‘Read on myON’ Provides Free Access to Thousands of Digital Books For All Children in Hillsborough County, Florida

Community Organizations Partner with Capstone Digital to Ensure County’s Children Are Reading At or Above Grade Level by Third Grade

MINNEAPOLIS (April 30, 2012) – A new reading initiative in Hillsborough County, Florida, is designed to boost literacy among young students. Sponsored by several community organizations, “Read on myON” provides all Hillsborough County children from birth to eighth grade with access to myON reader from Capstone Digital. The personalized literacy environment is home to the largest integrated library of enhanced digital books, customized to a student’s interest and reading ability.

“myON reader is one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever been involved with,” said Luanne Panacek, CEO of the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County. Panacek is the lead organizer of an eight-member partnership, including Hillsborough County Public Schools and United Way, to make myON available to all children in the county. “It’s a revolutionary literacy program that personalizes reading with access to over 2,500 digital published books containing reading supports,” Panacek said.

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Hillsborough County Public Schools introduced myON reader to Title I schools in the fall of 2010, and enthusiasm for the online library of digital books quickly spread beyond the district. Because of the platform’s effectiveness in expanding access to books and boosting reading interest among students, local education stakeholders are partnering to offer all children of Hillsborough County access to myON reader at no cost. 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 are working together to promote the endeavor.

“myON reader creates a collaborative reading environment in which students, educators and parents work together to improve student reading performance,” said Todd Brekhus, president of Capstone Digital. “In addition, myON reader provides unlimited circulation, enabling every student to read any book at anytime, including in school or at home, which extends learning beyond the classroom.”

myON reader provides access to an expanding library of digital books with multimedia supports, including an embedded dictionary, text highlighting and audio. To personalize the reading experience, myON reader develops an individual profile for each student based on interests and reading ability as measured by the Lexile Framework for reading. The online platform then generates a recommended book list tailored to encourage students to read more and further improve their reading skills. Giving students the opportunity to choose what they want to read, in a digital environment in which they are comfortable, motivates them to become better and more confident readers.

“We are excited to be able to expand our elementary and middle school students’ opportunities to improve their reading skills through this digital library,” said MaryEllen Elia, superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools. “Students already have read more than a quarter of a million books since myON reader was introduced to all K-8 schools in February.”

As part of the reading initiative, the Children’s Board of Hillsborough is hosting the “Great by 8 to Graduate Community Summit” today, a collaborative effort focused on assuring that all of the county’s children are reading at or above grade level by third grade. The agenda includes facilitated group discussions and action planning around issues directly related to school achievement and reading proficiency. Ideas from the summit will be used to inform future literacy development programs.

As myON continues to evolve and students have more access to myON reader through mobile devices, parents will find resources to encourage their child to read. Reference guides for parents are available on the website, www.TheFutureinReading.com/myon.

For more information about the “Read on myON” initiative, visit www.ReadonmyON.org.

About Capstone Digital

Capstone Digital, a division of Capstone, develops personalized learning environments for students. Offerings include digital books, research databases and audio books, all designed to increase fluency and reading levels for students of all levels. As the flagship product, myON reader provides access to the largest integrated library of digital books with multimedia supports. Using Capstone Digital products, students gain confidence in their abilities, take ownership in their reading growth, and achieve success across the curriculum. For more information, visit www.capstonedigital.com or www.thefutureinreading.com.

About Children’s Board of Hillsborough County

The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County serves as the leading voice and advocate for children and families in our community. The board is the only organization of its kind in Hillsborough County that generates revenue to help children and families. The Children’s Board is recognized nationally for its contributions to best practices in policies and programs aiding children and families. Citizens may visit www.childrensboard.org to learn more about the board’s programs.

About Hillsborough County Public Schools

Hillsborough County Public Schools is the 8th largest school district in the nation, with more than 192,000 students, and a $2 billion operating budget. Educational opportunities include Head Start and adult education programs; and pre-k through 12th grade traditional schools, magnet schools, career centers, technical education, exceptional student education, single gender middle schools, International Baccalaureate schools, and charter schools. The district is fully accredited. For more information visit, www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.


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