E-Learning | News

Napa County Provides Literacy Tool Free to Preschools

The Napa County Office of Education is providing an English and Spanish literacy tool to preschoolers and their schools and families at no charge.

In partnership with NapaLearns, a coalition of business and education leaders focused on creating 21st century learning environments in their local schools, the district is providing access to Footsteps2Brilliance Academic Language Program for Students, a software-based early literacy tool for desktop and mobile devices.

The software uses games and animated e-books to teach literacy and provides tools for:

  • Differentiated instruction;
  • Student progress tracking;
  • Reporting;
  • Social networking; and
  • Activities for parents to complete with their kids.

"In the [United States} 46 percent of children enter kindergarten at risk of failure because they lack essential literacy skills," said Barbara Nemko, Napa County superintendent, in a prepared statement. "Footsteps2Brilliance can teach young learners the basic vocabulary and reading readiness skills research has shown can be critical to school success. This can be a particularly effective tool for our young English learners. In a pilot study in the fall of 2012, a pre- and post-test study of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test showed that 88 percent of students who used the Footsteps2Brilliance curriculum were at grade level by the end of kindergarten, compared to 59 percent of students at the beginning of the year."

This implementation marks the first time the software has been distributed in a county-wide program.

"NapaLearns has been looking for a scalable solution to provide all pre-K children and their families with digital apps that will help to prepare them for kindergarten," said Peg Maddocks, executive director of NapaLearns. "Since 80 percent of parents own mobile devices, this program is an innovative way to reach parents through devices they already own and to connect school and home. The Board of NapaLearns believes providing Footsteps2Brilliance to all Napa County families with preschool age children is a valuable investment, and will help meet our goal of closing the achievement gap in our local schools."

For Napa County preschool teachers, training on the software will take place this month and next. Support and training will also be provided to county parents in the spring.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).