It Only Takes Five!

Reading five books during summer vacation can help stop “The Summer Slide”

Research proves summer learning loss happens, but there is also research that proves it can be prevented.

Istation took part in a recent “Summer Reading Summit” in Hillsborough County, Florida. Much of the discussion centered around keeping kids interested in reading when they aren’t being forced to read in school.


John Milburn, the Supervisor of Library and Media Services for kindergarten through 5th grade in Hillsborough County Public Schools, gave some good advice.

“I remind students that this is the time of year they finally get to read whatever they want to read. It’s all their choice,”  he said. 

Milburn quoted research conducted by Harvard, which shows reading just five books during the summer break can have a significant impact on keeping learning loss at bay. That means it only takes one book every couple of weeks to make a difference.

Like many schools and libraries across the country, Hillsborough County is using a hero theme for its summer reading programs. Milburn said he thinks allowing students to choose their books helps them stay enthused. He and his colleagues put together a list of suggested reading material for every grade in the district. Then they work with the public library system to ensure easy access to those free resources.







Tags: Stopping the Summer Slide

What a Day!

Sixty-three 2nd graders chose to visit Istation on a field trip!  

A big thank you to the 2nd grade from Dooley Elementary School in the Plano Independent School District. They chose Istation as the destination for an end-of-year field trip!

These students and their teachers visited our Dallas headquarters for a behind the scenes look at Istation. They learned about the importance of reading from Paige Turner and Justin Time. Istation's Chairman and CEO Richard H. Collins talked about perseverance, and President and COO Sandra Thomas talked about always doing our best. The rest of the team explained college is a necessity to have a fun career in educational technology.

We had a great time showing these students how Istation's lessons come to life through art and animation.

We heard that on the bus trip home some of them called it the "best field trip ever." Others said, "I want to work there when I grow up!" What a compliment! We would be honored to call them colleagues some day! We so enjoyed sharing part of our day with the students and teachers who are learning and growing with us. 


Tags: Inside Istation

Continue Learning All Summer Long!

Istation’s experts offer easy summer plans

Hello! Mike and Amanda here: we are your friendly, neighborhood implementation specialists at Istation. Are you ready for summer? We sure are! We just got back from San Francisco, where we picked up our first CODiEAward! You may have seen those pictures floating around. It’s okay to be jealous!


Did you know that if your school or district has Istation Home, your students can continue their individualized learning path in Istation over the summer? Istation is a great way to keep those young minds active throughout the summer. Now, we also understand that kids need to be outside experiencing the world, so we don’t want to take up all of their free time. Here is what a summer week with Istation may look like. Teachers, feel free to share this with parents. And parents, share this with your kids!

Monday: Work 30 minutes in their individualized instructional path (labeled “Reading with ISIP” in Istation Home). This will reinforce what they learned during the school year and help stave off the dreaded “summer learning loss.”

Tuesday: Older students (3rd – 8th grades) can work for about 30 minutes in Writing Rules! with Calvin Cool, where they will learn the importance of written communication and best practices in writing. Younger students (pre-K – 2nd grade) can read books in Istation. These are fun books with subject matter they have already encountered during their learning path, so they will be familiar with them.

Wednesday: Have fun outside! We think kids need to get out and experience the world.

Thursday: Free reading for 30 minutes! This can be reading a book in Istation or any other book that interests them!

Friday: Have fun with friends! This is where your kids get to just be kids. They can throw a football around, kick a soccer ball, or shoot some hoops. Maybe even go for a hike or a bike ride. They need to get out there and get smiling and laughing. We all need more of that!

Enjoy a couple more pictures from our San Francisco adventures here. And if you're planning your own summer getaway remember to be safe and take Istation along for the ride!


Tags: Istation Home, Stopping the Summer Slide

EdTech Works Podcast: Budding Broadcasters

Featuring Jessica Worley

Jessica Worley of Poteet ISD in Poteet, Texas, describes herself as an art education and broadcasting superstar—and we agree! Jessica teaches art and broadcasting and is also a technology campus leader at Poteet Junior High. She spoke with us at the Texas Computer Education Association Convention about using technology to create a morning newscast, which has inspired a love of writing, journalism, and broadcasting on her campus.

Follow Jessica Worley on Twitter: @edtechartist.


Check out past episodes of the EdTech Works Podcast!

Tags: Podcast, EdTech Works Podcast

Stop "The Summer Slide" With Istation!

Combat summer learning loss with continued usage of Istation Home.

Justin_TimeEver heard of “The Summer Slide?” Teachers certainly have. "The Summer Slide" is not a fast, exhilarating trip down an amusement park ride. It’s actually a frightening reality.

Most research says kids can lose one to three months of reading skills during summer break.  A few years ago, the National Summer Learning Association polled 500 teachers, and 66 percent of them reported that they spend the first three weeks of a school year reteaching what students forgot from the year before.

Istation believes a well-deserved break from school shouldn’t be a break from learning! So Justin Time and Paige Turner put together a short video about using Istation Home during the summer. Please share this video with students and their families! 

Watch Paige and Justin Now!

These printable letters for teachers and for parents explain how to access Istation at home.

We hope schools with subscriptions to Istation Home will encourage families to log in and keep learning all summer long!


Tags: Istation Home, Stopping the Summer Slide

Istation CEO is a Finalist for EY Entrepreneur of the Year® Regional Award!

Richard H. Collins Recognized as Outstanding Business Leader in the Southwest


We are proud to announce that Istation's Chairman and CEO, Richard H. Collins, is a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year® 2015 Award in the Southwest Region!

Collins wholeheartedly believes in the power of technology to transform the often change-averse world of education. He became a champion of ed tech before most people even knew the term! His desire to use technology to help teachers inspired him to become Istation's largest investor and one of its original founders in 1998 and later Chairman and CEO in 2007.

Collins' personal belief in equality for all students is Istation's core value.

"Students, regardless of where they go to school and regardless of their socioeconomic background, should have the same opportunity for success," Collins said.  "Istation fulfills my vision by providing educational technology that helps level the playing field and affords all students tools they need to be successful."

A panel of independent judges selected Collins as a finalist and the winners will be announced in June.

We congratulate our CEO, and we can say without question he deserves this accolade and many more! 



Tags: Technology, Inside Istation

Research from Istation’s VP of Curriculum Published in Peer-Reviewed Journal

Textbook readability study produces surprising results

Istation would like to congratulate Vice President of Curriculum and doctoral student Tracey Roden on her recent publication in a peer-reviewed journal!

Roden worked with a classmate and a professor to test the readability of social studies textbooks for students in grades 3 – 6. They found that all of the textbooks assessed were written above grade level.

Tracey.Roden-952535-editedTheir study was published in the April 2015 issue of the Journal of Teacher Action Research, a peer-reviewed online journal that allows teachers to share research about classroom practices.

“It’s exciting to see a project you put so much effort into being shared in a public way,” Roden said.

Before joining the Istation team, Roden spent 10 years as a classroom teacher. She said if she had read this type of research while she was still in the classroom, it would have made a difference. She offers current teachers some advice:

“I would be running more readability assessments on textbooks and content,” she said. “You’re trusting that it is written at the right level. But readability tests, which are now available online, give so much information.”

If teachers discover that their assigned textbooks are written above grade level, Roden suggests using other strategies to supplement instruction.

“This is really action research,” she said. “You can conduct your own research and use those findings to improve what’s happening in your classroom.”

Roden has almost finished her coursework and will soon begin working on her comprehensive exam and dissertation.

Tags: Teacher to Teacher, Inside Istation, Built By Teachers

EdTech Works Podcast: Learn to Tweet from a "Twitterer of the Year"!

Featuring Steven Anderson

Social media need not be scary! Steven Anderson is one of the foremost authorities on how schools, teachers, students, and parents can use social media. He has more than one hundred thousand followers on Twitter, so he knows what he’s talking about. He was a presenter at the Texas Computer Education Association Convention in Austin and joined us for this EdTech Works Podcast.

Follow Steven Anderson on Twitter: @web20classroom.

Read his blog at


Check out past episodes of the EdTech Works Podcast!

Tags: Podcast, EdTech Works Podcast

EdTech Works Podcast: Making Computer Science Cool!

Featuring Kim Garcia

Computer science can be cool! That’s the message Kim Garcia is trying to spread. Kim is the Educational Technology Coordinator for Georgetown ISD in Georgetown, Texas. She is a former computer science teacher hoping to spark a love of coding and technology in students, especially girls. In this EdTech Works Podcast, she shares how a slight change in perspective could lead to a giant wave of new engineers.

Follow Kim Garcia on Twitter: @DigitalLearners.

Check out past episodes of the EdTech Works Podcast!

Tags: Technology, Podcast, EdTech Works Podcast

Istation Named Best Educational App!

We won the 2015 SIIA CODiE Award for Best Educational App for a Mobile Device!

We are beaming with pride! Istation's Advanced Reading assessment (ISIP™) was named Best Educational App for a Mobile Device! Our Early Reading assessment and reading instruction were finalists in the same category.

The Software and Information Industry (SIIA) hands out the CODiEs to the most innovative and high-impact education products. We are honored to be named the best of the best!

The awards ceremony was in beautiful San Francisco. After Istation Implementation Specialists Mike Benson and Amanda Centorbi picked up our CODiE, they couldn't resist taking it on a little sight-seeing tour!

We are proud of this prestigious recognition. We are even more proud to be a partner with schools across the world and help millions of students learn and grow.


Tags: Technology, Awards, Inside Istation

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