Magazine article Technology & Learning

Turn Your Students into Stronger Readers: Are You Looking to Improve Reading Instruction? Here Are Six Reasons to Explore LeapFrog SchoolHouse

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Turn Your Students into Stronger Readers: Are You Looking to Improve Reading Instruction? Here Are Six Reasons to Explore LeapFrog SchoolHouse

Article excerpt

Three years ago, Lynne Kirkpatrick of Errol Hassell Elementary School in Beaverton, Oregon, received a catalog from LeapFrog SchoolHouse. She had never heard of the company or its products, but this kindergarten teacher of 18 years was searching for more effective and engaging ways to help her students learn to read. Kirkpatrick knew she had a challenging year ahead, and the solutions offered by LeapFrog SchoolHouse intrigued her.

LeapFrog SchoolHouse[TM] products, like the LeapPad[R] personal learning tool, blend curriculum and technology in ways that seemed ideal for Kirkpatrick's kindergarten students, many of whom are English Language Learners (ELL). At Errol Hassell Elementary, the 505 students speak a total of 40 languages, and 35 percent are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Kirkpatrick was encouraged when she saw the research demonstrating that these personal learning tools are proven to raise student achievement: They are research based, correlated to state standards, and designed for the classroom.

Kirkpatrick showed the information to her principal, Diane Smith, who gave the go-ahead to order the LeapPad personal learning tools and some interactive books. Kirkpatrick's instincts were on target. After introducing LeapFrog SchoolHouse to her students, she saw a marked change in their attitude toward reading.

The Winning Solution

The children's enthusiasm prompted Kirkpatrick to order more LeapFrog SchoolHouse programs. She chose the LeapTrack[TM] Assessment & Instruction System; The Literacy Center, a multisensory early literacy program; and the Language First![TM] program for English language development. All content is delivered to the students via interactive LeapPad or Quantum Pad[R] personal learning tools.

The LeapFrog SchoolHouse programs provide formative assessment and differentiated instruction that enable teachers to quickly and continuously assess students' skills, pinpoint areas for improvement, and create individualized learning experiences for each student. The system allows teachers to instantly review students' assessment and instructional results, as well as access reports on student, class, school, and district progress toward meeting state standards. LeapFrog SchoolHouse programs assist Kirkpatrick's students in reaching the benchmarks required at the state and national levels. Kirkpatrick also uses the programs to enhance her core reading program: The technology in the LeapFrog SchoolHouse Literacy Center links lesson for lesson with her state-adopted reading curriculum.

Kirkpatrick began using the programs in the beginning of the last school year and the results have been extraordinary. "At this time last year, less than half the group was reading," she says. "By the end of the year, 91% of my students were reading at or above the kindergarten level." Last year, 18 of her students weren't reading by the end of kindergarten; this year only four weren't reading. Kirkpatrick couldn't be more pleased. "Even my ELL kids are reading."

Why LeapFrog SchoolHouse?

Kirkpatrick outlines what she appreciates most about the LeapFrog SchoolHouse family of products:

1. Individualizes Instruction: The program targets each student's particular needs. For instance, one of Kirkpatrick's students was reading at the second-grade level The interactive books and skill cards for use on the LeapPad unit challenged and engaged him. "The programs are interactive and the, which keeps the students interested and lets them work independently," she says. …

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