my MAGICAL summer

my Magical Summer_UpdatedYesterday in Minneapolis we reached a high temperature of nearly 50 degrees. Those of you myON customers who are lucky enough to populate the warmer climes of the United States might’ve been appalled at the swarms of Minnesotans gracing the sunny sidewalks yesterday…in shorts! It’s as if we’ve been living under a glacier for 5 months. Oh, wait…

In any case, yesterday’s brief glimmer of sunshine and hope got me thinking about this summer. Visions of boats, beaches, and books danced through my head. The first glimpse of spring weather is surely occasion to share our summer reading materials with you. Because there’s no way that Minnesota will get any more snow…right?  Summer’s almost here, right?

Admittedly, we only just recently shared our spring reading materials with you–and we hope that you’re actively springing into reading! This weekend, I will be diving into Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, an old favorite that I’m revisiting for the third time. Maybe you want to join me and check out Saddleback’s accessible version of this old classic on myON!

So though it’s only just becoming spring,  we know that many districts need to make decisions about summer learning programs and funding in the coming weeks. Because of this, we are thrilled to present myON’s national summer reading challenge: myMAGICALsummer! 

Our idea behind this campaign is to encourage students to find their own magic in reading: what are the titles that will teach them something new? What are the genres of literature that will inspire them to write their own stories? What is the magic content that will unlock new areas of knowledge for them?

Our exciting summer reading promotional kit is available for customers on our Professional Development portal, as well as through your account manager in your region.

At myON, choice matters.

Choose adventure.

Find the magic.

Read on myON.

Jump into a James Patterson Title

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Have you sprung into reading yet? How about jumping into a new James Patterson title on myON?

James Patterson has published hundreds–and I mean hundreds–of books with Little, Brown and Company. Even if you haven’t read James Patterson, you’ve heard of him. You know exactly who he is because he is one of the most prolific American writers of the last few decades.

That’s why myON is thrilled to present new titles for kids (!!!) from James Patterson. If you haven’t checked out “I Funny” yet, you’re missing out on the incredible tale of aspiring comedian Jamie Grimm, a wildly funny and inspiring young man who chases after his dreams and tells a few knock-out jokes along the way.

You might also check out Patterson’s other titles on myON, including the Witch and Wizard and Maximum Ride series. Patterson’s content is accessible and interesting for middle school readers–the sort of content that will grab students’ interest and keep them reading. All of this is par for the course with Patterson’s personal commitment to engaging kids in reading. Patterson’s reading campaign–“Read Kiddo Read”–seeks to help kids find content that interests them so that they become lifelong readers.

myON is so proud to present Patterson’s content on our platform. Our shared commitment to creating a diverse library of engaging content makes for an incredible partnership in literacy. Spring into reading with a James Patterson title!

March (Spring!) Into Reading

Spring Reading 2

March has always been my favorite month of the year. That’s probably because it’s the month in which I graced this world with my presence so many years ago, but that’s neither here nor there. If you don’t love March solely because of my birthday (ahem, the 28th), there are plenty of other reasons to love myON in the month of March.

March is Women’s Month, Music in Our Schools Month, National Craft Month, National Nutrition Month, and—most importantly—March Into Literacy Month. myON has myriad titles to match all of these exciting topics this month to help you and your students March Into Literacy!

If you’re interested in celebrating Women’s Month, you might check out these titles about famous women in history: Helen Keller: Courageous Advocate or Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.

If you’re interested in celebrating Music in Our Schools Month, here are some books for you: The Bremen Town Musicians or the “Instruments and Music” series.

How about National Craft Month? We’ve got a whole DIY series called “Green Crafts for Resourceful Kids.”

National Nutrition Month—a personal favorite of this birthday vegan—could excite your taste buds with these myON titles: Food Technology or Healthy Eating with MyPlate: Vegetables.

And, finally, March (Spring!) Into Reading with these fun titles to engage your students in reading: Goodnight, Baseball and Kylie Jean Spelling Queen.

March will be an exciting month at myON. We’ve got a webinar on 1:1 implementation on March 20th and you can (should!) register for that here. We’ll be attending the Illinois Reading Council on March 13-14th. We’ll be throwing a party to honor Norman Bridge Elementary (Chicago Public Schools) as the winners of the national Celebrate! Reading in the New Year contest on March 21st.

We’re marching forward this month. Spring into reading with us! 

It’s Raining Books–Spring Into Reading!

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If you haven’t seen our Spring Reading images yet, you’re missing out! One look at myON’s platform tells you that It’s Raining Books in these parts, and one look at the New Year’s Reading Resolutions I penned down for the Celebrate! Reading challenge will urge me to Spring Into Reading.

If neither of those things goads you toward new fiction or checking off old reading resolutions, perhaps an age-old reason to read will do the trick: escapism.

Occasionally throughout history, literature has been branded as a sort of evil. Fiction, in particular, was dubbed an evil for transporting people out of a pragmatic, industrious lifestyle and into the depths of their imagination, where they were free to encounter the mysterious, the fantastical, the occult, and even the horrific—thus escaping their true responsibilities, avoiding a practical application of their time. So some said.

But I’m going to give you a free pass. This escapism—this reason to read amidst an endless, frigid winter—is perfectly legitimate. No more excuses for the winter getting you down. Escape into an upbeat Kylie Jean tale or try the new Disney titles on myON to transport you to a brighter frame of mind.

If you need a travel buddy, I invite you to dive into Nancy Cavanaugh’s This Journal Belongs to Ratchet with me! Let’s escape into this story and see what this Journal is all about. This title comes from Sourcebooks—one of our awesome third-party publishers. I’m so excited to try this new (to me!) title on myON. Spring Into Reading with me and try some new titles on myON!

Why Webinars?

Well, that’s just a silly question. That’s like asking why iPhones? Why Red Box? Why Uber? (Or, for the truer of my kindred spirits: why chia seeds? Why Jane Austen?)

In our increasingly connected twenty-first century world, the more befuddling question to ask would be: why wouldn’t we use webinars? If you’re on the myON team–or you at least know about the myON team–you know that we’re into community. Webinars are perhaps the most important tool we can leverage to create a community of readers and educators across the country.

We present webinars almost daily in our office: sharing with customers new ways to use myON or delivering virtual professional development sessions to schools that have recently implemented myON. What we’re trying on for size in 2014 is a Quarterly Webinar Series, an idea which, thus far, has proved an invaluable tool to our customers seeking to use myON in different ways and an undeniable testimonial to the ingenuity and compassion of both the myON team and our customer base who have been delivering said webinars.

In January, we hosted our Publishing Acquisitions Manager, Nancy Stetzinger, who presented “Pride in our Publishers: Presenting myON’s Exciting Third-Party Content.” Nancy’s webinar was a fabulous opportunity to discuss not only the variety of our additional content, but also the myriad ways in which to create and utilize unique publisher bundles in your school. Thank you, Nancy!

Last week, amidst a wicked nor’easter, Dr. Beryl Irene Bailey, Director of Literacy for the Bloomfield, Connecticut Public Schools and National Literacy Consultant, presented a webinar entitled “Getting to the Core of Instruction with myON: What’s in Your Library?” to a thrilling 164-person strong audience. It was an astounding success, with a question and answer session that lasted more than thirty minutes after the presentation ended. Dr. Bailey’s rich knowledge of close reading and the Common Core will surely help our customers succeed in using myON in the classroom. Thank you, Dr. Bailey!

We look forward to hosting many more fabulous webinars throughout 2014. We hope you’ll join us for the next webinar in our Quarter 1 series: Principal and Literacy Director Jeremy Majeski (South Berwyn, Illinois) presenting “myON Madness: How to Aim High with 1:1 Implementation.” For more information, please visit our Press Room.

Why wait to join our webinars?

TCEA: Everything’s Bigger in Texas…

TCEA Partners Celebrate Reading!

Everything’s bigger in Texas—and so we’ve all heard.

Now, I don’t know whether this colloquialism was born in reference to hair or to a long-lost plate of Texan nachos that I never did manage to track down in Austin last week. I do know that one thing for sure is pretty big in Texas: the hearts of all of those Texan teachers with whom we communicated last week during the TCEA conference.

Our time at TCEA—the Texas Computer Education Association—in Austin from February 5-7 was big and it was brilliant. The teachers, librarians and administrators with whom we connected were motivated and motivating. We met people from Weslaco, Austin, McAllen, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, and many other districts in Texas, and we enjoyed sharing the myON vision with them.

Perhaps what’s better is that they shared their myriad and diverse visions with us. We have so much to learn from these conversations with inspired teachers. We learned about what they truly need in their classrooms to meet all of their students’ needs; we learned about challenges they face on a day-to-day basis in teaching literacy to struggling readers, ELL students, special needs students—or simply teaching literacy to a whole class of unique personalities and reading levels. And we learned about their goals for meeting these challenges head on.

Perhaps the best thing we learned from these teachers is that, for many of them, myON has been and will be a means to those literary ends.

We are happy to furnish three lucky TCEA attendees with a free myON pilot subscription. Congratulations to:

  • Kathy C., Principal, Pasadena ISD
  • Joseph T., Director of Instructional Technology, San Antonio ISD
  • Careli G., Assistant Principal, Brownsville ISD

Thank you to TCEA for hosting us this year. We left with full hearts and big goals.


Celebrate! Reading in the New Year

As the second month of the new year unfolds, what better way to celebrate our new blog than to celebrate the devoted readers who make myON possible?

We are pleased and proud to announce the winner and finalists of the 2013-2014 winter reading challenge: Celebrate! Reading in the New Year. From December 16th through January 10th, we saw incredible usage on myON.

In just three short weeks, the students of Norman A. Bridge Elementary School (Chicago Public Schools) read 694 hours on myON and read 5,929 books! This reading activity is outstanding and belies the myriad ways in which myON promotes student engagement with reading both inside and outside of regular school hours. We look forward to celebrating Norman A. Bridge Elementary’s success with a special myON mystery party!

In addition to Norman A. Bridge Elementary, many of our schools saw amazing reading results during the Celebrate! Reading initiative:

  • Central Middle School (Weslaco Independent School District) read 533 hours and finished 2,590 books.
  • James J. Flynn School (Perth Amboy School District) read 415 hours and finished 3,210 books.
  • Komensky Elementary School (Berwyn South School District 100) read 403 hours and finished 3,019 books.
  • McNair Elementary School (Fairfax County) read 364 hours and finished 2,080 books.
  • Rio Rancho Elementary School (Rio Rancho Public School District) read 362 hours and finished 2,337 books.
  • Mead Elementary School (St. Vrain Valley School District) read 349 hours and finished 2,829 books.
  • Dr. R.E. Margo Elementary (Weslaco Independent School District) read 346 hours and finished 4,050 books.
  • Haycock Elementary School (Fairfax County) read 308 hours and finished 1,790 books.
  • Heritage Middle School (Berwyn South School District 100) read 300 hours and finished 1,366 books.

I think I can safely speak for the company when I say that we are humbled to host such motivated students and teachers on our platform.  A sincere thank you to all who participated in myON’s Celebrate! Reading in the New Year winter reading challenge. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: let’s challenge each other to read more, read differently, and read inspired

*Note: The contest was based on which school spent the most time reading in hours/minutes.



Welcome to The myON Minute!

Welcome to The myON Minute! Today, at myON, we celebrate our third anniversary of bringing digital literacy to more than 3.2 million students across the world. This blog will be a platform through which we can interact with you, the students, parents, teachers, and administrators that leverage myON in your districts to increase student engagement with digital literature.

Thank you for joining us for this exciting myON minute. We invite you to view our president Todd Brekhus address this momentous occasion in the video above.