On-line investment in literacy | VailDaily.com

On-line investment in literacy

Steven Sekelik

As Timberlyn placed the final red sticker on her Headsprout progress map, the excitement and sense of achievement I observed from her was a moment I will forever treasure.Shortly after, I proudly presented my daughter with a cool and colorful Head-sprout completion certificate, along with an invitation to a new and exciting world filled with imagination, adventure and knowledge, fueled by the ability to read!I’d like to share some information about a company called Headsprout (www.headsprout.com), as well as the experiences of educators and parents who have assisted their early learners’ efforts to learn how to read with confidence and excitement, using a computer-based program called Headsprout Early Reading.Headsprout (www.headsprout.com) is a provider of computer-based learning programs for reliably teaching fundamental academic skills. More specifically, Headsprout offers an affordable, scientifically-developed online reading program that effectively and reliably teaches 4- to 7-year-olds how to read. The Headsprout program is available to schools, as well as parents. Headsprout Early Reading consists of 80 online episodes. Each episode is about 20 minutes, and takes place in various themed worlds. For example, readers start their adventure visiting an outer-space world filled with engaging characters, music, and reading activities. Then they progress to a dinosaur land, as well as several other destinations throughout their learning adventure.While children navigate through these fun, interactive, animated lessons, Headsprout’s instructional technology adapts to the capabilities of each child.The program consists of several supplemental learning aids to complement the program, including printable stories, flash cards, a cool progress map where your child can put a sticker on it after completing each episode, as well as a completion certificate.In addition, the Headsprout support team is very responsive to any questions you may have in regards to the program.Headsprout at homeI’ve spoken to the parents of several children who have completed the Headsprout Early Reading program. Their feedback has been outstanding.”I have no doubt whatsoever that it is a direct result of Headsprout that my son is reading at a fourth grade level. He was not able to read at the beginning of summer, and he seemed to sky rocket into it,” says Kay Alinaof Dana Point, Calif.Parents can visit http://www.headsprout.com and try the first few episodes with their children for free. All you need is an Internet connection and 15-20 minutes. If you decide to continue the program, affordable payment options are available. Headsprout also has an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not fully satisfied with the program. At schoolHeadsprout has proven to be extremely effective, and numerous schools and school districts across the country have implemented Headsprout Early Reading into their curriculums.The Lake Washington School District in Redmond, Wash., selected Headsprout Early Reading for their primary and preschool students after an extensive competitive review process of leading reading products.”Headsprout’s research-based development, extensive imbedded assessment activities, and outstanding online activities for students won over LWSD teachers,” says Assistant Superintendent Chip Kimball.”Administrators love the reporting capabilities and assessment correlations for NCLB (No Child Left Behind) compliance, while parents love that students can use Headsprout from home. Students using Headsprout are engaged, are showing remarkable improvement, and love using the program,” says Kimball.SCORE! Education Centers, a leading supplemental education and learning company, offers the Headsprout Early Reading program at 143 SCORE! Advantage Program centers nationwide.Steve Johnson, SCORE! Education Centers vice president of education said that it is challenging to capture a young reader’s interest and that one of the benefits of the Headsprout program is that the children are engaged with it.English learnersHeadsprout Early Reading is also effective in teaching young children with limited English proficiency, or those who are learning English as a second language. “The bottom line, ELL kids can be taught to read. Without a proven, research-based approach though, the impact will be even more hit and miss than with typical kids,” says Headsprout President and CEO Greg Stikeleather.A dad is soldBy giving Headsprout Early Reading a shot, you are taking the first step to ensure your young child’s future academic and reading success, while providing them with a fun learning activity at the same time. It’s among the best investments I’ve made for my child’s future.Steven Sekelik is a staff writer at the Eagle Valley Enterprise.Vail, Colorado

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