ADDRESSING FEAR OF ACCOUNTABILITY IN EDUCATION
For many school leaders, the idea of accountability can bring about fear and/or anxiety.By Dr. Kecia Ray
October marks several significant events. It is a month when fall is celebrated with festivals, pumpkins, spooky events, and open houses. It is also when educators and school leaders begin to feel a little settled with routine. They can dig deeper into teaching and instruction than teaching classroom management and establishing school culture.
This month also marks the beginning of the federal fiscal year, aligning to publishing district accountability standings. Accountability in and of itself can be a scary word to some, but it does help us measure progress in how we can fully educate the students we serve as a district and state. However, progress isn’t accomplished by every district or state. This is even more so as we live in the endemic of COVID.
Accountability isn’t new to education. Horace Mann was the
secretary of the Massachusetts state board of education in the 1830s and a staunch advocate for creating a publicly funded school system that would enable all children to attend for free and to be taught literacy, morals, and citizenship. He referred to this universal schooling plan as ‘common schools,’ and pushed that we needed to know that all students were equally prepared to be citizens as a nation. This created a great controversy during this time because one set of people didn’t want to pay for public schooling, and another didn’t believe that “universal” would mean all races of students.
Over time the number of students enrolled grew from about 55% of children aged 5 to 14 to 78% by 1870. The public overcame their fear of the unknown and began embracing the concept of public school.
It wasn’t until 1965 that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, along with other significant federal legislation, began to define expectations and outline the accountability of public school systems. Today, the legislation is in its third iteration, the Every Student Succeeds Act. This legislation dictates to states receiving federal funding what they must do to receive the money. Many states rely on federal funding to offset the cost of educating their youth. Accountability is a large part of this legislation.
OVERCOMING FEAR OF ACCOUNTABILITY
Over the coming weeks, states will begin to post their results on public websites as ESSA requires. Parents and community members
will begin to read these results without fully understanding the science and statistics behind the numbers. Many will call schools and teachers demanding answers, some will withdraw students from the schools, and others will petition governors for change. Fear will swell in communities that have lower-performing schools. Realtors will wonder if they can sell the houses in that school’s zone, business owners will wonder what impact it will have on their community, and community leaders will be fending off negative stories.
If there is one thing to be learned from the history of education, it is that we are cyclical. Everything that was will come again. The ‘Common School’ movement was repeated in the early 21st century during the ‘Common Core’ movement, with similar results. Eventually, everyone settled into what they could be comfortable with.
A similar cycle is repeating as a result of the pandemic. Much change occurred in our schools and we had a few years where accountability was waived.
Schools should be the cornerstone of a community, and the school’s success should be the community’s responsibility, not just the families being served or the faculties being employed. Everyone within a community should care enough about their school to overcome failure because when this happens, we will have nothing to fear about our public schools.
IMPROVING DEI DISTRICT-WIDEBy Erik Ofgang
The David Douglas School District in Oregon is making DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) a key part of its identity going forward.
The district has formed an equity team in every school and formalized a Strategic and Equity Plan. The equity plan requires the district:
• To set common goals and visions for racial justice across the district.
• To demonstrate the district’s commitment to achieving equitable outcomes for students of color – outcomes must not be predictable by race or ethnicity.
• To ensure that every student in the district feels welcome, safe, valued,
and has an honored identity in the schools.
• To facilitate open communication and meaningful dialogue with families and communities of color.
• To provide a mechanism for both accountability and transparency in advancing equity.
LàShawanta ‘Taye’ Spears, Director of Diversity and Equitable Inclusion for the school district, says they are making progress toward these goals through many initiatives, including a combination of enhanced training and recruitment of diverse staff through the district’s successful “Grow Your Own” teacher program.
The David Douglas School District’s DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) efforts have led to restorative justice practices in the classroom and more diversity among educators.
IMPROVING DEI WITH “GROW YOUR OWN” SCHOOL PROGRAMS
A key part of the David Douglas School District’s diversification efforts is to recruit diverse educators from their current students via the district’s Grow Your Own teacher program (GYO).
“That program started about seven years ago, but it looks a little different now because we have received funding from the state of Oregon,” says Spears, Oregon’s 2021 assistant principal of the year. This funding specifically helps BIPOC students who are interested in becoming educators. “The plan is that they enter into a program and graduate debtfree, and we’ve been fortunate enough where we had seven BIPOC GYOs graduate last year, six were hired in our district for this school year,” Spears says.
School leaders should help students who go into education capitalize on tuition reimbursements that may be available in their states, Spears says. “Talk to your state legislators about what you need in schools. Identify a part of your budget to ensure that is dedicated for GYOs,” she says. “If schools are saying it is a priority to diversify our schools, I think it’s extremely important to identify funds to support that within your budget.”
In addition, districts looking to create a strong Grow Your Own program should connect with a university education program to create pathways for students. “We’ve been fortunate enough that some of our partner universities have given us really good discounts for our students,” Spears says.
OFFERING DEI TRAINING IN VARIOUS FORMATS
The administration at David Douglas School District has promoted diversity among its staff with training that tackles various topics and is offered in different mediums. For example, at the beginning of the year staff members are required to take multiple Vector Solutions Diversity & Inclusion Training courses. Beyond these courses, staff members participate in trainings throughout the year.
“My department come up with PDs to continue our efforts around how do we address racism? How do we interrupt it? And how do we stay knowledgeable of it? So we have five PDs that we created for that,” Spears says. The combination of these two types of course offerings helps make DEI a focus for educators in the district throughout the year.
UTILIZING RESTORATIVE PRACTICES INSTEAD OF PUNITIVE DISCIPLINE
Across the district educators are now trained in restorative justice practices. “We have also changed our referral form -- it’s called a behavior incident referral form now,” Spears says. “We’re giving redirects, we’re talking to kids more, and when students are having a challenging time and may have to be removed from school, we’re doing reentry circles with the parents and the students.”
This inclusive model is designed to raise scores of students with behavior issues while decreasing referrals and suspensions. The David Douglas School District does not yet have district-level data on the impact of these policies, but anecdotally the work seems to be helping students
“I’ve already heard from principals when I’ve gone into buildings,” Spears says. “They’re saying it just feels different.”
READING COMPREHENSION CAN PREDICT COLLEGE SUCCESSBy Erik Ofgang
Even in the age of streaming video and interactive learning apps, reading matters.
That’s one of the key takeaways in a new study that found a small, but significant, association between reading comprehension and college grades. For the study, researchers looked at 26 previous studies and a total of 25,090 students and found that differences in reading comprehension could explain 8.4 percent of the variation seen in college grades.
“That’s a substantial explanation of college student grades,” says Virginia
Clinton-Lisell, the lead author of the study and a professor in educational psychology at the University of North Dakota who specializes in language and reading comprehension. “It’s about the same magnitude as high school GPA, and high school GPA is historically regarded as the best predictor of college GPA.”
The study was recently published in the Journal of College Reading and Learning and was funded through a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
“Reading comprehension matters,” Clinton-Lisell says. “It predicts college achievement, it’s definitely something we should care about as far as a school. It’s a skill college students need.”
In addition, if technological advancements or shifts in pedagogy had indeed diminished the importance of reading comprehension, researchers would expect to observe the impact of reading comprehension on college grades decrease over time. However, Clinton-Lisell and her colleagues did not see that in their research.
TEACHING READING COMPREHENSION
In K-12, particularly in the earlier grades, there are many effective approaches for developing reading comprehension. “Nowadays, we have a very good idea of how to teach it,” Clinton-Lisell says. “First, just make sure kids have access to books, and that they get to read a lot, that they get to practice.”
In addition, there are well-established strategies educators can use to support young readers. These include peer-assisted learning and inferential skill exercises.
READING STILL MATTERS
Clinton-Lisell began studying the impact of reading comprehension on college grades after encountering the perception from some educators that reading comprehension is less important in college than it once was. “Having students actively demonstrating their knowledge and engaging with the material in a way that’s visible is more emphasized now in best practices in college instruction,” Clinton-Lisell says. In addition, audio and visual options for learning are more abundant than ever, and there are anecdotal reports of college professors assigning shorter readings.
Given these trends, Clinton-Lisell and her team set out to discover whether reading comprehension has an impact on college success. Their research indicates the answer is a resounding yes.
As students age, however, the education system is less focused on reading comprehension, Clinton-Lisell says. “We’re getting better, but where we need improvement is adolescent literacy, and working with kids who struggle with reading who are in middle and high school.”
In college, there is little attention paid to reading comprehension and limited data on what interventions work. “We do have lots of college students coming in who struggle with reading, and unfortunately, we’ve found out that doing developmental English courses just don’t seem very effective,” Clinton-Lisell says. “They prolong time to graduation, and the longer it takes to graduate, the less likely you are to graduate.”
Clinton-Lisell would like to see reading comprehension get similar attention to writing because of how closely linked those skills are. “The idea of writing across the curriculum and encouraging professors across the disciplines to have writing assignments and support writing and how to teach writing effectively has been pretty well communicated,” Clinton-Lisell says. “Perhaps a better movement would be reading across the curriculum, and incentives or initiatives to really help professors in various disciplines incorporate ways to scaffold their students’ reading comprehension.”
STUDENTS TO READ FOR FUN
ParentsBy Erik Ofgang
Daniel T. Willingham ends every email he sends with two lines describing both what he is currently reading and his thoughts on the book he last read.
These brief details are part of his signature and one of many ways the psychology professor at the University of Virginia, and author of Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do, promotes leisure reading to his students and others.
Encouraging leisure reading by students, both over the summer and
all year-round, is something Willingham and other literacy experts are passionate about.
DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN LEISURE READING AND READING FOR SCHOOL
Kids tend to like reading early on in their school lives but sometimes start disliking it around the time they get to middle school. This might be because they grow to associate reading entirely with school and
POSITIVE READING HABITS
assignments. “Make sure that your child understands the difference between leisure reading and academic reading,” Willingham says. “This is something I think gets complicated in kids’ heads.”
The reading kids do in early elementary school naturally follows good leisure reading practices. “No one really cares what the content is. If you don’t like a book, the teacher’s fine with it if you just drop it,” Willingham says. “As kids move through school, choice goes out the window, and they’re told what they’re supposed to read, and they start being asked to do more and more challenging things with texts.”
Reminding them that reading can and should be fun can help them build lifelong reading habits.
LET KIDS READ WHAT THEY LIKE
“Kids don’t like to be told what to do,” says Melissa Jacobs, director of The New York City Department of Education School Library System. “They like to have choice in what their activity is. And so forcing a list of titles on them and saying, ‘You must read this, by this date,’ I think, is going to have the exact opposite effect on our kids that we want.”
Instead of being told what to read over the summer, kids should be able to explore and decide for themselves about content and whether they want to read graphic novels, comics, magazines, or books. The key is providing exposure to reading materials that engage their individual identities.
Parents and teachers may have to fight their instincts to try and steer their children’s readings, says Virginia Clinton-Lisell, a professor in educational psychology at the University of North Dakota who specializes in language and reading comprehension. “My older daughter loves graphic novels,” she says. “This is my area of expertise and I know that reading is
reading and graphic novels are actually much more complex and rich than people give them a credit for, but there’s still a part of me that’s like, ‘But she shouldn’t be reading books with pictures at this age.’”
In addition to letting kids choose what they read, it’s also good to remind them that it is okay to stop reading something they don’t enjoy, Willingham says.
YOU DON’T NEED HUGE BLOCKS OF TIME TO READ AND READING BEGETS READING
A common mistake kids make is thinking that they need a long swath of time to read. “They’ll be told, ‘You should read 30 minutes a night,’” Willingham says. “And you can see why they would think that means 30 consecutive minutes. But people who read a lot read in little bits of found time, such as when they’re online waiting at a bank or something.”
Finding those little pockets for reading opportunities seems to be habit-forming. This is part of the Matthew Effect in reading, which is based upon a bible quote talking about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. “The more you read, the better you read, the better you read, the more you read. So you see a compounding effect,” says Clinton-Lisell. Research has also found correlations between households with lots of books on shelves and children’s interest in reading, but only when parents also regularly read these books.
LET STUDENTS READ EBOOKS
In addition to choosing what they read, kids should be able to choose to read via the medium that works for them – whether that’s print, ebooks, or even listening to audiobooks. Willingham advises parents to encourage kids to download Kindle or another reading app on their phone. “Over 90 percent of middle school, and high school kids have phones now. So why shouldn’t you have a book with you all the time,” Willingham says.
Clinton-Lisell’s research has found readers were
POSITIVE READING HABITS
more efficient when reading from printed materials. However, she still advocates for children reading via the method they prefer. “Despite my own research showing a benefit of paper, I honestly think that it’s more important to read a lot, whether that’s paper or screens,” she says. “Go with what works for you.”
In New York City, Jacobs has seen interest in ebooks and audiobooks increase over the past two years among students, so making these formats available to all students can help build inclusivity and equity around reading access.
AUDIOBOOKS COUNT, TOO
The same principles for instilling a love of reading hold true for audiobooks, which Willingham says are “a great way for parents to try and get an on-ramp onto reading for a child who hasn’t been interested in reading.”
Clinton-Lisell recently conducted a large analysis that found comprehension was similar when people listen to a book versus if they read one. “Those kids who struggle with the decoding or are finding it frustrating are maybe kids who have a hard time just sitting still and reading,” she says. “Playing an audiobook is a great option. Play audiobooks when you’re driving, or maybe have an audiobook playing while your child is doing Legos or whatever else.”
Listening to audiobooks or listening along with text may also help readers who are second language learners. In general, listening to an audiobook offers many of the same benefits as traditional reading and promotes comprehension skills and vocabulary.
HELP STUDENTS ELIMINATE DIGITAL DISTRACTIONS
A potential drawback of screen reading is the possibility of a child, or any reader, being distracted by non-book activities on their device, from texts to social media. And, unfortunately for many, reading still isn’t as enticing as digital pursuits. “Leisure reading is watermelon and pretty much any screen-based entertainment is a chocolate bar, even among kids who really like reading,” Willingham says.
One way Willingham says parents might overcome this is by asking children to think about whether they actually enjoy checking social media as frequently as they do. “This is a distinction between wanting something and enjoying something,” Willingham says. “I think a lot of times we want to get on social media, but then once we’re on social media, we don’t enjoy it that much.”
By helping kids recognize this, it could encourage them to use their phone to read more.
MAKE SURE EVERY KID HAS A LIBRARY CARD
Providing all children with choice in the type of reading they explore and the way they consume it is vital, and libraries play a key role in providing this access. “Reach out to the school library and reach out to your public librarian before summer kicks off,” Jacobs says. “Make sure that students leave school with a library card because that library card really can open up the doors – whether physical doors or virtual doors – to a wealth of literature.”
She adds, “It doesn’t matter what type of community you live in. There are public libraries all over the world, and they’re there for community and they’re there for learning. And it really is equity and access that turns kids into readers.”
Anew meta-analysis looking at reading vs. listening to text either via an audiobook or other method has found no significant difference in comprehension outcomes. The study was recently published in Review of Educational Research and provides some of the best evidence yet that those who listen to a text learn a comparable amount to those who read the same text.
“It is not at all cheating to listen as opposed to read,” says Virginia Clinton-Lisell, the study’s author and associate professor at the University of North Dakota.
HOW THIS RESEARCH CAME ABOUT
Clinton-Lisell, an educational psychologist and former ESL teacher
who specializes in language and reading comprehension, began researching audiobooks and listening to text in general after hearing colleagues talk about it as if they were doing something wrong.
“I was in a book club and there was one woman who was like, ‘I have the audiobook,’ and seemed embarrassed about it, like she wasn’t a real scholar because she was listening to the audiobook because she had to do a lot of driving,” Clinton-Lisell says.
Clinton-Lisell began thinking about universal design and audiobooks. Not only could audiobooks provide access to course materials for students with vision or other learning disabilities, but for students in general who might have everyday life obstacles to sitting down and reading. “I thought about my colleague, who was driving a lot who had the audiobook. ‘Well,
READING VS LISTENING
how many students have long commutes, and would be able to listen to their course materials, during those drives, and be able to comprehend it, and otherwise may not have the time to sit down and read it,’” she said. “Or students who just have to do chores around the house, or watch the kids, if they could be playing their course materials, they could still get the content and the ideas and be able to stay on top of the materials.”
WHAT THE RESEARCH SHOWS
Some previous research suggested comparable comprehension between audiobooks and reading but these were smaller, isolated studies and there were also other studies that demonstrated an advantage for reading. To learn more about the difference in comprehension between reading and listening, Clinton-Lisell embarked on a comprehensive search of studies comparing reading to audiobooks or listening to text of some type.
For her analysis, she looked at 46 studies conducted between 1955 and 2020 with a combined total of 4,687 participants. These studies include a mix of elementary school, secondary school, and adult participants. While a majority of the studies looked at in the analysis were conducted in English, 12 studies were conducted in other languages.
Overall, Clinton-Lisell found reading was comparable to listening in terms of comprehension. “There wasn’t a difference where anybody should be concerned about having somebody listen as opposed to read to understand content, or to understand a fictional work,” she says.
In addition, she found:
There was no discernible difference between age groups in terms of listening vs. reading comprehension – though Clinton-Lisell only looked at studies that examined competent readers because those who struggle with reading will obviously learn more from an audiobook.
In studies in which readers were able to choose their own pace and go back, there was a small advantage to readers. However, none of the experiments allowed audiobook or other listeners to control their pace, so it’s unclear if that advantage would hold up with modern audiobook
technology that allows people to skip back to relisten to a passage and/or speed up narration (anecdotally this helps some people concentrate on audiobooks).
There was some indication that reading and listening were more similar in languages with transparent orthographies (languages such as Italian or Korean in which words are spelled like they sound) than in languages with opaque orthographies (languages such as English in which words are not always spelled as they sound and letters don’t always follow the same rules). However, the difference was not big enough to be significant and may not hold up in larger studies, Clinton-Lisell says.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE RESEARCH
Audiobooks can help students with a wide range of accessibility needs including unexpected ones such as haptic concerns holding a book or inability to pay attention to text for long periods of time.
“Audiobooks are also a great way to help students who have reading disabilities so they can build their language base and build their content knowledge from listening, so they don’t fall behind,” Clinton-Lisell says.
In addition, Clinton-Lisell advocates for greater access to all students whether they have accessibility needs or not. “It’s a way to make reading fun,” she says, noting that a book can be listened to while walking, relaxing, traveling, etc.
Audiobooks are increasingly common in school libraries and textto-speech is now a built-in feature of many apps and programs. Even so, some educators still see listening as a shortcut. Clinton-Lisell recounted an anecdote about a dyslexic student whose teachers were reluctant to provide listening alternatives because they wanted the student’s reading to improve, but she says such concerns are misguided.
“Language builds language,” Clinton-Lisell says. “There are a wealth of studies showing that listening and reading comprehension benefit each other. The better you are at reading, the better you’ll be at listening. The better you are at listening, the better you will be at reading.”
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• Focuses on the 2,500 morphological word families that make up 90% of all texts students will encounter in school
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TEACHINGBy Erik Ofgang
Before teaching a VR lesson or an AR lesson, there are some questions teachers should ask themselves, says Jaime Donally, an immersive learning expert.
Donally is a former math teacher and instructional technologist who has written two books about teaching with extended reality (XR), which encompasses virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). She advises teachers to ask these questions as they prepare to teach a VR lesson and get ready for the metaverse.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE VR LESSON?
As with any kind of lesson, it’s a good idea to start with the end goal in mind when teaching a VR lesson by asking questions such as,
“What is the learning objective? And how can VR help meet that objective?”
Too often, an educator will see a cool VR lesson at a conference and try to shoehorn it into an existing lesson. “I think that’s really going to be the approach that’s going to have a lot more problems,” says Donally.
Instead, she advises teachers to search for VR and AR resources and lessons that can fill gaps. “Look for the resources that are going to target those areas where maybe us as teachers have a hard time grasping or demonstrating,” she says. “What can augmented or virtual reality support that I couldn’t do without that kind of technology?”
For example, consider using VR to enhance an existing lesson, such as a history lesson to see what a significant site used to look like in the past.
2WHAT TYPE OF TECHNOLOGY DO YOUR STUDENTS HAVE ACCESS TO?
You don’t need an expensive VR headset to start incorporating immersive technology into your teaching but you do need to be mindful of the strengths and weaknesses of the tech that your students have access to.
“Chromebooks, which are the most popular school products in the classroom today, are limited to more web XR experiences,” Donally says. “So an example of that is actually building in a virtual or 360-degree environment.”
If students have access to devices with cameras such as an iPad, iPhone, or Android device, they can engage in AR lessons. “They can do augmented and virtual reality experiences in it, and it gives them the chance to be able to explore and sometimes even create and design,” Donally says. “Depending on which device they get, they can even do 3D scanning to be able to build and populate their immersive experiences. Most of what I share is being used or leveraged on iPhones or iPads, or Google mobile devices.”
3WHO CAN I COLLABORATE WITH?
Collaboration with administrators and other colleagues is key to developing successful VR lessons, especially as the technology you are utilizing gets more advanced and potentially expensive.
“[Collaborate] with your curriculum team, your technology team, other teachers in the same group, whether it be grade level or subject level,” Donally says.
When this collaboration portion isn’t in place, sometimes efforts to incorporate VR into the classroom can be a bust. “What happens is you have this really energetic teacher that jumps into this technology, with absolutely no support through their curriculum, no support through their technology, and really no guidance. So they run into all these stumbling blocks,” Donally says. “I’ve actually heard of school districts going out and spending grant money for VR headsets, and the technology department shuts it down because it’s not safe, or there are complications within their own network.”
4WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE?
Donally has written more than 200 blogs on VR learning and related topics for her website that teachers can access for free. In addition, she has developed two free courses in partnership with the Verizon Innovative Learning Center and has written two books published by ISTE on the topic, The Immersive Classroom and Learning Transported Educators can also connect with other VR-interested teachers using the #ARVRinEdu hashtag on social media. “You’re going to find a lot of resources from the community sharing ideas and inspiring one another,” Donally says.
She recommends the following courses: ARVRinEDU.com AR Course VR Course
Everfi Metaverse Course
5HOW DO I KNOW MY VR LESSON IS SUCCESSFUL?
The more that our VR lessons can be student-directed, the better. “I think a successful lesson is letting the students own the technology,” Donally says. “When students are building and creating experiences, sharing those experiences with others, and that’s something that others can enjoy and maybe even be inspired by. I think that’s really when we’re going to see this kind of technology take off.”
Too often there’s is a reluctance to hand students the reins. “We tend to want to control every piece. We have to know every aspect [of a lesson]. I don’t know, every aspect,” Donally says. “Every time I talk to teachers or students I learn something new. And I think when we can all look at it from an approach that we are in this together to learn this together. This technology is changing so rapidly, that we always have room for growth and to learn together. I think that that’s when you have a successful lesson.”
READING AND LITERACY PRODUCT GUIDEBy T&L Editors
Given the importance of reading and literacy, finding the right tools and products to support instruction continues to be a priority for many districts and schools.
The following solutions help promote reading and literacy, while also supporting equity.
AMPLIFY READING - Amplify Reading is a reading acceleration program for grades K-5 that uses storytelling to engage students in personalized reading instruction and practice. It provides students with targeted instruction and practice in the key skills that they need to become successful readers, from phonological awareness to phonics, vocabulary, and more.
CAPSTONE PEBBLEGO - PebbleGo is a curriculum-connected, supplemental learning tool with informational articles, ready-made activities, and literacy supports for K-5 students of all abilities.
CURRICULUM ASSOCIATES MAGNETIC READING - A researchbased K-5 reading curriculum, Magnetic Reading combines a systematic, scaffolded instructional approach with engaging texts. Detailed reports allow educators to closely track student progress.
DREAMBOX LEARNING READING - Intended to help students become lifelong learners, DreamBox Reading is a research-based literacy solution that provides students with personalized reading practice, adaptive instruction, extensive vocabulary resources and support for the development of visual/perceptual skills related to reading.
DREAMBOX LEARNING READING PLUS - This is a research-based, adaptive literacy solution for grades 3-12 that aims to improve comprehension, vocabulary, motivation, and reading efficiency. Reading Plus provides differentiated literacy instruction for diverse learners, including English learners, special ed, and RTI/MTSS Tiers 1, 2, and 3, as well as advanced readers.
EPIC! - Epic! is a digital library and e-reader for books and videos for children that allows teachers to assign books to individual students or class groups. Integrated with Google Classroom, this easy-to-use platform includes a built-in dictionary to help students learn as they read.
EQUITY MAPS - Equity Maps is a real-time participation tracker that can let teachers see more clearly just who’s doing the talking in class.This app allows
teachers to track a class discussion in detail so that it can be revisited after the event, with the idea being that teachers are able to see who was contributing and who wasn’t.
ETS CRITERION - The Criterion Online Writing Evaluation Service is a web-based instructor-led writing tool that helps students plan, write, and revise their essays, offering immediate diagnostic feedback on grammar, spelling, mechanics, usage, and organization and development.
PART OF THE CENGAGE GROUP MISS
HUMBLEBEE’S ACADEMY - Miss Humblebee’s Academy is an online preschool learning program that offers a comprehensive, standards-based academic and social and emotional learning curriculum. Included are plenty of offline lessons and activities to reinforce and expand on learning concepts while limiting screen time.
HOOT READING HOOT FOR SCHOOLS - Hoot Reading connects students with certified teachers to advance literacy with evidence-based reading programs. It can help take pressure off teacher, while analytics show student needs and growth.
HMH WRITABLE - A research-backed literacy tool, Writable helps students in grades 3-12 learn how to write proficiently via application of personalized feedback and revision. Over 1000 customizable assignments, prompts, and rubrics provide a variety of scaffolded practice for all skill levels.
IXL LEARNING VOCABULARY.COM - Vocabulary.com offers vocabulary-building activities for instruction, review, and assessment that teachers can assign and students can work on independently. It integrates with any curriculum, allowing teachers to create literacy-building activities based on any text.
LANGUAGE! LIVE - This is a curriculum-based intervention that can help students improve their literacy when struggling. It is aimed at students in grades 5 to 12 and uses a blended approach to language and literacy education. The program, from Voyager Sopris, is built for both in-person and remote use, and works across multiple formats so students can learn both in the class and from home using a digital device.
LEARNING ALLY EXCITE READING - PREK-2 - Excite Reading is a supplemental Pre-K-2 literacy program based on the science of reading and whole child literacy to help emergent readers learn fundamental reading skills and to accelerate pre-reading skills.
MCGRAW HILL ACHIEVE 3000 LITERACY - Achieve 3000 Literacy engages students via differentiated literacy instruction and provides educators with crucial information about each student’s initial reading level and progress.The program offers standards-aligned content differentiated to 12 Lexile levels in English and 8 in Spanish.
MINDPLAY READING - Mindplay’s self-paced online reading program provides assessment-driven instruction, repeated opportunities for students to achieve mastery and gamified rewards for progress. Aligned to the science of reading, lessons focus on the skills needed to become a proficient reader, including phonemic awareness, comprehension strategies, silent reading and more.
NEARPOD FLOCABULARY - Flocabulary engages students in K-12 standards-aligned hip-hop videos and instructional activities that increase reading comprehension. By combining music and lessons, students become better engaged in learning and remember the concepts.
OBJECTIVEED BUDDYBOOKS - BuddyBooks is designed for students with dyslexia, reading impairments, or low vision, and features a computer and the student alternate reading sentences aloud from almost any popular book. Using AI-based speech recognition, the computer verifies the student has read each sentence correctly. The judges liked that this tool offers the ability to help students practice fluency.
OVERDRIVE SORA, THE STUDENT READING APP - The Sora K-12 student reading app helps students read more by delivering equitable access to the books students need for learning and enjoyment. The ease of use, its accessibility features, and the ability to access on any device can encourage even the most reluctant readers.
PEARSON ENGLISH DIGITAL TOOLS - Pearson’s digital English teaching tools are designed to support a blended learning experience and include MyEnglishLab for lesson delivery and progress reporting, Active Teach for classroom management, Reader+ for enhanced ebook reading, eText and Practice English App for studying on the go and the English Portal for easy access to all tools.
READING HORIZONS DISCOVERY - The Reading Horizons multisensory method, paired with a new tech-enabled lesson delivery system, helps educators guide K–3 students in mastering foundational reading skills.The program provides real-time assessment data, small-group instruction for differentiation and training videos with each lesson.
READ NATURALLY READ LIVE - Read Live is a research-based program for struggling and emerging readers, with tools to improve fluency, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and more. Features such as word prediction, read-along, reading practice, and quizzes, make it a good tool to help students read and learn in an online environment.
RENAISSANCE ACCELERATED READER - Accelerated Reader is an independent reading practice program that helps K-12 students to become lifelong readers and supports more than 220,000 fiction and nonfiction books and articles across a wide range of levels.
RENAISSANCE LALILO - Lalilo is a personalized standards-aligned early literacy practice tool for K-2 learners. Educators can use it to understand whole-class progress in under five minutes or dive deeper to assign, guide, and track individual student performance through dashboards. The tool can also be used to supplement core ELA curriculum and aligns with the science of reading. All these features impressed the judges.
SCHOLASTIC LITERACY - Scholastic Literacy is a comprehensive literacy program that pairs standards-informed instruction with high-quality, culturally relevant books and adaptive digital learning resources, including phonics, vocabulary, independent reading and real-time progress reports.
SOLUTION TREE LITERACY PROFESSIONAL LEARNING
- Available as an in-person or virtual service, Solution Tree Literacy Professional Learning is a state standards-aligned resource that uses literacy experts, authors and science-based methods to help educators advance their literacy instruction. Each program is tailored to the needs of individual schools.