By Sarah D. Sparks
In Oxnard, Calif., where nearly every child in the 17,000-student school district comes from a poor family, lack of ready access to books and other reading materials has been a huge barrier to developing strong literacy skills. That’s why Superintendent César Morales has leveraged the district’s 1-to-1 tablet initiative as a starting point for a massive bilingual-literacy initiative, to develop a deep love of reading in English and Spanish among his students and their families. Last year, Oxnard’s K-8 students collectively read more than 1 million books through the district’s reading program and showed growth on statewide reading tests. Under Morales, the district has invested in campus and community infrastructure to support the push for literacy—amassing an electronic lending library of tens of thousands of English-language and Spanish-language books.
“You go through the enthusiasm of a [1-to-1 program] and then you have the ‘now what?’ moment,” Morales says. “Given our demographics, developing literacy skills in English and Spanish is incredibly important, promoting the frequency of families reading is incredibly important. We wanted the technology to support that above all.”