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Georgia Middle Schoolers Improve Reading Comprehension and Writing Skills with Pearson’s WriteToLearn

Atlanta, Georgia — May 17, 2010 —

“WriteToLearn is great for our school because it engages students through the use of technology into a process that we want them involved with: writing, editing, writing, editing, revising on their own and thinking through their writing process. We’re seeing an excitement and a willingness to engage in the writing process that, frankly, I don’t know that we’d see given a traditional setting,” said Dr. Adrian Thomason, Principal of Dean Rusk Middle School in Cherokee County Georgia.

Dean Rusk’s middle school students are using WriteToLearn™, an online instructional and assessment tool from the education services and technology company Pearson, to build their reading comprehension and writing skills, as seen in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9uQS7ba84M.

With WriteToLearn, Georgia middle schoolers are actually enjoying themselves as they practice essay writing and summarization skills on classroom computers.  “I like WriteToLearn because it helped me immensely with writing my essays and improving my writing skills. I really think WriteToLearn is super cool because it helps us improve our grades and helps us feel more confident. We’re not afraid of bad grammar or bad spelling because we have chances to fix and improve on those things. We get critical feedback so we can improve our writing in the future,” said seventh-grader Kate Mann.

To measure students’ efforts, WriteToLearn uses the state-of-the-art Knowledge Analysis Technologies™ (KAT) engine, an automated assessment technology that evaluates the meaning of text, not just grammatical correctness or spelling. With the click of a button, students receive personalized, non-judgmental feedback along with suggestions for improvement. Mann’s classmate Angelo Nikas added, “It’s great software. It helps kids learn how to write, and it tells you what you’re doing wrong; what you need to improve.”

Jeff Pence, a language arts teacher at Dean Rusk, says the classroom-based program enables him to spend more time on the activities that matter most, “By allowing WriteToLearn to be my assessment tool, I get to teach writing. So, instead of constantly grading papers, looking for commas and periods and checking content, I get to teach writing.”

He believes that WriteToLearn helps students of all ability levels from the gifted student to the student with special needs. For struggling readers and English language learners, students can access a read-aloud dictionary and spot word translation tool to aid in their comprehension.

“Writing is like riding a bicycle. The only way to get better is to do it. And, WriteToLearn gives the opportunity for my students to write more,” said Pence. In fact, his five classes have completed more than 23,000 summary and essay writing assignments with WriteToLearn, far more than they would have been able to complete without the technology.

Unique to WriteToLearn’s design is the combination of a summary writing component to increase reading comprehension skills and an essay writing component with prompts to strengthen writing skills. Dean Rusk’s Stephanie Allen, a seventh-grade life sciences and social studies teacher, said that WriteToLearn has enabled her to do more writing in the classroom, helping her students understand their science and social studies lessons more fully and promoting writing across the curriculum.

Allen also said, “WriteToLearn is making me a better teacher. It gives me more opportunity to do cross curricular work with my colleagues. That’s really what the middle school philosophy is all about.”

More information about WriteToLearn is available at www.School.WriteToLearn.net.

About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information about the Assessment and Information Group of Pearson, visit http://www.pearsonassessments.com/.

For more information, press only:

Adam Gaber, Pearson, 800-745-8489
Stacy Skelly, Pearson, 800-745-8489