Promoting readingPublished 10:56am Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Last week, a roomful of educators from across our region gathered at our Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation office to learn about a new way to increase students’ reading abilities.
Educators from Blooming Prairie, Hayfield-Brownsdale, Medford, Truman, and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva learned how to use myON, a digital database of interactive books accessible anywhere an internet connection is available. SMIF is partnering with Capstone Digital to provide small communities with access to this resource through a 3-year pilot grant.
myON evolved from the vision of Capstone to bring digital books and education into the classroom. We know that kids are drawn to technology, and the myON system provides more options for teachers to combine technology not only with reading, but with all curriculums. We are excited to be partnering with Capstone to bring this program into our region.
SMIF and Capstone have a longstanding partnership which seeks to put books into the hands of children across our region. Through our BookStart program, we have distributed 50,000 books to area children. As a result of this successful partnership, Capstone reached out to us to help pilot this program in smaller schools in our region. We saw this opportunity as another way to bring much needed early literacy resources into our smaller communities as part of our commitment to early childhood.
The myOn program — which Capstone calls “the future of reading” — provides motivation by allowing readers to pick their own topical interest areas. myON also provides options within these ability levels, which automatically change to allow student progress. That way, students can learn at their individual level and in their own learning style. Built into the system is a program to measure and forecast individual student growth, thereby personally challenging students and promoting achievement. It also gives educators additional resources to study and assist with the individual student’s needs.
My 8-year-old granddaughter loves to read and was fascinated with reading books online and answering questions. The “quiz” at the end of each book which tracks reading comprehension is more like a game, and she loved the challenge and active role she was able to play in reading.
We’re hoping this pilot will grow into a larger partnership to include more school districts here in southern Minnesota. We know that many of the smaller schools across our region may have more limited libraries. This program brings a huge selection of books to the students. In addition, most libraries have a small number of copies of books; through the myON program, a teacher can provide the same book to every student in the class.
What’s exciting for us is how this program puts over 2,000 books into schools and communities instantly. myON is accessible anywhere there is an internet connection, so this really is a community-wide project. Our hope is that this resource will encourage parents to become active volunteers in their child’s reading life to increase school readiness.
You can reach me by phone 507-455-3215 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Tim Penny
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation