Minnesota's Largest School District Purchases Weekly Reader AbleNet Editions for Students with Disabilities

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Less than one month after AbleNet, Inc., and Weekly Reader announced their new series of adapted student publications, developed specifically for students with moderate to severe disabilities, Minnesota's largest school district approved a district-wide purchase of Weekly Reader AbleNet Editions for the 2007 - 2008 school year.

Weekly Reader and AbleNet Announce Specially Designed Publications

I just received the announcement about the AbleNet/Weekly Reader collaboration! What a TERRIFIC step! Once again, AbleNet comes through with an innovative idea that is right on target for what we need in schools to really connect ALL students to the curriculum and to the tasks that enable them to reach high standards of achievement!

When Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin Independent School District announced that it had approved the district-wide purchase of the 'Weekly Reader AbleNet Editions' for its special education classrooms, the men and women who worked so hard to bring these products to fruition saw it as the highest compliment the publications have received to date, and there have been many…

Joy Zabala, PH D., a well known and highly respected industry thought leader, reacted to the announcement of the Weekly Reader AbleNet Editions as follows, "I just received the announcement about the AbleNet/Weekly Reader collaboration! What a TERRIFIC step! Once again, AbleNet comes through with an innovative idea that is right on target for what we need in schools to really connect ALL students to the curriculum and to the tasks that enable them to reach high standards of achievement!"

Kathy Enselein, a special teacher in Intermediate District 287 (serving thirteen area districts in the Twin Cities metro area) was asked to give her opinion of the publications prior to launch, and responded with, "Wonderful that you provide the general education Weekly Reader plus the adapted version for reference. This product will significantly reduce time needed to create curriculum specific to the population, while addressing state standards."

Since their debut at http://www.ablenetinc.com in August 2007, annual subscriptions to the Weekly Reader AbleNet Editions have already been purchased by districts across the country, but what made the Anoka-Hennepin Independent School District so significant is the fact that they were the first to make a district-wide purchase. That's noteworthy because of the size of the district, which serves serves approximately 41,000 students and 241,000 residents living in 13 suburban communities north of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Just knowing that a district of that size felt confident in purchasing the publications for their special education students gives smaller districts the confidence to do the same.

Of course general education teachers have subscribed to Weekly Reader publications for decades, and special education teachers know AbleNet as a trusted resource for assistive technologies and research-based curricula for students with significant disabilities, so the pairing of the two companies lends tremendous credibility to the offering.

'Weekly Reader AbleNet Editions' give special education teachers a choice between 'Weekly Reader - Edition 2,' which covers a variety of elementary grade-level themes and topics; 'Know Your World EXTRA,' which covers pop culture news for secondary students; and/or 'Current Health 1,' which covers a variety of age-appropriate and timely topics related to health and well-being also for secondary students. To further assist teachers in addressing the unique needs of individual students, all 'Weekly Reader AbleNet Editions'' are available in two formats, one for students with moderate disabilities and one for students with severe/profound disabilities.

Unlike the more traditional magazine-style format found in all other Weekly Reader publications, 'Weekly Reader AbleNet Editions' feature Boardmaker picture symbols, an industry standard for differentiated instruction that has been proven effective in providing meaningful literacy and communication experiences to students with disabilities. A specially designed teacher's guide provides instructional strategies, techniques for incorporating assistive technologies and methods for literacy, grade level content, and functional skills development.

According to Jacque Weidner, Teaching and Learning Specialist in Special Education for the Anoka-Hennepin School District, the decision to make a district-wide purchase of the Weekly Reader AbleNet Editions was a relatively easy one. "We've purchased AbleNet products in the past, specifically their special education curricula and assistive technologies, so we know they always have our student's best interests at heart. AbleNet has always focused their product offerings on this population of students, and they understand what we need in terms of meeting state and federal accountability standards. We felt very confident about making this purchase for our students."

For more information about the 'Weekly Reader AbleNet Editions' contact Mary Kay Walch at 651-294-2218 or visit http://www.ablenetinc.com/weeklyreaderae.

About AbleNet
AbleNet, Inc., offers a complete line of assistive technology products, including communication aids for non-verbal students; access aids, such as switches and wheelchair mounting devices for students who require physical supports; and classroom tools that can be used by any individual student or during group activities. The company is also recognized for developing research-based special education curricula that meet state and federal mandates.

Located in Roseville, Minnesota, AbleNet Inc., is an ESOP company that employs 35 people and sells its products through a network of distributors in 49 countries. AbleNet's products and programs have been used in tens of thousands of classrooms nationally for more than 20 years. For more information, visit http://www.ablenetinc.com.

About Weekly Reader
Weekly Reader Periodicals is part of the Weekly Reader Publishing Group (WRPG), a leader in educational publishing. Founded in 1902, Weekly Reader publishes 15 magazines for students in every grade from preschool through high school, in both print and electronic formats. Weekly Reader magazines have been recognized for their engaging content and proven effectiveness in improving student performance. Every one of the magazines has won awards for excellence in educational journalism. Weekly Reader magazines currently serve over five million students and 240,000 teachers nationwide. Weekly Reader Publishing Group is part of the Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

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Mary Kay Walch
AbleNet
651-294-2218
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