New Literacy Program for Middle School & Up

The National Center for Education Statistics has found that approximately two-thirds of eighth-grade students in the U.S. cannot read proficiently (, a figure that has held relatively steady for 25 years. To help schools and districts close the achievement gap for nonproficient readers in grades six and above, Lexia Learning has released PowerUp Literacy, designed to simultaneously accelerate the development of both fundamental literacy skills and higher-order thinking skills through adaptive learning paths.

Developed specifically for adolescent students, the program identifies skill gaps and provides personalized and systematic instruction in word study, grammar, and comprehension. By engaging students with a range of relevant, high-interest authentic texts, instructional videos, and game-based motivational elements, the program is intended to help students take ownership of their learning, acknowledging their growing autonomy and building their confidence.

“Schools and districts need to prepare all middle and high school students, including nonproficient readers, for college and careers, so closing the literacy achievement gap in grades 6–12 is often a matter of special concern.

That’s especially true when teachers don’t feel they have the training or tools to support nonproficient readers,” says Lexia president Nick Gaehde. “PowerUp equips teachers with the knowledge, data, and instructional resources they need to support and motivate those readers.”

“With more than 30 years of experience in reading pedagogy and research and several peer-reviewed studies demonstrating the efficacy of our instructional approach, we have always put the needs of teachers and students at the core of what we do,” adds Gaehde. “We want to empower teachers who might otherwise feel unprepared to support nonproficient readers. And we want to meet the needs of a wide range of students—whether they are struggling or nearly proficient readers—through a highly engaging and personalized instruction experience that we believe will effectively address the decades-long gap in reading proficiency across our country.”

See Language Magazine October 2017 for an interview with Nick Gaehde and Liz Brooke of Lexia.


  1. In thinking about the achievement gap, locally, it is useful to consider national trends in average test performance for students who have taken a widely recognized test, such as the SAT, for example.
    As indicated in the table, the All Student average for SAT Critical Reading hasn’t changed materially in recent decades—trueas well for average scores of groups classified by
    Local experience generally mirrors national experience. Given the effort, time and money expended during the same period, it seems reasonable to conclude that we shouldn’t expect marked change in average performance in this critically important ability for any subgroup in the foreseeable future.
    SAT Critical Reading average selected years
    1987 ’97 2001 ’06 ’11 2015
    507 505 506 503 497 495 All students
    524 526 529 527 528 529 White
    457 451 451 454 451 448 Mex-Am
    436 454 457 459 452 456 Puerto R
    464 466 460 458 451 449 OthHisp
    479 496 501 510 517 525 Asian/Pac
    471 475 481 487 484 481 Amer Ind
    428 434 433 434 428 431 Black
    SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education,National Center for Education Statistics. (2012).
    Digest of Education Statistics,2011 (NCES 2012-001), Chapter 2. SAT mean scores of
    college-bound seniors, by race/ethnicity:Selected years, 1986-87 through 2010–11
    (Note. 2015 data source:
    The lower “All students” average in 2015 than in 1987, is probably largely due to the increased representation of members of lower-scoring subgroups.

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