Review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2016


Reading platform encourages kids with solid audio and search features

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts
  • English Language Learning

Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (11 Reviews)

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Pros: Built-in audio features offer great reading support, tons of nonfiction texts available, plus nice features for offline reading.

Cons: Some quiz questions aren't especially sophisticated, and the reading experience can feel somewhat passive.

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 the kids in your classes. 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.

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MyON is a literacy platform from Capstone Publishing, a major American publisher of children’s books. Teachers and kids get access to a wide range of books from Capstone, as well as some other publishers, though at a premium charge. With a school or district subscription, teachers can create a list of books for their students to browse and read.

Kids can access the reader through a web browser or using the MyON app, available for iOS, Android, Chrome, and Kindle. Upon first logging in, they'll 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. They 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 and their Lexile scores.

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 -- it’s a nice way to support young readers, ELLs, or anyone else who might benefit from this type of support. Also, it's great that kids can search using keywords or a gallery of related images. The selection of books available is solid; more than 70% are nonfiction, and there's a good selection of classics from Charles Dickens to Jane Austen. On top of this, the book-suggestion engine does a good job in helping kids find just the right books for their interests and reading levels. It's also 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.

With a more active reading experience, however, MyON could be even better. Features that allow kids to annotate text, or to share texts, ideas, and questions with classmates and teachers, could better promote kids' acquisition of important active reading skills. Also, 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. Despite this, MyON serves as a solid way to give kids access to a wide range of texts, through a wide range of devices.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Solid search features help kids choose books they like. In terms of selection, kids' ability to choose will be related to the particular subscription package at their school.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Reading recommendations and brief built-in assessments help teachers track and monitor students' progress. A more interactive reading interface could better support kids' active reading practice.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Built-in, natural-sounding audio (with highlighting) for every book is a great support for readers with a range of abilities. A solid FAQ section offers useful guidance.

Common Sense Reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

Teacher Reviews

(See all 11 reviews) (11 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Cynthia S. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
Fremont Public Schools
Fremont, United States
Bookshelf in your Pocket!
The online and app resources combined make a nice addition to any reading program. Using an electronic device affords students the privacy of reading at their own ability and interest level. This is so powerful for emerging and struggling readers. The ability to download books to the app and read offline is huge for students with no internet access outside of the school day. There are some social media sharing capabilities which also add to guiding students with regard to digital citizenship.
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