Category Archives: Guest

Posts authored by guests of myON

The Reading Road Trip starts in your school!

As the creator of the wonderful book lists for the 2014 back-to-school reading challenge, we have asked our very own Nancy Stetzinger, Director of  to be a guest blogger! Ms. Stetzinger has an incredible history in the world of publishing! We look forward to future blog posts from her!

Reading Road Trip ThemeHave you heard about the myON Reading Road Trip Challenge?  It’s a great way to learn about your state, other states, regions and the U.S. in general. It’s also a great way to engage your students in reading and getting them off to a great start to the school year!

And personally speaking, it was great fun (and maybe a bit painful) creating these lists. I was on every state webpage, every state reading list page, www.awesomeamerica.com, and  www.statesymbolsusa.org.  But I learned a lot. And as a graduate of let’s say a few years it was so much fun and educational too!

US Map
Click on the map and each state has a book list & important facts!

Do you know :

  • How many states have the Honey Bees as their state insect?
  • How many different types of turtles are state reptiles?
  • Did you know that in Texas it is illegal to graffiti someone else’s cow?
  • Or that Utah is the jello capital of the world?
  • Did you know that Oklahoma is home to the shopping cart, the aerosol can and parking meters?
  • Did you also know that Maine produces 99% of all blueberries in the country?

There are so many fun facts and some silly ones to discover, but I digress…

The Reading Road Trip Challenge lists contain books across all grades K-12. They are a mix of fiction and nonfiction.  All fiction books have a reason for being there, they are set in the state, the author was from the state or they have appeared on the state reading list.  Nonfiction books help tell the story of the state, what dinosaurs roamed the area? Where did early settlers hide their treasure? What famous ghosts inhabit the White House?  What Native American tribes lived across the country? What famous people lived in the state? And let’s find out about sea turtles, box turtles and tortoises.

So as you set your students loose across the country don’t be afraid to branch out and incorporate reading and research. Ideas include:

  • One book per state and one key event in the state’s history
  • One book per state and one fun fact
  • One book per state and one important person per state
  • One book per state and an essay on If You Could Live Anywhere in the US

I could go on, but you get the idea…Take the Reading Road Trip Challenge and see the U.S.A.!

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! 

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.

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

Guest Post: Jeremy Majeski, Principal and Literacy Director (South Berwyn, IL)

South Berwyn School District 100 recently embarked on an initiative to provide all students, kindergarten through 8th grade, with a wireless device for use both at school and at home. Now in our second year of full implementation, our students and teachers are becoming more and more innovative with ways to merge technology with the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Throughout this process, one benefit has become increasingly obvious. Technology expands opportunities for student choice and engagement, allowing them to move into the driver’s seat instead of the teacher–even in reading!

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During a recent walk-through, I stopped into a 5th grade (iPad) classroom during their literacy block and I was blown away by what I saw. Students were sprawled across the room with a number of students lying on the floor and others sitting comfortably at their tables. Anchor charts were posted around the room, serving as reminders of what good readers think and do.

As I leaned in to chat with a few students, I learned that this was their independent reading time when they get to choose any “just right” book. Some choose to have a traditional book in their hands while others choose to access a book through myON or the public library. No matter what text format they chose, students were recording their thinking as they were reading either with pencil/paper or using an app on their iPads.

After a quick glance across the room, it was evident that students were engaged. Students had choice in the text they were reading, how they would access the text, and how they would demonstrate their understanding of the text. As I walked out, I could not help but think about how dramatically different this classroom experience was from classrooms I would have walked through five years ago.

Gone are the days of classrooms full of students reading the same text (regardless of their interest or reading level) with teachers dictating how students must demonstrate their learning. Adding technology to a literacy block has expanded opportunities for student choice and, in turn, fosters student engagement. Our students would not like it any other way. 

Guest Post: Interview with 1st Grader Tristan J. from Desoto County!

193In this post, I am thrilled to present an interview with first grader Tristan J. from Desoto County Schools in Hernando, MS. In the fall of 2013, myON was implemented in all elementary and middle schools in Desoto County.

Thank you to Tristan for taking the time to talk about how he reads on myON!

How did they teach you to access myON?

“My teacher taught me how to get on myON. She showed me what the app looked like, and she gave me my password. She put my password in my daily folder so that I could find it when I got home.”

Tristan’s mom notes that there was also family training involved. On literacy night, a team of teachers showed parents how to access and manage the program as well.

Tristan, how do you use myON during the school day? How do you use myON at home?

“I use myON during work stations. There are two computers at the work station, and I read a ton of good books. We also get to use myON in the morning after we are done with our morning work. Mrs. Dawson also uses myON on the Smartboard while we are eating our snacks.”

“At home, my dad has an app on his iPad, and I also have it on my Nook. I use it to just read for fun, and I want my class to be in first place in the competition.”

What is your favorite book that you’ve read on myON?

Triple H: At the Top of his Game. Triple H used to be a wrestler, and I like to read books about wrestling.”

How do you look for specific new books to read?

“I use the visual search. I usually look at Sports & Vehicles, Scary & Gross, and Animals. I look at the pictures and titles to find books that I like.”

Do you use the audio or highlighting features? If yes, do you like them? Do they make the reading experience more fun?

“Sometimes I use it, and sometimes I turn it off. I like it when it reads to me because some books are hard and have a lot of words. I like it when the words light up because I can see what they are. Some books I can read by myself.”

Tell us about how myON complements your love of reading: why and how does it allow you to continue to do something you love?

“myON gives me lots of books. I can pick it up everywhere. It is helping me read a ton. I love it because it helps me learn more about nature and the army and Indians and elves and Anacondas and battles. My friends read wrestling books and nature books. It is cool because they tell me about the books, and it lets me search for that book.”

Thanks, Tristan!

Guest Post: Casimir Pulaski Elementary School, Meriden, CT

Jacqueline Kennedy said: “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” Many educators will agree that all students can develop a love for reading; they just need to find a genre that captures their attention. That is the beauty of myON. Students have access to books across many genres and at all different Lexile levels.

At Casimir Elementary School in Meriden, CT, we have a very diverse student population, which brings with it a wide range of reading tastes and abilities.  The students at Pulaski love everything the site has to offer and often beg to log on. I have students who sit next to each other reading the same book and stop every few pages to discuss what they are reading. While it is supposed to be quiet time, I cannot help but quietly listen to their conversations and smile at the common liking they have found for a book.

I also have students who ask for paper and pencils to write down jokes, recipes or fun facts from the books they are reading. These are from books they may not get to read from their classroom libraries because they are not typical books a teacher would think to include. However, no matter what the genre, the students are still reading and learning.

myON’s dictionary and audio integration are also great features that are very beneficial for our students. Pulaski has a population group of ESOL students and these tools help to extend and reinforce their learning of the English language. The audio tool also helps to hold all students’ attention and the on-screen highlighting helps them to track as they read.

myON is still fairly new to our school, but I am looking forward to expanding its uses in the future, beyond just students reading for pleasure. Next month, a group of third graders will begin a “wild weather” research project using books from myON as one of their sources. The myOn library offers a wide selection of non-fiction texts on the topic that students can use to collect information from.

I am also planning to start a class blog for fourth graders to post reviews about the books that they have read on myON. This will allow students to gain practice writing book summaries, as well as persuasive pieces about the books. It will also give students the opportunity to comment on others’ posts and agree or disagree with their classmates’ reviews.

I am enthusiastic about using myOn as a part of lessons and projects in the future, and I know students will continue to enjoy reading the many books the myOn library has to offer as well.

-Stephanie Timek, Literacy Tutor

Casimir Pulaski Elementary School, Meriden, Connecticut

Thank you, Stephanie!