New online service applies the ‘Netflix’ model to literacy


Students can monitor their own reading growth in myON, and educators can view and download reports.


Anyone who’s familiar with Netflix knows the online video streaming and rental service lets users rate the movies they watch, as well as their level of interest in various genres, and then delivers personalized recommendations based on this information.

Now, Capstone Digital—a division of Capstone Publishing—has launched a new online service that aims to do for literacy what Netflix has done for consumer entertainment, with the hope that this approach might spark students’ interest in reading.

The myON reader system is a personalized digital reading environment that functions like Netflix’s “Suggested For You” section. After screening the abilities and interests of K-8 students, myON suggests titles based on the students’ Lexile levels and the topics that most appeal to them—and this process is further refined each time a student rates a text he or she has read.

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“We actually have students take an interest inventory, similar to if you were going on to an eHarmony or a Netflix and saying, ‘I’m looking for a match,’” said Todd Brekhus, president of Capstone Digital.

The books that myON suggests, which also include audio that can be turned on or off as desired, are 50 Lexiles below to 100 Lexiles above students’ reading levels.

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