Watch the CBS tribute to her here.
Hi, everyone! The new Fall 12 products are out, and this new batch of books includes some of our best yet. (I know. We say that every season. But I swear they just keep getting better and better!) So here's a little peek of just a few of my personal favs ...
In Snap, introducing Dessert Designer. These how-to books show how to turn everyday desserts into works of art. They are visually delicious in every way!
The answer is San Diego! Capstone Digital is experiencing the final day of ISTE 2012 in beautiful San Diego. What an experience we have had listening and learning from all kinds of educators, technology directors and superintendents.
We would be remiss if we didn’t back up to celebrate 1 million students on myON. One million students in only 18 months, simply astonishing! It’s hard to imagine in 18 months we are impacting one million students and can now offer 12 new publishers on our myON platform.
And for the biggest announcement yet, myON is officially mobile! We have not only created an iPad app but have created an awesome offline reading experience where students can read offline on their iPad and still leverage the great measurement tools that are available in myON today. The possibilities are endless!
We had so many highlights on our ISTE trip it’s hard to capture them all. The Capstone Digital booth was hopping the entire time. Teachers, superintendents, and IT directors were in awe of our product! Our reading panelists Kendy Hinkel, Dr. Linda Clark and Connie Dopierala were special guests at our myON mobile reception and their stories about their students were truly touching.
With only one day left, we are excited to look ahead to next year’s ISTE conference and wonder just what we will be announcing then. Can we triple our students on our platform? Triple the number of books? Maybe the number of publishers? The good news is that we hope to do it all with the most important element, helping students of all ages become more confident readers!
Continuing on from last week, we have decided to keep with our interviews and this week feature one of our project managers. Project managers are an essential part of the myON reader success in large districts to provide a high level of support throughout the district and community. This week we are featuring our newest project manager, Doris Linville!
Doris is located in Tampa Bay and just returned from a honeymoon in Paris! She is integral part of the success of a very unique implementation in Hillsborough County!
Can you describe the district that you are in? Total schools/students, etc.
The Read on myON partnership is a unique project in the Hillsborough County. We have a group of agencies lead by the Hillsborough County School District, Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative, United Way of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County Head Start Housing Tampa Authority, Early Learning Coalition to provide every child from birth to 8th grade in Hillsborough County Florida. This means that our mission is focused on providing access to myON reader for approximately 220,000 children/students (270 public schools and charter schools, 150+ private schools, 20 Head Start Centers, and 400+ VPK and child care centers, plus home school students and stay at home babies, toddlers and preschoolers)
How has myON been adopted/implemented in your district?
The implementation for all the students started at the end of Feb. 2012 and is an ongoing process to get all targeted audiences on board by September 2012. A microsite has been develop for all community partners to provide information to the public about myON reader and a way for children/students outside the public schools to register and get a myON reader log in information to enjoy myON!
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome and can you share the results?
We are still in the process of overcoming the biggest challenge, getting all targeted children/students on board and using myON reader. Also, we are fortunate to have all the community partners come together and share resources (funding, staff and expertise), time and just the passion around kids and reading has been successful. It is a pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic team!
What feedback are you getting from your district? Teachers? Students? Families?
Anyone that we talk to, they love myON reader! We have such a great outpouring of support from different agencies across the county that have adopted myON as a great resource for out of school tool as well as summer tools (Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, Parks and Recreation of Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Rays, etc) Also, we have parents calling and asking user names and passwords for all the kids. We have kids especially boys and reluctant readers loving myON and improving on their achievement!
How is your district promoting summer reading?
Besides participating in the Summer Reading Olympics, the Hillsborough County School District is running a Summer Reading Games of their own. As part of their prizes they will have iPads, pizza parties and other things. Also, all the agencies are working with the Public Library and their Summer theme “Dream Big, Read.’ Many agencies will be using myON reader data to help student fulfill reading challenges and get prices from different community agencies, like getting free baseball tickets to see the Tampa Bay Rays (# 1 team in baseball! ) A free book from Barns & Nobles, $10 dollars towards a savings account in local banks among other things!
What is your favorite feature of myON reader?
My favorite feature is the audio support! Especially when you can “read” (listen) a bilingual book and hear it perfectly read in both languages! I do love the embedded assessments too
What is your favorite book on myON reader?
This one is so hard, I love so many, for little ones Hello Genius series, for high interest low reading level Dragonblood Series and my personal favorite is the series of books The other side of the story “Seriously, Cinderella is so annoying!: The story of Cinderella told by the wicked stepmother.”
Please share the most rewarding experience thus far?
Definitely having teachers, parents and kids stop me and tell me how much they love myON reader and how it is making a difference in their life makes me get up every morning and want to go out to the schools and do my best to assure that every child gets the chance to access myON reader!
Thanks so much to Doris, but don't tell her but the Twins are the best baseball team in the country!
Stay tuned for next week's surprise guest...
21st Century Skills, Striving Readers, Common Core State Standards and the list goes on. All of these are important initiatives that schools are dealing with to help raise the proverbial education bar in the United States and help students prepare for college and career readiness.
Personalized learning for each student should be the goal of every administrator in the country. After all everyone, regardless of age, learns differently, comprehends at different rates and levels and generally have different interests. We can always be reminded that the world is going to a more personalized approach, look at Amazon, iTunes, NetFlix, and the list goes on. Now, it seems like Washington DC is embracing personalized educational programs AND providing some fund to help implement!
"We need to take classroom learning beyond a one-size-fits-all model and bring it into the 21st century,” Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.
To win a share of the money, according to the article in Chicago Tribune there are funds to help promote personalization based on, "districts must come up with a way to personalize education, so that each child can advance at his own pace and explore his own interests, the rules state. Districts must also ensure that students move on only when they have truly mastered a skill - not when they have completed a packet of worksheets or listened to a semester of lectures."
Just in case you were wondering, myON reader is a personalized literacy environment that matches students interests and their reading level to a recommended book list from over 2600 digital books. With embedded assessments, students, educators and adminsitrators can monitor and measure their progress. All students whether gifted readers, struggling readers, ELL students can take advantage of the largest online digital personalized library that soon will be able to be accessed anywhere and on any device. Click here for more information! Just saying...
With the close of the 2012 International Reading Association coming to a close today we have a few great stories to share. Thanks to all of the loyal Capstone fans that visited our booth for the last two days. It was great to meet so many great teachers and educators from across the country!
With a goal of reaching 1 million students by June is coming more of reality, we are excited to announce the large community wide reading program in Hillsborough County, winners of the New England Reading Grant and a great story from a parent with a struggling reader.
A unique collaboration between Hillsborough County Public Schools, Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, United Way of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative, Tampa Bay Housing Authority, Hillsborough County Head Start, Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County, and Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County will result in a community wide reading program to encourage all children to read. Learn more about the program here.
The New England Innovation in Reading Grant provides opportunities for schools to apply for grant funds to encourage their students to become confident readers. Capstone Digital would like to annouce the following schools as winners of the 2012 New England Innovation in Reading Grant:
Congratulations to all schools!
Interested in hearing a tremendous testimonial to myON? A parent of a struggling reader shares her story on how her son is now a reader on myON and loving it! For a quick glimpse of myON through the eyes of a parent, click here!
Let’s take a 2-minute, 21-day challenge together. And I’m not talking about the latest workout, read-a-thon, diet or detox. I’m talking about sparing a couple minutes out of your day to:
What’s the magic formula?
It’s having a positive outlook on life.
According to Shawn Achor, a psychologist and CEO of Good Think Inc., two minutes is all it takes to become a more productive and positive person.
Achor says that “90% of your long-term happiness is predicted not by your external world, but by the way your brain processes the world.” If you raise your positivity level, your brain experiences what he calls a “Happiness AdvantageTM,” meaning it performs significantly better than it does in a negative, neutral or stressed state.
When you’re in a positive mindset, your brain releases dopamine which makes you even happier, and turns on all of the learning centers in your brain.
“If we can find a way of becoming positive in the present, then our brains work even more successfully, as we’re able to work harder, faster, and more intelligently,” Achor says.
We first learned about Achor’s work from the Reading Horizons Happenings blog, which discussed how this positive psychology could help students succeed, specifically struggling readers. “These students feel defeated, self-conscious, and demotivated. Getting them to feel happy and positive is crucial for their success.”
The blog went on to say that positivity “help[s] them understand new material at a faster rate, helping boost their self-esteem and maintain a positive attitude. If you can help your struggling readers get in a positive mindset before your instruction, their cognitive abilities can be boosted by an average of 31%.”
So how can you train your brain (and your students’ too!) to be more positive? Achor recommends:
It’s just that easy. Let’s retrain our brains to be more optimistic and take the two minute challenge!
Check out Achor’s entertaining and insightful video in which he discusses the happy secret:
We’re lucky. We often hear from librarians, teachers, and parents about how one of our books changed a child’s life – giving him or her the confidence to pick up another book, and another, and another. We even receive emails and letters from kids themselves sharing their stories.
We recently received one such email from Susan Grigsby, a middle school teacher-librarian from Georgia who wrote to us about her experience of finding the right books for one special, hard-to-reach child. She met with one of her classes and spoke about reading and how she didn’t believe that anyone could not like to read, only that they haven’t found the right book. She shared with the class a selection of books by Michael Dahl and gave particular attention to the Library of Doom and Dragonblood series. One of the students chose three books from the series to read. A few days later, Susan received this letter from him:
Dear Mrs. Grigsby,
Thank you for helping me find some interesting books now I know that reading can be fun now!!! Now when I go in the library, I know what to pick out now. I found three fantasy books. When I go home I can read it to my little brother now and when he gets to middle school he'll want to read books a lot too. I'm learning a lot from the books I got from the library. Every one in my class loves their books!!! You lighten my life now it was dark when I hated reading. Like they say out with the old and in with the new!! For this I say thank you.
It’s always gratifying for us for us to hear such heart-warming and inspiring stories, bringing home the bigger picture of what we do each day. Thank you Susan for sharing your story with us and allowing us to share it with others!
I heard a concept that was foreign to me last week while watching a training video. It said that opposed to what many people believe, our own traits as children stay with us forever. That each trait is something that we’ll never grow out of and is so engrained to our personality that it only gets stronger with age. The video explained that deep inside we feel the same way we did when we were kids and if anything, it makes you more passionate about what you do, about your “super powers” as I call them, or “strengths” as everybody else does.
That thought brought me back to my childhood. I was an introvert, but yet I loved to tell stories and draw them out. I wanted to be able to tell the story more accurately to help other people get it. When I grew bigger, I started talking to my friends about what I’d dreamed the night before. I would paint scenes and color with pencils for hours, softly so there wouldn’t be any lines on the paper. I didn’t wanted people to get distracted by the lines, but to take the scene fully in. Then at age 17 I started to write. I had a stack of white paper under my bed and I would turn my light on right after my parents went to bed. My pages were fully handwritten, and my friends would borrow them to read the next day so that we could decide where the story was going from there on.
That was me as a kid and now that I think of it, that’s exactly me now. This year I got an amazing opportunity. I’m an art director, so my responsibility is the look and feel of the books, but yet, one of the people I look up to when it comes to writing, asked me if I would co-write something with her.
Beth and I came up with a super cool concept while having tea in our afternoon break. A hi-low series for girls. A story about two best friends, girls who are opposites. They fight over a boy, and one wishes the other away. We hammered out all of the details over cups of tea and coffee. And that is how Fairieground was born 9 months ago.
Beth and I have been writing, editing, art directing and designing these books together. They have some of the best parts of both of us mixed and entwined together for kids to enjoy for years to come.
Here is the cover of one of the four books, all illustrated by Odessa Sawyer. Sincerely, I would say childhood and adulthood have gone full circle. What is your story?
Arrr there, mateys! Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. So go ahead and slap on the ol' eye patch, and feel free to let out a growl.
While I can't offer you gold, here are treasures of a far more lasting kind. Kids of all ages will pillage and plunder these reads.
Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen! Find your inner pirate and enjoy the day!
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