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Articles: Language Arts

myON helps Tennessee district measure  reading by reading, leading to measured growth

When Christopher Marczak joined Maury County Public Schools in Tennessee as superintendent in fall 2015, he quickly realized that while every school in his district of 12,000 students was doing the best job possible, each had a vastly different approach to teaching literacy.

Bill Siegel is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy winning documentary filmmaker and vice president of School Programs for the Great Books Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit educational organization.

Inquiry-based learning means asking questions that demand students use evidence from the text to support their thinking. It means challenging students to respond to the differing ideas of their classmates. And it means pushing students to further their own thinking.

Students in California district read 1 million books and improve literacy skills using myON

Many students at Oxnard Elementary School District in Southern California have a dual challenge in gaining reading proficiency. Not only do they struggle with developing literacy skills, but over 56 percent of Oxnard’s 17,000 pre-k through 8 students are learning English as a second language.

To help these students overcome their literacy deficiency, in 2014 leaders at Oxnard turned to the 1-to-1 devices purchased the year prior.

Many districts teach formal keyboarding instruction as early as second grade—a shift that requires new approaches to a skill that was once taught only in high school. Today's software feature gamification, captivating graphics and extensive reporting components.

Schools nationwide are under pressure from new state standards to increase students’ writing proficiency. Here's a look at some of the strategies and tools innovative districts have deployed.

At Napa Valley USD in northern California, classroom technology integration has been a priority since 1997, when the district opened the country’s first New Technology High School. So bringing in digital books in order to provide easily accessible content to the 18,000 students and faculty in 34 schools was a natural—and important—step.

More relevant library: Students from Vista USD in southern California work on a project in their school makerspace.

Future Ready Librarians expands concepts of literacy—from books to tech to STEM. The initiative also drives the nationwide transformation of libraries, as librarians take the lead in creating makerspaces in their districts.

Literacy changes taking hold in schools recognize the subject’s expansion from traditional textbooks to online readings, images and audio. New learning standards ask students to read more closely and write more analytically, meaning teachers must adapt curriculum to get students reading earlier.

High achievers did significantly better in reading while staying stagnant in math, according to the Nation’s Report Card. (Click to enlarge)

From 2013 to 2015, reading scores dipped from 288 to 287, out of 500 total. Math scores also went down a point, from 153 to 152, out of 300. The lowest-performing students showed the biggest drop.

Through e-content provider OverDrive, Texas district sees major upswing in books read

Increasing the use of digital library content was one of the goals outlined in the North East Independent School District’s (ISD) instructional improvement plan starting in the 2013-14 school year. The San Antonio district, which enrolls 68,000 students, had many eBooks and digital audiobooks, but most students were simply not using the content.

“It is hard to provide everything students could want in one print collection,” says Faye Hagerty, director of library services. “But online collections allow us to provide far more options.”

Mesquite ISD Superintendent David Vroonland says he has worked to give teachers more autonomy.

Mesquite ISD Superintendent David Vroonland says his own atypical childhood has driven his focus on teachers and improving the culture for students in need.

Literacy solution myON expands reading resource options in Idaho district

A wealth of choices. Accessible at home or at school. Both fiction and nonfiction options. Those were the qualifications for new ELA software for the 37,000 students of West Ada School District in western Idaho.

“We had other instructional reading tools, but they were very expensive and did not provide content at the time,” says Laura Gilchrist, ELA curriculum coordinator.

In this objective look into a subject that has generated much debate, Ovid K. Wong and Chak Lau examine critical elements in preparing teachers and decision-makers for the tenure application process.

By all accounts, Marysville School District in Michigan is a high-success, high-performance district. While the average state graduation rate hovers at about 78 percent, Marysville graduates 95 percent of its students. It’s a point of pride that students exit Marysville—a suburban community located 55 miles northeast of Detroit—prepared to meet the rigorous demands of higher education.

School’s certainly in session for canines throughout the nation: Therapy dogs, security dogs, and service dogs walk the halls alongside students in many schools. Here is a look at five more districts that have welcomed canines into classrooms in recent years.