics such as the Core5 Scope and Sequence, Navigating within a Core5 Activity, and Student Reports in myLexia. Designed for teachers and administrators with no prior experience using Core5, teachers can explore modules at their own pace, can interact and engage with content, and can test their knowledge with interactive quizzes at the end of each module.

Our customer support has online resources that are available 24/7 as well as live support via a toll-free number Monday through Friday 8am–6pm EST, except for holidays.


Participants: Convincing Evidence

Sample size: 42 students (27 program, 15 control)

Risk Status: Students were originally selected for the program based on low scores on the Developmental Reading Assessment, coupled with teacher referrals. The Developmental Reading Assessment assesses reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.


  Program Control p of chi square
Number Percentage Number Percentage
Grade level
  Grade 1          
  Grade 2          
  Grade 3          
  Grade 4          
  Grade 5          
  Grade 6 16 59% 15 100%  
  Grade 7 11 41% 0 0%  
  Grade 8          
  Grade 9          
  Grade 10          
  Grade 11          
  Grade 12          
Mean Age          
  American Indian          
  Asian/Pacific Islander          
  Hispanic 4 15% 3 20%  
  White 23 85% 12 80%  
Socioeconomic status
  Subsidized lunch          
  No subsidized lunch          
Disability status
  Speech-language impairments          
  Learning disabilities 16 59% 5 33%  
  Behavior disorders          
  Intellectual disabilities          
  Other (SPED Status)          
  Not identified with a disability 11 41% 10 67%  
ELL status
  English language learner 4 15% 3 20%  
  Not English language learner 22 85% 12 80%  
  Female 12 44% 7 46%  
  Male 15 56% 8 54%  

Training of Instructors: The teacher had used the Lexia S.O.S. program during the previous school year and thus was familiar with the program and management of CAI in the classroom.

Design: Partially Convincing Evidence

Did the study use random assignment?: Yes.

If not, was it a tenable quasi-experiment?: Not applicable.

If the study used random assignment, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures used as covariates or on pretest measures also used as outcomes?: No.

If not, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures central to the study (i.e., pretest measures also used as outcomes), and outcomes were analyzed to adjust for pretreatment differences? Not applicable.

Were the program and control groups demographically comparable at pretreatment?: Yes.

Was there attrition bias1? No.

Did the unit of analysis match the unit for random assignment (for randomized studies) or the assignment strategy (for quasi-experiments)?: No.

1 NCII follows guidance from the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in determining attrition bias. The WWC model for determining bias based on a combination of differential and overall attrition rates can be found on pages 13-14 of this document: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/reference_resources/wwc_procedures_v2_1_standards_handbook.pdf


Fidelity of Implementation: Unconvincing Evidence

Describe when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained: Lexia Reading software provided specific information about the amount of time and when students used the software.

Provide documentation (i.e., in terms of numbers) of fidelity of treatment implementation: Treatment students averaged 50 sessions over the school year. Lexia Reading has established 45 sessions over the school year as a minimum use criterion for effective implementation. This criterion is based on research findings comparing reading gains of students who have or have not shown adequate use (see Macaruso & Hook, 2007). Of the 28 students in the treatment group, 75% met the 45 session criterion. Sessions were missed due to absences, school-wide activities, and students attending outside services such as speech therapy.

Measures Targeted: Convincing Evidence

Measures Broader: Convincing Evidence

Targeted Measure Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement Score type and range of measure Reliability statistics Relevance to program instructional content
Word Attack Scoring was based on conventional basal and ceiling criteria. Standard scores (mean, 100; standard deviation, 15) were used in analyses. Most of the WJ III NU tests show strong reliabilities of 0.80 or higher; several are 0.90 or higher. The WJ III NU interpretive plan is based on cluster interpretation. The WJ III NU clusters show strong reliabilities, most at 0.90 or higher. The reliability characteristics of the WJ III NU meet or exceed basic standards for both individual placement and programming decisions.
The program teaches letter-sound correspondences. 
Letter-Word Identification Same as above.   The program teaches sight word recognition.
Reading Fluency Same as above.   The program has students practice sentence level comprehension in a timed environment.
Reading Vocabulary Same as above.   The program teaches students the meanings of written words and strategies for understanding roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
Passage Comprehension Same as above.   The program has students practice reading a short passage containing a missing word. Students practice identifying a word that makes sense to complete the passage.


Broader Measure Woodcock-Johnson III Score type and range of measure Reliability statistics Relevance to program instructional content
Oral Comprehension Scoring was based on conventional basal and ceiling criteria. Standard scores (mean, 100; standard deviation, 15) were used in analyses. Same as above. The program provides children with practice of listening to a brief spoken passage and then identifying the final word based on syntactic and semantic cues.
Spelling Same as above. Same as above. The program provides some strategies about words and word parts that contribute to learning spelling.



Number of Outcome Measures: 1 Prereading, 5 Reading, 1 Writing

Mean ES - Targeted: 0.10*

Mean ES - Broader: -0.08

Effect Size:

Targeted Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Prereading Letter-Word ID 0.05
Reading Word Attack 0.50
Reading Reading Fluency -0.20*
Reading Reading Vocab -0.03
Reading Passage Comprehension 0.16

Broader Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Reading Oral Comprehension 0.01
Writing Spelling -0.16
*      p ≤ 0.05
**    p ≤ 0.01
***  p ≤ 0.001
–      Developer was unable to provide necessary data for NCII to calculate effect sizes
u      Effect size is based on unadjusted means
†      Effect size based on unadjusted means not reported due to lack of pretest group equivalency, and effect size based on adjusted means is not available


Visual Analysis (Single Subject Design): N/A

Disaggregated Data for Demographic Subgroups: No

Disaggregated Data for <20th Percentile: No

Administration Group Size: Individual

Duration of Intervention: 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times per week, 20 weeks

Minimum Interventionist Requirements: Paraprofessional, 1-8 hours of training

Reviewed by WWC or E-ESSA: WWC & E-ESSA

What Works Clearinghouse Review

Beginning Readers Protocol

Effectiveness: Lexia Reading was found to have potentially positive effects on alphabetics, no discernible effects on fluency, potentially positive effects on comprehension, and no discernible effects on general reading achievement.

Studies Reviewed: 3 studies meet standards out of 4 studies total

Full Report


Evidence for ESSA

Program Outcomes: Two studies, both in urban Massachusetts districts, evaluated Lexia in comparison to control groups. Outcomes were positive, but not significant at the school level. There were significant effects at the student level, however, qualifying Lexia for the ESSA “Promising” category.

Number of Studies: 2

Average Effect Size: 0.31

Full Report

Other Research: Potentially Eligible for NCII Review: 3 studies

Gale, D. (2006). The effect of computer-delivered phonological awareness training on the early literacy skills of students identified as at-risk for reading failure. Retrieved May, 2008 from the University of South Florida website: http://purl.fcla.edu/usf/dc/et/SFE0001531.

Macaruso, P. & Rodman, A. (2011). Benefits of computer-assisted instruction to support reading acquisition in English Language Learners. Bilingual Research Journal, 34, 301-315.

McMurray, S. (2013). An evaluation of the use of Lexia Reading software with children in Year 3, Northern Ireland (6‐to 7‐year olds). Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs13(1), 15-25.