The Union Recorder

April 11, 2013

Reading goes digital at Eagle Ridge

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE —  

Eagle Ridge Elementary School teachers and students have been introduced to a new way of implementing the love of literacy and tracking reading progress. Using an online program called myON Reader since February, student interests and reading levels are matched with content to personalize learning and predict future reading growth. 

“[The program] is put out by Capstone Press. It focuses more on nonfiction reading because kids tend to pick just fiction books. This encourages more nonfiction reading and it helps support what they’re learning in their classes,” Eagle Ridge Media Specialist Maria Thorne said. “When the CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests) comes back, it will have a Lexile score to determine where the child’s reading abilities are, and myON is based on the Lexile reading level system.”

MyON is a personalized web-based reading environment for students in pre-k through the eighth grade. Students can access the site to read, review and take comprehension quizzes on digital books from the myON library, which contains more than 3,000 titles published by Capstone imprints. Of the 820 Eagle Ridge students with myON accounts set up, 571 books have been read and tested on, accounting for nearly 90 hours of reading time.

The online collection of resources are available for students and teachers to access 24 hours a day, including outside normal school hours. After providing login information, each student is initially asked a series of questions in order for the program to create an inventory of interests pertaining to each individual student ranging from science, math and language arts to animals, sports and vehicles. 

“If students are in the second grade and up, myOn gives a Lexile benchmark test. First-graders are allowed to pick and choose their books as well, but are not given a test,” Thorne explained. “If a student is reading picture books, then after five books, myON will give another benchmark to test their progress. If a student is reading a chapter book, then they are given a benchmark after three hours of reading. Teachers can also login into myON and they can assign different books for their students based on each student’s reading level if they’re studying a certain subject matter in class.”

The Georgia Department of Education designated Eagle Ridge as a “focus” school last year after the state was released from the strict requirements of the No Child Left Behind education law. At the time, Eagle Ridge represented 10 percent of the state’s schools that needed improvement in closing the gap in student achievement.

“As a focus school, we set aside a budget to help close the gap, so we implemented this online program to help,” Thorne said. “A lot of times with reluctant readers, you can put them in front of a computer and then it’s not considered reading anymore. I have had classrooms thank me for allowing them to use myON. I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from other administrators from around the county, and the teachers who have jumped into using myON are really enjoying it.”

Thorne said students seem to enjoy digital learning the 21st century way.

“If I can get a child to read, does it matter if the book is in their hands or on the computer?,” she said. “The overall goal is to not just have children read, but get them to like reading.”

For more information about the online reading program, visit www.myon.com.

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