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Pearson Collaborates With Saddleback Educational Publishing to Close Gap in Adolescent Literacy

By Abi Mandelbaum
October 22nd, 2014

Saddleback’s Collection of Books on Contemporary Topics That Engage Struggling Readers Now Available on iLit Reading Intervention Program

NEW YORK – Oct. 22, 2014 — Research shows that when students who don’t read at the appropriate grade level reach high school, they are at high risk of dropping out. As part of its continued commitment to closing the gap in adolescent literacy, Pearson today announced that iLit, the company’s tablet-based reading intervention program for grades 4-10, will now feature titles from Saddleback Educational Publishing. These compelling fiction and nonfiction books are on topics that are relevant and engaging for today’s teens, but written at lower reading levels.

“One of the key factors in helping struggling teen readers make rapid gains in their literacy levels is motivating and engaging them. One of the best ways to do that is to provide a wide choice of texts that interest them. The titles in Saddleback Educational Publishing’s library are about things that today’s students really care about and can relate to,” said Doug McCollum, Pearson senior vice president and general manager for Accelerated Performance Solutions. “With this collection now part of iLit, our reading intervention program becomes an even more powerful tool for achieving the critical goal of closing the adolescent literacy gap and ensuring that all students are on the path for success in college and career.”

iLit, a comprehensive reading program for struggling readers, is designed to meet the national crisis of students who simply cannot read at the appropriate grade level and who, by the time they reach high school, are dropping out, checking out or acting out. iLit is the first complete instructional solution built to leverage the capabilities of all types of tablets (iOS, Android, Windows 8) and laptops or desktops through a browser. It offers students personalized learning support, based on their own instructional needs, with engaging interactivities and built-in reward systems that motivate and track progress. In an iLit classroom, each day begins with the students reading a self-selected title from the thoughtfully curated leveled library, now including Saddleback titles, which are highly regarded by educators around the country who work with struggling readers.

Commenting on the addition of Saddleback Educational Publishing high-interest, low-level texts, Kelly L. Dearmond, a ninth-grade, special-education teacher using iLit with her students at Southern High School in Louisville, Kentucky, said, “The first thing I noticed about this collection was that there wasn’t one book that would not fit at least one of my students’ interests or needs. However, my favorite thing about this collection is that I knew I would feel comfortable suggesting any of these books to my students without overwhelming them and causing them to shut down.”

“Saddleback’s mission is to get kids excited about reading. We believe that by challenging young readers with rigorous, complex themes at accessible reading levels, they will become better readers,” said Arianne McHugh, publisher and president. “We are thrilled to collaborate with Pearson on iLit, a revolutionary digital intervention program. Saddleback and iLit are the perfect marriage of intervention delivery and content that’s both engaging and age-respectful. Together, we can change lives and help kids raise their achievement levels, while exposing them to incredible content in a way that will engage.”

Elizabeth Marcell, Ed.D., former executive director of intervention services for ReNEW Schools in New Orleans, said, “Saddleback Press’s high-interest, low-level texts fly off of classroom bookshelves. Students consistently ask to take the books home and are eager to pick up another book as soon as they have finished a previous one.”

The developers of iLit recognize that reading comprehension cannot be measured only by multiple-choice tests. Students also must be able to summarize a text’s key points and find evidence in text to support their position. By leveraging Pearson’s award-winning, proprietary technology learning solutions, iLit provides students with real-time feedback and coaching on summary writing, paragraph writing and formal essays. Scaffolded hints and personalized feedback allow the students to write and rewrite independently, practicing skills in a safe, engaging environment before submitting for grading. It is the only reading intervention program with technology-based writing coaching.

iLit was designed based on the proven instructional model found in the Ramp-Up Literacy program, which demonstrated student gains of two years of reading growth in a single year. For more information about iLit, visit http://www.redefiningliteracy.com.

About Pearson
As part of its overall commitment to literacy, Pearson recently launched Project Literacy, a major campaign dedicated to working in partnership with peers and communities to build a more literate world. Visit http://www.projectliteracy.com.

Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries working to help people of all ages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning. For more information about Pearson, visit http://www.pearson.com.

About the Author:

Abi Mandelbaum

Abi Mandelbaum is CEO of YouVisit.