Voyager Sopris Learning’s LANGUAGE! Live program makes significant impact on literacy gains for An Achievable Dream Academy students in Virginia
When students struggle to read, every aspect of their academic life is affected. Timely intervention is the only way they can catch up to their peers. At An Achievable Dream™ Academy Middle and High School in Newport News, Va., administrators experienced this firsthand, yet discovered a solution—Voyager Sopris Learning’s award-winning literacy curriculum LANGUAGE! Live—that now has those same students meeting and exceeding grade-level reading expectations.
Since implementing LANGUAGE! Live three years ago at the middle school level, the district has experienced significant gains in overall student achievement, and specifically the Standards of Learning (SOL) for Virginia Public Schools test, on which students improved between 13 and 30 points while using the program.
“The students are not only scoring higher on the reading SOL test, but they are scoring higher in ALL curriculums,” said Dr. Lee Vreeland, Vice President of Academics, An Achievable Dream. “LANGUAGE! Live is a comprehensive solution that meets the needs of even our students with intensive challenges and learning gaps. We're thrilled with the gains students have shown since the implementation in the 2014-15 school year.
“When the program is implemented with fidelity—by which I mean that a large percentage of the content is covered—there is a direct correlation between LANGUAGE! Live and our kids successfully passing the reading SOL.”
LANGUAGE! Live was a perfect fit for the Academy students, she observed, because they are identified individually by their ability and the program kicks off from each of their unique, personalized starting points. “Our teachers are now able to have more of a prescribed curriculum for those students. We can take individualized learning and instruction to a new level,” Dr. Vreeland said.
In addition to meeting and exceeding the state goals, as well as school goals, she notes that student confidence levels are also skyrocketing in the wake of their newfound achievements with LANGUAGE! Live. Moreover, Dr. Vreeland said she will be watching to see if SAT scores increase as a result.
Dr. Amy Runge, Director of Curriculum and Collegiate Services at An Achievable Dream Academy, attributes the reason for optimism in part to the students’ increased capacity for independent learning.
“We have seen a tremendous amount of growth with our current eighth graders who began using LANGUAGE! Live in sixth grade,” Dr. Runge said. “These students are engaged learners now and even the weakest students from the outset are now largely reaching grade level. We’ve used a variety of products over the years, but LANGUAGE! Live is one that has allowed us to achieve the most significant gains with our then-lowest-achieving students. We’ve had a lot of growth, and even their desire to be learners has changed and grown. In fact, these students even understand other subjects better because they can read the course materials effectively.”
According to a longtime teacher who helped implement LANGUAGE! Live at NNPS, the literacy curriculum has ended her quest for a resource that reaches all her students while effectively addressing their myriad reading levels.
“LANGUAGE! Live is amazing because it allows me to customize each lesson for each student, based on their Lexile level,” said Cassie Prater, a teacher for An Achievable Dream. “The students love the program because they can work at their own pace, earn points, and customize their own avatars, all the while building their reading levels. Every year I use this program, I see tremendous growth in each student. Their self-esteem and confidence regarding reading simply goes through the roof!”
LANGUAGE! Live is built on nearly two decades of research and was developed by Dr. Louisa Moats, an internationally renowned literacy expert; lead author of LETRS® (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional development; author of numerous journal articles, books, and instructional materials; and a past vice president of the International Dyslexia Association.
An Achievable Dream Academy is a unique partnership between Newport News Public Schools, the City of Newport News, and the local business community designed to give at-risk students a better chance to succeed. Students in grades K-12 are offered a quality education in a nurturing environment, as well as the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with caring adults.