Guest Post: Alejandra, 5th grade student, Komensky Elementary School

Reading is Enjoyable!

Hi. My name is Alejandra, and I am a 5th grade student at Komensky School. One of my favorite hobbies is reading. I love reading books! Daily, we are given forty-five minutes of reading in class. I am always the first one to start reading right away! Sometimes when I’m into a good book, I finish it in two or three days!

myON helps with my love of reading. It has a wide variety of books at my level. I mostly enjoy reading nonfiction books on animals and other science topics. Near the end of the school day, I make sure to download books that I have added to “my list” on my myON App. I don’t have internet at home, so the myON app lets me take my reading anywhere I want to go.

Why is reading enjoyable to me? Mostly, I read because it’s relaxing and it helps me oil off after doing math problems, tests, projects and homework.

Thanks, Alejandra! 

Have a Magical Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day, #myONFans!

The month of May has almost come to a  close…my, how time flies when you’re reading on myON–or working at myON, for that matter!

Memorial Day signals the start of summer here in Minnesota. I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you about all the great materials surrounding the 2014 myON summer reading challenge: myMAGICALsummer! Make it a magical Memorial Day weekend and join the challenge now; the challenge began on May 12th, but it’s never too late to start a magical summer of reading!

Visit the myMAGICALsummer splash page to access the materials for this challenge. We’ve created posters, letters to families, customizable bookmarks and login cards that you may use to promote and engage in the challenge! On this page, you’ll also find information about the prizes for the winners of the challenge as well as information about how to take advantage of access to special third-party publishers during the summer!

Finally–and very importantly–I invite you to join us for a webinar this Thursday, May 29th at 3:00 CST. Katrina Summerville, Program Specialist for NCLB Services and Title I federal programs in Orange County Public Schools, Florida, will present on “Summer Reading Success in an Urban District.” Register here to learn how OCPS experienced incredible success using myON in their summer program.

Happy Memorial Day–and happy myMAGICALsummer!

myON Travels to Turkey

Kutay is an 11 year old boy who started at Servergazi College in Denizli,  Southern Turkey, last fall. When he started at the school, he had no background in the English language. Since the fall, he has read more than 1,600 books on myON. Through reading myON, he has progressed through three levels of the Cambridge English Language assessment in record time and is a confident English speaker.

In conjunction with the school, Farbe held an awards ceremony for all the students and to recognize those students who had read the most. Kutay was presented with various certificates and an iPad. The level of enthusiasm amongst all of the students for myON was phenomenal and testament to the power of myON.

It is amazing that the power of myON transcends not only different reading abilities and interests for kids of all ages, but in fact, it transcends language barriers. myON has the capacity take a beginning language learner toward true fluency. Congratulations to Kutay. Keep reading!


The Limelight’s on Lakeville

If you’re not up to speed on what’s going on in Lakeville Area Public Schools (MN), you’d better get on board! Superintendent Dr. Lisa Snyder and Dr. Trish Harvey, District Digital Learning Coordinator, are the people of the moment for personalized learning.

On May 16th, they were featured authors on eSchoolNews with an article entitled “The Minnesota Tundra can’t freeze personalized literacy.” Their understanding of how to move students successfully toward digital learning has led to the effective implementation both of devices and software programs to enhance student learning, creating a “culture of innovation.”

As Minnesota thaws out from said Tundra, Lakeville–unstoppable yet again–equips its students with tools for a successful summer of personalized reading.  Drs. Snyder and Harvey note “Elementary media specialists are working with students this spring to identify books at students’ Lexile levels, in students’ preferred genres and having students add these books to a personal reading list in myON. Students will now go home for the summer with a personalized list of books and a reading goal.” Thus, personalized learning is just heating up in Lakeville. 

If you’d like to hear more from the educators of the moment, join us for a webinar with District Administration during which Dr. Snyder will present with myON President Todd Brekhus on “New Tools for Personalizing Literacy.” The webinar will be on May 28th at 1:00p.m.CST. You may register here. 

Thank you to Dr. Snyder and Dr. Harvey for their hard work on behalf of the students of Lakeville Area Public Schools. We look forward to hearing of their successes!


myON Monday: Upcoming Webinars

It’s a Monday morning. In the myON office, that means two things: you should already be grabbing an extra coffee and keeping that pen poised above your planner because things are moving at the speed of light around here. 

While your planner is out and your coffee is steaming, I’ll suggest that you take note of two upcoming webinars.

On Tuesday, May 27th at 12:00p.m. CST, Dr. Darryl S. Adams, Superintendent of Coachella Valley Unified School District (CA), will present “1:1 and the Common Core: A Marriage Made in Heaven or Transformation Too Far Too Fast?” Please join us for this discussion about  1:1 technology initiatives and the rising focus on the Common Core in California and across the nation. You may register for this webinar here. 

On Thursday, May 29th at 3:00p.m. CST, Katrina Summerville, Program Specialist for NCLB Services and Title I Federal Programs in Orange County, FL, will share best practices for implementing technology into summer programs. Please join us for this discussion on how to enhance your summer learning and reading offers by using technology. You may register for this webinar here.

We hope you’ll join us for our upcoming webinars with these exciting industry experts. Happy myON Monday!

Throwback Thursday: myON Style

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Even the youngest of students these days could probably tell you what #tbt means. Hazy photos from the nineties (oh, did I age myself there?) flood social media channels every Thursday: questionable bowl cuts, Power Rangers Halloween costumes, kids tug-of-warring over a [insert pejorative adjective here] Bop It!, and dangerous escapades accidentally caught on film by seemingly unworried parents.

But what would happen if we flipped this version of #tbt on its head and instead made this weekly cultural conversation a literary quest into history?  What if Thursdays were designated as a day to dive into titles about history on myON?

Today, instead of posting a #tbt photo, ask yourself this: Can a photograph change the world? With the Captured History books on myON (like Migrant Mother), you can explore the many ways in which photographs have changed history. Today, instead of posting that photo, read on myON about famous photographs  that have truly inspired cultural conversations about history–a true #tbt.


Digital Dangerous Dragons–Oh, my!

I’ve been a bibliophile since about 1990. I’ve  collected books–nay, hoarded them–for as long as I can remember. My bibliophilism has taken me on a journey from the beloved Berenstain Bears, Boxcar Children (titles forthcoming on myON!), and Wisconsin’s own Laura Ingalls Wilder through to the better parts of Shakespeare’s sonnets and Steinbeck’s oeuvre.

Truly, a lover of books is never alone and never bored. But what to do when you can’t quite choose a book? As dear old Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798), “Water, water everywhere; nor any drop to drink.” 7,000 myON titles everywhere and what a one to choose?

Luckily, we are here to help streamline the selection process for you. We’re working to create weekly book sets around different topics to help organize myON’s content for you and help you to choose a new book when the decision gets tough. This week, we present you with a book set on Dangerous Dragons, which you may find here. 

Make it a myON Monday and check out some dangerous dragons today. Read on!

Teacher Appreciation Week: Techie Texas Style!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

We live in the land of celebration–nearly every day on the Gregorian Calendar (er, you know, the normal 365-day calendar) has evolved into a (semi-absurd) national holiday. Will you hug a cow on July 15 (Cow Appreciation Day)? Will you eat a deviled egg on the established Deviled Egg Day (November 2)? Likely not.

You should, however, appreciate your teachers–both past and present–this week. This is a national movement we can get on board with. For who are we without the teachers that supported us and challenged us as we learned new material? But they didn’t teach us just fractions and French. They taught us how to be kind, caring, informed, interesting and curious citizens of the world. So, to our and all teachers: thank you.

This week, I’d like to thank one teacher, in particular: myON Cadre Member and 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Heidi Pinder! Heidi teaches at Swenke Elementary (CyFair ISD) in Cypress, Texas. She was gracious enough to host a webinar on Tuesday with the goal to share practical strategies for encouraging reading. Her webinar was entitled “Everyday myON: Practical Strategies for Personalized Reading.” The recording is coming shortly. For now, I encourage you to read Heidi’s guest post here. Thank you, Heidi, for sharing your wisdom about helping students read to learn with all of us. Your students are surely lucky to have you!

Guest Post: Monica Babaian, Librarian, Houston ISD

I started testing out myON in December 2013 to see how it could be utilized both as part of regular library instruction and as a part of classroom instruction.  Right off the bat, I enjoyed the music included with the read aloud scaffold, and it was really nice that the voices doing the reading were actual human voices—they were fluent and authentic.

What I really like about myON is that it’s getting students hooked on reading. Whenever I use it in my library lessons, the students want to find a book related to whatever topic or genre we discussed during the lesson. It has opened an entire new world of reading possibilities for the students in my school.

I’ve seen some students who would be considered non-readers become excited about reading when I used myON because it provides a new reading experience for them, one that is more interactive than print books and other e-books that are available. It has made learning history exciting for the students as we began an exploration into westward expansion in American history. We’ve also used myON to learn about mythology in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Now that I have so many students who are interested in mythology, I’m going to have to beef up the print mythology section of the library collection because students are interested in checking out books on mythology—an unforeseen , yet positive side effect of myON.

Teachers at my school like myON because it allows them to track student data. They can see which students have used myON for reading and how long each student has read. Some of the teachers have commented that the reading quizzes that myON offers as a part of its service have higher order questions, preferable over some of the other reading comprehension services that schools may use.

As a librarian, I hear all too often about reluctant and struggling readers; they are part of the community of students that I serve. I think this is where myON is particularly successful in offering a new approach to engaging reluctant and struggling readers. Students who read at all levels, whether they are below or above or grade-level, enjoy the graphic novel feature found in many of the books available on myON. Students even enjoyed the reading inventory they had to complete before gaining access to the books.

I’m happy to say that our school has purchased myON for the upcoming school year. We are all still in the learning stages as we try to navigate its features, but the students and teachers are excited about the possibilities for using myON at home and at school.


Monica Babaian is a librarian at Elrod Elementary School in Houston ISD.

You’ll Get the Magic…

Happy May Day! A new month brings with it a fresh start and renewed motivation to set goals for oneself. We are quickly approaching the start of myMAGICALsummer national reading contest, which will begin on May 12th!

In my previous post, I let you know that you’ve already got the magic: access to the content of sixteen amazing third-party publishers throughout the summer reading contest! This means that your reading practices can be inspired or perhaps reawakened with access to new content on myON, such as Disney or Warner Brothers.

Today, I’m here to let you know that, if you do discover the magic of reading this summer, you’ll have the chance to get some real magic: prizes! Because who doesn’t love a good prize?

We will award a Grand Prize Party Pack and a Runner Up Party Pack to the two schools that spend the most time reading on myON this summer. The Grand Prize Party Pack will include a special banner, myON drawstring backpacks for every student, and a $500 check to be used toward school supplies or a school-wide celebration of reading. The Runner Up school will receive a special banner.

We will also award four prizes to the individual students who spend the most time reading this summer! The winner and runner-up from each grade bracket (PreK-5 and 6+) will receive an iPad and an iPad mini, respectively.

May the force (and magic!) be with you, dear #myONfans.