LightSail Announces Winners of Fall 2017 Reading Challenge

For Immediate Release: November 6, 2017

LightSail Announces Winners of Fall 2017 Reading Challenge

Nationwide, Students Devour 311,101 Books, Spend 5.1 Million Minutes Reading during October. Schools from South Carolina and New York Earn Top Spots.

(New York, NY – November 6, 2017) – LightSail Education today announced the winners of the 2017 LightSail Launch Challenge, a national reading competition held as schools “launched” into a new in this fall that attracted tens of thousands of participants from across the U.S. and Mexico. The top schools include Indian Land Middle School in Lancaster County, SC; Middle School 390 in Bronx, NY; and Forest Brook Elementary in Hauppauge, NY.

During October, students read a total of 311,101 books on LightSail and logged more than 5.1 million minutes of reading time on classroom e-readers and tablets, including Google Chromebooks and Apple iPads.

“The enthusiasm that our students had throughout the LightSail challenge really amped-up their excitement about reading,” said Cheryl Fleischman, curriculum director of the Indian Land Middle School in South Carolina.

The Challenge: Accumulate the Most Reading Minutes

As each student logged into LightSail to read, individual minutes were recorded and then combined with others in every participating class in the school. The reward? The three schools with the highest number of minutes read will receive $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively, worth of premium e-book titles from LightSail to add to their school’s existing library of e-books.

These additional e-books, when combined with more than 4,500 assessed texts that are available for students through a school’s LightSail subscription, further ensures that all students will have access to something great to read.

“Students are all about technology these days, and LightSail can go with them without having to carry a big, bulky book,” explains Vickie Nash, a 6th grade literacy teacher at Butterfield Trail Middle School in Van Buren, Arkansas. “Through LightSail, I can get instant data about the number of pages read per minute during reading time and watch student growth through their profile and progress pages.”

One of Nash’s students explained another benefit of reading with LightSail – the vast selection. “One of the reasons I read so much on LightSail is because they have so many good books to read,” adding that “I’ve already read all of the books at my house.”

Widely read: Across the country and across cultures

The top performing schools participating in the 2017 LightSail Launch Challenge represent a wide-range of geographic, demographic and culturally diverse populations.

“Thanks to all of the positive features that LightSail gives them, students were genuinely excited when they had class-time to read in the app. Many are going above and beyond what’s expected and spending additional time at home reading through LightSail, too,” says Kristin Cornwall, an ELA teacher at YES Prep at Northbrook Middle School in Houston, Texas.

Over the course of the month-long reading challenge, teachers also used social media to promote their students’ reading accomplishments using the hashtag #lightsaillaunch and following @lightsailed on Twitter.

The Best Performing Schools in the 2017 LightSail Launch Challenge include:

First Place: Indian Land Middle School, Lancaster County, SC. Students read a total of 177,442 minutes.

Second Place: Middle School 390 (MS 390), Bronx, NY. Students read a total of 166,113 minutes.

Third Place: Forest Brook Elementary, Hauppauge, NY. Students read a total of 133,874 minutes.

4th A public middle school, Newark, NJ

5th Parkview Middle School, Armona, CA.

6th Butterfield Trail Middle School, Van Buren, AR.

7th Barkley-Ruiz Elementary School, San Antonio, TX.

8th Walter F. Dexter Middle School, Whittier, CA.

9th Jackson Avenue School, Mineola, NY.

10th YES Prep at Northbrook Middle School, Houston, TX.

Honorable Mention: The Instituto J. Francisco Rodriguez, Queretaro, Mexico.

Quality, Selection and Diversity

With access to more than 4,500 assessed texts from all the best publishers across all topics and genres, LightSail can ensure that all students, regardless of interest or level, have something great to read.

“Our students and teachers are excited to interact with their reading materials in new and dynamic ways through the LightSail app,” says Elaina Garza, vice principal of the Dexter Middle School in Whittier, California. “LightSail has provided our students with opportunities to have access to a multitude of materials available at their individual reading levels.”

Because the LightSail application quantifies and remembers each students’ current reading (Lexile®) level, kids are consistently presented with content that is ‘just right’ for them. This unique flexibility allows students of all reading levels to be able to contribute to their classroom’s success.

“LightSail reading application ignites, empowers, and transcends our students to the next level that will enable them to be global citizens inspiring greatness,” said Andrea Varona, Assistant Principal, MS 390.

Passive Encouragement. Continued Success.

Using innovative, in-text literacy tools, including embedded Cloze vocabulary and short-answer questions, students reading a LightSail text are actively encouraged to continue reading.

“The LightSail Launch challenge was incredibly motivating for our students,” says Forest Brook elementary school teacher, Kristen Reingold. “Teachers are getting a considerable amount of data about each students’ progress through their LightSail dashboard, and the kids are seeing steady growth in their reading stamina and Lexile levels, too. It’s a win-win.”

The concept of reading stamina is echoed by teachers throughout the challenge, as Jackson Avenue School Principal Janet Gonzalez affirms: “LightSail challenges motivate our students to read and instills the importance of building stamina through independent reading.”

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