At NAEYC Annual Conference, Archipelago Learning Will Share New Resource and Insights Into How Best to Help Young Readers

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Early literacy experts will gather in Anaheim next week for the NAEYC conference where Archipelago Learning, an online education company, will demonstrate and discuss the Reading Eggs early literacy program. Reading Eggs supports the core literacy teachings that help students aged three to eight become proficient readers while having fun.

Fourth-grade NAEP scores had shown improvements from 1992 to 2005, but that progress is currently stalled

Reading proficiency scores from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicate that much remains to be done to ensure mastery of literacy during students’ early academic careers. According to the assessments’ results, a third of the nation’s fourth graders are reading below basic proficiency levels, a rate that has remained unchanged since 2007.Early literacy and various resources for efficacy or improvement will be among the topics covered at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) 2010 Annual Conference & Expo Nov. 3-6 in Anaheim, Calif. Archipelago Learning, (NASDAQ:ARCL) a leading subscription-based online education company, will join early childhood educators and educational organizations as they convene to examine and share best practices and resources.

“Fourth-grade NAEP scores had shown improvements from 1992 to 2005, but that progress is currently stalled,” said Tim McEwen, chief executive officer for Archipelago Learning. “Research shows that an early delay in literacy proficiency adversely affects performance throughout a student’s academic career, so this is a significant cause for concern. We need to apply all the tools and resources available to regain national momentum and help those young readers master literacy right from the start.”

To that end, Archipelago Learning recently became the exclusive U.S. distributor of Reading Eggs, a wildly popular online early literacy program designed by Blake Publishing in Australia. Reading Eggs supports the core literacy teachings that drive early reading successes and helps students aged three to eight to become proficient readers.

“Blake Publishing has a distinguished history of publishing award-winning and internationally renowned K-12 reading materials for several major U.S. publishers,” said McEwen. “In fact, Reading Eggs contains specific instructional concepts that will be promoted at this year’s conference.”

For example, at least two conference presentations will mention using puppets to engage young learners in literacy lessons. While Reading Eggs consists of online activities, each student creates an avatar or online character to navigate through instructional tutorials, activities, and games. “In other words, students manipulate online ‘puppets’ and so are drawn deeper into the learning experience,” explained McEwen.

As further motivation, upon the completion of each of the program’s 100 research-based lessons, children are rewarded with a critter that hatches and becomes part of their online “zoo.” In addition to the cool graphics and animation, appealing songs, rewards, and the work-at-your-own-pace nature of the program hold young readers’ interest. Older students engage in both reading and writing via the program’s Story Factory, which provides motivation for honing those skills through a weekly story writing competition sponsored by Reading Eggs.

Designed by a team of teachers, education writers, and multimedia developers, the Reading Eggs program begins at an emergent reading level, focusing on letter sounds, first sight words and reading simple sentences. With each lesson, students gain practice in the five pillars of reading skills the National Reading Panel has declared essential for reading proficiency: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. After 10 lessons, students complete a mastery quiz that provides teachers with a report summarizing what each child has learned thus far along with diagnostics to inform instruction.

Diagnostic tests and student management tools help educators place students in the appropriate reading level within the program. Teachers are able to review the results of all activities, tests and lessons, along with a complete scope and sequence of content covered, at any time.

“For a long time, the early grades were neglected in terms of computer-based literacy instruction because such technology was not considered relevant for young children,” said McEwen. “Now younger students regularly use computers, and software developers have become adept at creating programs with audio-visual features that appeal to that age group. However, strong educational rigor and research-based content must be combined with engaging features, and this is where Reading Eggs shines.”

About Archipelago Learning
Archipelago Learning is a leading subscription-based online education company that provides standards-based instruction, practice, assessments, productivity and reporting tools that improve the performance of educators and students. Study Island, its flagship product line, helps students in kindergarten through 12th grade master grade-level academic standards in a fun and engaging manner and is utilized by over 10 million students in approximately 22,800 schools in the United States and Canada. Reading Eggs, an online early literacy program for students ages three to eight, offers skills, strategies and leveled eBooks essential for sustained reading success. EducationCity provides online K-6 instructional content and assessments for reading, mathematics and science and is used by 8,500 schools in the United Kingdom and 4,500 schools in the United States. For the post-secondary market, Northstar Learning offers online instructional content and exam preparation products across a variety of core college curriculum and career licensure areas. Archipelago Learning is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. For more information, please visit http://www.archipelagolearning.com.

About Blake Publishing
Blake Publishing is a highly experienced team that specializes in creating high quality literacy products for schools and educators throughout the world. Its educational books are successful in all major English-speaking markets. The company is a recognized leader in creating innovative, exciting programs that both teachers and children enjoy using. A highly experienced team of teachers, educational writers, animators and web developers has developed the Reading Eggs program for the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC). The ABC Reading Eggs program focuses on a core-reading curriculum of skills and strategies essential for sustained reading success. It completely supports what children learn at school and will help to improve your child’s school results.

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Leslie Eicher

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