The International Reading Association’s (IRA) annual conference has begun with an exciting focus on 21st-century literacy. At an awards ceremony last night, elementary school teacher Janice Gowdy was honored as the 2014 “Literacy Legend”. The national contest, sponsored by myON and IRA, was created to honor educators that are promoting literacy in their classrooms, schools and beyond.

Independent judges were asked to review submissions based on a number of criteria, including how these educators are impacting and furthering literacy in their classroom, school and community as a whole; the uniqueness of their literacy initiatives; and the results and achievement their students have realized. The quality of the entries was overwhelming, making the judging process that much more difficult.

2014 “Legends in Literacy” winner:

• Janice Gowdy, reading teacher at West Stafford Elementary School (Stafford, Conn.) – Through Gowdy’s student-run bookstore, more than 20,000 books have been put in the hands of West Stafford students. In collaboration with West Stafford’s librarian and a reading colleague, Gowdy also began a program to promote reading at home called “HurRAH”. In 2011-2012, she was one of three to receive the Connecticut Reading Association’s Outstanding Reading Educator award.

This award was borne out of myON’s strategic alliance with the International Reading Association. Winners were announced at the “Legends in Literacy” reception held Friday May 9th, as part of the conference kick-off.

“We’re thrilled to honor Janice for her efforts to encourage children to read. We would also like to recognize the many other educators that submitted for the contest. They are invaluable in fostering a national community of readers and learners,” said Todd Brekhus, president of myON. “Janice is an outstanding leader and we were impressed by her creativity and dedication to making reading fun. She truly is a Legend in Literacy.”

“We loved hearing the stories of educators nationwide who are doing their part to get kids reading, and we look forward to honoring more Legends in Literacy for years to come,” said Brekhus.

For more information, visit

About myON™
myON, a business unit of Capstone, develops personalized learning environments for students. myON provides access to the largest library of enhanced digital books with multimedia scaffolds to support student reading at all levels. In turn, myON empowers teachers with real-time, actionable data—number and type of books opened and read, time spent reading, results of regular benchmark assessments, and more—based on embedded Lexile assessments that measure student reading growth. With myON, every student can have access to more than 7,000 diverse titles, which allows students to take ownership of their reading interests and literacy growth.

For more information, please visit

About Legends in Literacy
The Legends in Literacy program recognizes individual and/or team achievements in the advancement of literacy initiatives in schools, districts, and communities.

Winners are selected for their work and commitment to literacy by demonstrating leadership in reading improvement, providing ideas for implementations and best practices, involving the community and encouraging widespread reading within the school and community.

For more information, visit

About the Author:

Andrea Jones

Andrea Jones is a technology specialist in Virginia. A former French teacher, she currently supports technology integration in a middle school.