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Texas District Expands Use of Reading Literacy Program on iPads

A Texas school district is expanding use of a digital book service that helps schools address literacy. McAllen Independent School District in Texas has committed to deploying myON in all of its elementary and middle schools, 27 in total. The school system began using the company's digital books 15 months ago in four schools.

After an assessment and "interest inventory," myON generates a custom student dashboard that shows books based on their interests and reading abilities. However, students are allowed to access any of the books in the collection. Those include fiction and nonfiction, picture books, graphic novels, chapter books, Spanish and bilingual titles and books specifically intended for "struggling and reluctant" readers. The program includes book quizzes, and students can download up to 20 books for offline reading. Teachers gain access to a dashboard that shares student reading metrics and provides long-term reading growth projections.

McAllen, which runs one of the largest student iPad programs in the country (25,000 at last count), adopted myON to help students — including its English learning population — gain a love of reading and increase their reading abilities. It will be made available on 17,000 iPads.

"We take literacy extremely seriously... However we believe that making reading fun and engaging is critical to our students' reading and overall academic growth," said Brenda Huston, the district's library and media coordinator, in a statement. "In addition to the platform's personalization and customization features, the fact that our students are able to read books wherever they are, even without access to the Internet, was a huge factor in our decision to choose myON for our students. It has been extremely rewarding watching our students further embrace reading and taking ownership of their own academic success."

Since the beginning of school this year, added myON President, Todd Brekhus, the students have read "over 60,889 books."

The school's iPad program began in 2011 as part of its TLC3, or "Transforming Learning in the Classroom," program.

myON is also in use at Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida, Colby Public Schools in Kansas and Oakland Unified School District in California, among other districts.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.