When reading-intervention special educator Kristen Greco spotted a contest on WeAreTeachers to win a subscription to WriteToLearn®, Pearson’s award-winning web-based literacy tool, she knew she had to enter. With many of her sixth- through eighth-grade students at Equality Charter School in the Bronx, N.Y., grappling with basic literacy skills, she was eager to get them the help they need for success in school and beyond.
Greco was named the winner of the WriteToLearn and WeAreTeachers Sponsorship Award and will receive a $1,200 prize package, consisting of a one-year subscription of 30 licenses to WriteToLearn, plus training.
“I am thrilled to win the WeAreTeachers-WriteToLearn Sponsorship Award,” said Greco. “I was looking for a way to help my students who struggle the most – some who have reading and writing skills at the first-grade level – and WriteToLearn is a great solution.”
With WriteToLearn, students practice essay writing and summarization skills, and their efforts are measured by Pearson’s state-of-the-art Knowledge Analysis Technologies™ (KAT) engine. The KAT Engine is a unique automated assessment technology that evaluates the meaning of text, not just grammatical correctness or spelling. WriteToLearn provides feedback on six traits of writing – ideas, organization, conventions, sentence fluency, word choice and voice – and allows students and teachers to focus on each of these important dimensions of writing.
“Innovative educators just like Kristen are making a difference every day in schools across the country. We congratulate her on this well-deserved award and are eager to see the progress she makes with her students in improving writing and reading-comprehension skills with WriteToLearn,” said Lynn Streeter, president of the Knowledge Technologies business of Pearson and developer of WriteToLearn.
Poised to begin implementation in early January 2012, Greco plans to use WriteToLearn with the 17 students in her reading-intervention class, focusing on improving achievement in writing. She will use the remaining licenses for students in her other classes who need help to gain both reading and writing proficiency, offering sessions on WriteToLearn during her lunch period.
Now in its third year, Equality Charter School serves approximately 200 students in grades 6-12, 90 percent of whom are from an ethnic minority group and 90 percent qualifying for free or reduced lunch. WriteToLearn will be used to support Equality’s goal of 90 percent of its students reading at or above grade level.
After completing the WriteToLearn training, which Greco described as “very easy to understand,” she is looking forward to all the features the literacy tool has to offer. “My students will love it. The instant feedback is fantastic, and it’s just between the student and the computer. Kids who wouldn’t raise their hand in class don’t have to fear embarrassment. WriteToLearn will give them an opportunity to build their skills and feel successful,” she said.
Greco has found that writing – whether it’s a creative composition or a book report – is a difficult, daunting subject for many students. “I want to use WriteToLearn to help my students move beyond writing a topic sentence and to make writing more interesting and comfortable for them, as well as to help me in teaching it,” she said.
More information about WeAreTeachers is available at weareteachers.com. Further information on WriteToLearn can be found at writetolearn.net.
WeAreTeachers (www.WeAreTeachers.com) provides a powerful online community for teachers, combining the expertise of their member community, the resources and knowledge base of their partners and the momentum of social media to recognize and reward innovative teaching ideas. With thousands of teaching ideas submitted for cash and prizes, WeAreTeachers offers a unique forum for innovation and collaboration.
Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, has global reach and market-leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing (NYSE: PSO). For more information about the Assessment & Information Group of Pearson, visit www.pearsonassessments.com.
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Adam Gaber, Pearson, (800) 745-8489 / email@example.com / @Apgaber (twitter)