E-books Take Root

Here’s more evidence that e-books along with their augmented cousins – books with audio and visual and animated support – are here to stay:

Book titles reached 945,026 in May 2011, increasing by 47,000 over April 2011 (5 percent month-over-month increase) and by more than 740,000 since Kindle’s first anniversary.

eBooks with embedded audio and video clips increased by 290 in May 2011 (their 11th month in Kindle Store) and their number reached 600. Magazine titles increased by 8 to 94 while newspaper titles increased by 3 and reached 167. U.S. newspapers’ count was at 81 and international at 86.

Publishers are responding as well.  Capstone Digital’s myOn Reader program, which allows students to read targeted texts on topics of their choice, was recently released to much fanfare.  One thing seems clear: the market has made its preference clear and the publishing industry will look very different just five years from now.

Lexile Measures Added to Saddleback’s Hi-Lo Books

Saddleback Educational Publishing has joined the growing list of publishers who offer Lexile measures for their books. By adding Lexile measures to their award-winning hi-lo titles, Saddleback is helping students at lower readiness levels enjoy reading by targeting their interests and school assignments to books at the right level.

According to Tim McHugh, Saddleback’s vice president of sales and marketing, “We strive to provide educators with the finest quality curriculum materials. The addition of Lexile measures to our hi-lo books offers educators valuable information for matching students with resources that will best support positive reading experiences and the development of important comprehension skills.”

Saddleback publishes some of the most popular hi-lo books for struggling readers, including the “21st Century Life Skills” and “Urban Underground” series. Those titles that have been assigned Lexile measures are now available in the free “Find a Book” search utility, which allows readers of all ages to build custom book lists based on their interests and ability level.

Rethinking Math Education: An Experiment with Video

We’ve written before on how organizations like Virtual Nerds or individuals like Salman Khan are capitalizing on easy access to video and then harnessing the Internets capability to rapidly disseminate short chunks of information through multiple channels.  The ability to access specific, targeted material – and repeatedly view on-demand content – means that many students are able to engage with the content in a setting of their choice, a setting hopefully free of other distractions.  Plus, accessing information on-demand means that students are able to free up valuable mental real estate; students don’t have to be distracted by monitoring social cues or focusing on facial expressions, or even worrying about the speaker’s perception.  Instead, the student is free to focus almost exclusively on the actual content.

Here’s Khan at a recent TED talk explaining what he thinks may account for the appeal of his math videos.

Khan is not alone.  Vi Hart has garnered recent acclaim for her ability to take high-level, abstract, mathematical concepts and render them both accessible and fun.  Hart offers her visual work and explanations through both YouTube and her own site.

Video formats – like the Khan Academy YouTube videos and those created by Virtual Nerds – offer math students a valuable way to reinforce their current lesson or access more in-depth explanations in a setting of their choice.  That sort of accessibility and ease of use were a part of our thinking in making both Virtual Nerds and Khan Academy videos available through our own Math at Home utility.   Math at Home allows parents and educators to link students to resources at a targeted level based on the Quantile Framework for Mathematics.

If you haven’t already checked out this valuable new resource, be sure to take a look.

Free Webinar on Capstone Digital’s New “myON reader”

The growing popularity of personalized learning platforms are changing today’s literacy landscape. With Lexile measures in Capstone Digital’s new myON reader, educators can take personalized learning to a whole new level and monitor student growth in reading ability at the same time.

Want to learn more? Join Capstone Digital President Todd Brekhus and MetaMetrics COO Tim Klasson for a free webinar on how myON reader is changing the way schools and districts develop reading programs and forecast student progress toward state and national standards. Here are the details:

Personalizing Learning and Measuring Reading Ability

Thursday, April 7, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT

Developing a successful literacy program can be overwhelming. Creating personalized reading plans and complementary tools to measure student growth takes resources that most school districts don’t have. That’s why Capstone Digital and MetaMetrics developed myON reader, a personalized literacy environment that connects student interests and reading ability with the largest online library of enhanced digital books with reading supports. Embedded Lexile-based assessments allow teachers and students to monitor reading progress and forecast growth.

Click here to register today.

MAP Assessments Continue Lexile Reporting

NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) assessments are used by nearly 5,000 U.S. school districts and educational agencies worldwide. And each of them will be glad to know that the tests will continue to report Lexile® ranges.

Today, Lexile-developer MetaMetrics® and NWEA announced that they have extended their partnership that dates back to 1999. Since then, MAP reports have included a reading range score that correlates a student’s MAP test score with a Lexile range. The Lexile range is used to provide the student with a pre-developed booklist intended to support growth by providing the right level of challenge for his or her reading ability. And, for those who are familiar with our free “Find a Book” search tool, the student’s Lexile range can also be used to build a custom reading list based on his or her ability and interests, and then locate the selections at a local public library.

When asked about the value of Lexile ranges from the MAP assessments, NWEA President and CEO Matt Chapman noted, “… we are committed to providing not only data, but meaningful instructional tools to appropriately help kids learn and teachers be more effective—Lexile measures help us towards that goal.” 

MetaMetrics President and co-founder Malbert Smith III added, “We are pleased … to maintain the continuity of Lexile data that so many educators trust to guide their classroom instruction. More than ever, educators must continually assess how much reading growth is required for students to achieve state and national proficiency standards, and as they prepare for the reading demands of their college and career goals.”

MAP adaptive assessments provide valuable information about students’ learning level and growth, as well as their progress toward state and national standards. They are computer-adaptive and adjust with each item, giving a precise and accurate measure of student learning and growth, based on NWEA’s RIT scores. For more information, visit www.nwea.org.

Mevident’s Teen Wellness Program Adds Lexile Measures

Lexile measures are now part of a teen wellness program!  Mevident, a South San Francisco, California company, now provides Lexile measures as part of Teen Wellness– a solution that allows school counselors to provide resiliency skill education to students who are distracted from academic activities by family problems, peer or relationship problems, behavioral issues and psychological barriers.  The program is built around Mevident’s proprietary online educational materials, comprising 13 chapters of lessons, homework exercises and fictional character stories. The collective chapters, and each of the character stories, have been assigned Lexile measures to help school counselors gauge students’ readiness to read and understand the course materials.

Teen Wellness demonstrates commitment to helping students prepare for the challenges in both their personal and academic lives and we’re happy to be a part! According to Mevident’s CEO, Asako Tsumagari, the addition of Lexile measures now provides counselors with a proven resource to help determine if students will be able to effectively engage in the materials.

We’re thrilled that educators will be able to match Teen Wellness chapters and lessons to student reading levels!

Video Tutorials Now Available in Math@Home

Here’s some good news for students who are struggling with mathematics: our free Math@Home web utility now includes Virtual Nerd video tutorials. The instructional videos provide students with the extra help they need to understand the textbook lessons being taught in school. It’s like having unlimited access to a personal tutor in the comfort of their own homes!

Plus, each Virtual Nerd tutorial has a Quantile® measure to describe the difficulty of the math lesson. This ensures students are matched with videos at the right readiness level for their unique abilities.

Access to the Virtual Nerd video tutorials in Math@Home is free.  However, subscriptions are available for students and parents who want to access more interactive tutorials on the Virtual Nerd website (access is free for registered educators). Each of these tutorials features an expert tutor and diagrams to explain all of the steps necessary to solve math problems spanning Pre-Algebra through Algebra II. They also allow students to determine the level of support they need. By clicking on a diagram or a specific step, term or symbol, students can launch other tutorials on those topics that require more instruction, and then continue with the main video. Check out this YouTube video for more details.

Math@Home uses Quantile measures to connect students with a variety of family-friendly math resources, like books, worksheets and websites, that best match their ability level and the textbook lesson they’re studying in school. In addition to the Virtual Nerd tutorials, the utility also provides access to instructional videos from the Khan Academy.

Why not get started now? Visit Math@Home and simply enter some basic information—the student’s state, grade, and Quantile measure or comfort with grade-level mathematics—to search the growing library of video tutorials and other resources that can help students practice mathematics at the right grade and ability levels.

Capstone Digital Personalizes Learning with myON reader

Capstone Digital launched myON™ readerat FETC yesterday. Described simply as the “first of its kind” personalized literacy environment, myON reader is designed to help preK-8 students and remedial readers take control of their reading development by recommending books they want and should be able to read, and monitoring their progress toward goals. And it’s all powered by The Lexile® Framework for Reading.

Capstone Digital and MetaMetrics® announcedlast week that the Lexile Framework would power myON reader’s assessment engine, allowing students’ reading scores from benchmark tests and book-end quizzes to be reported as Lexile measures. Teachers and students can use these Lexile measures to build personalized reading plans that match ability level and interests with the more than 1,000 digital books available from Capstone’s award-winning imprints. Additional features, like embedded reading scaffolds (highlighting, audio and dictionary), increase student confidence and encourage more independent reading. Students can even monitor their growth with a personalized trajectory report that forecasts their expected reading level.

According to Capstone Digital President Todd Brekhus, “Today’s students personalize their lives digitally on a daily basis through music, games and social networks. myON reader leverages those skills to engage students in an online, integrated reading environment using the same premise: digital personalization.”

myON reader goes well beyond the basics of personalized learning. It provides a collaborative environment in which students, teachers and parents can work together to support student reading performance. myON reader uses cloud-based technology to connect school and home through anytime, anywhere access, and to provide a safe, social network where students can read, rate and review digital books, and recommend them to classmates.

myON reader is supported by several research studies on how students read, how technology plays a part in reading, and what motivates students to read. For more information on the research behind myON reader, check out the white paper, “Building Proficiency Through Personalized Reading,” at www.CapstoneDigital.com.

Capstone Digital’s New Literacy Program Launching Next Week

Capstone Digital is taking personalized learning to a new level. Next week at FETC 2011, the company is launching what it describes as a “one-of-a-kind” literacy environment that will help students take more responsibility for their learning—with the support of teachers, librarians, administrators and parents.

How is Capstone Digital making this level of personalization possible? Like many other companies before them, with the widely adopted Lexile® Framework for Reading.

Capstone Digital just announced a partnership with MetaMetrics to use the Lexile Framework to level its digital content and monitor student progress toward goals. According to company President Todd Brekhus, “Our goal is to personalize the reading experience for every student. Collaborating with MetaMetrics to develop our new literacy program puts us one step closer to achieving this goal. Now we can provide educators with a powerful and proven tool to differentiate reading instruction for their students, and track their growth in reading ability.”

So far, Capstone Digital has leveled more than 14,000 books from its various imprints and divisions. These Lexile measures will enable educators to personalize students’ reading plans—by assigning books at the right difficulty level to encourage independent reading and increase confidence.

Check back here next week for more details on how Capstone Digital’s innovative new product will encourage a love of reading and increase growth—one student at a time.

Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida

The Florida Department of Education will recognize Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! with a number of events planned for the week of Monday, Jan. 24, through Friday, Jan. 28. These events are intended to raise awareness of the literacy programs offered by the Department and its partners, and to promote the enjoyment of reading for children and adults of all ages.

The week-long celebration kicks-off on Monday night at 6:00 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers in West Kendall/Miami. Florida author Edward Bloor will be onsite to talk about his work and sign copies of his latest release, “Taken” (640L). Bloor has written four other books for teenagers—including the award-winning “Tangerine (680L)—all of which have Lexile measures and are available on the “Find a Book, Florida” site. 

Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!is a collaborative effort between MetaMetrics, Barnes & Noble, the Florida Education Foundation and the Florida Department of Education. According to Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith, “We are very excited to be able to kick off Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!with such a huge, multi-dimensional partnership. The attendance of Mr. Bloor and the generosity of our partners make this a perfect opportunity to create a renewed focus on student literacy in 2011.”

During Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida!, all Florida students are eligible to enter a statewide raffle for one of 20 Barnes & Noble gift cards. To enter, students must bring a completed entry form, which is available on the “Find a Book, Florida” site, and a printout of their “Find a Book” reading list to any Florida Barnes & Noble store. Winners will be selected and notified by the Florida Education Foundation after Jan. 31.

“We are thrilled to be part of this important initiative that encourages all students to extend reading beyond school and into their daily lives,” said MetaMetrics President Malbert Smith III, Ph.D. “With our free ‘Find a Book’ search tool, students can strengthen their reading skills—and develop a greater love of reading—by selecting titles they want and should be able to read.”

The Florida Department of Education relaunched the “Find a Book, Florida” resource in September 2010 to support year-round reading. The free search tool allows students to locate new and intriguing books tailored to their own reading interests. Thousands of fiction and nonfiction titles are available through “Find a Book, Florida,”which helps to match a book’s text complexity with a student’s reading ability using Lexile measures.

For more information, visit www.barnesandnoble.com (under Stores & Events), http://florida.lexile.com, www.floridaeducationfoundation.org or www.justreadflorida.com/literacyweek.asp.

MetaMetrics is an educational measurement organization. Our renowned psychometric team develops scientific measures of student achievement that link assessment with targeted instruction to improve learning.