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Pros: Built-in audio features offer great reading support; tons of nonfiction texts available; nice features for offline reading.
Cons: Some quiz questions are overly simple, and the reading experience can feel passive, even with the annotation tool.
Bottom Line: A good tool for giving kids access to a wide range of books, though it's best used with teacher (and parent) guidance to promote a more active reading experience.
Use MyON to help promote interest-driven, authentic reading experiences for your students. The platform is best used with attentive guidance, frequent interaction, and plenty of context from teachers and parents. Choice is key, so do your best to ensure that kids have as much as possible. Select a book list for your class that features a wide range of subjects and genres; you'll want to appeal to as many students' interests and ability levels as possible.
Throughout the year, track the books your kids read along with their reading levels. At a few milestones (at the end of each grading period, monthly, etc.), coordinate some activities to celebrate kids' reading and achievement. And remember to help your kids love reading for reading's sake.
MyON is a literacy platform developed by Capstone Publishing and now part of Renaissance, which also owns Accelerated Reader. With MyON, teachers and kids can access a wide range of books from Capstone; other publishers' libraries are also available, through premium packages. It's a subscription-based service, with packages available at the school or district level.
Kids can access the reader through a web browser or using the MyON app, which is available for iOS, Android, Chrome, and Kindle. When they first log in, students take a short survey on their reading preferences. From there, kids can search (using text or images) to find books that match their interests and reading level. Teachers can refine this list of books to suit their classroom's goals. Students can add up to 20 books to their bookshelf, any of which can be saved for offline reading. Each book concludes with a five-question, multiple-choice quiz that tests for comprehension. Kids' Lexile scores are recorded and adjusted based on the books they read and their quiz scores; subsequent searches will reflect kids' ongoing preferences, reading levels, and scores. Through a separate web-based dashboard, teachers can track kids' progress, including the number of books they've read, their total time reading, and their Lexile scores.
In addition to the built-in texts, there's a companion MyON News app that features daily news stories and reading comprehension activities from News-O-Matic.
MyON's audio features are terrific. Every book comes with a built-in live audio version of the text, and these readings sound natural and expressive. As kids read, they can choose to see each word or sentence highlighted in real time. While the reading speed can't be adjusted, the audio can be toggled on and off. These supports can be a bit frustrating for some readers -- especially if the pace feels too slow -- but they can also work well for readers who need a bit more support, including ELLs. There are also thoughtful supports for searching, since kids can use keywords or browse a gallery of related images.
The selection of books available is solid; more than 70% are nonfiction, and there's a good selection of adapted and original English-language classics. Plus, the book-suggestion engine does a good job in helping kids find just the right books for their interests and reading levels. It's nice that you can download up to 20 books to the device for offline reading; that's a feature that isn't available on some comparable leveled reading products, and it may make this app the best choice for some schools and districts.
With a more active reading experience, however, MyON could be even better. Kids can make some notes as they read, but more features that allow students to share questions and ideas with classmates and teachers could better promote kids' acquisition of important active reading skills. Also, while some of the more advanced texts include a list of essay prompts and discussion topics, it would be great to see these types of assessments expanded to all of the selections.