Detroit Public Schools Community District, Michigan

The Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School (FLICS) is located on the west side of Detroit. It is one of the only public immersion programs in the state of Michigan, and one of the few in the country, that offer Pre-K through 8th grade students the option of partial instruction in four languages: French, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.

Educators have been relying on myON for several years to help students gain proficiency in English Language Arts as they are learning their chosen world language. myON is such an important resource that it is written into the Title I school’s improvement plan and is an integral part of the Summer Learning Plan.  

“Since our kids also receive world language instruction, they are getting less direct instruction in English Language Arts and math than they would in any other school,” Principal Todd Losié explained. For example, K-3 students receive 40 to 50 percent of their instruction in their world language. As students advance through the grades, that percentage is reduced but not below a minimum of 120 minutes per day. 

“myON has provided a wealth of options for students across all curricular subjects,” Losié added. Social studies, science and world language teachers are encouraged to integrate texts that fit their curricula. 

“I have noticed that kids are becoming more digital especially when it comes to reading and books. I wanted to find ways that were digital to integrate into the school culture so that reading could be easier for them and meet their individual needs.” 

The digital nature of myON is an important consideration. “I have noticed that kids are becoming more digital especially when it comes to reading and books,” Losié said. “I wanted to find ways that were digital to integrate into the school culture so that reading could be easier for them and meet their individual needs.” 

myON also mirrors current trends in language acquisition theory.  The optional audio supports, which allow students to hear the pronunciation, grammar and proper use of vocabulary in context — along with text highlighting synched with the audio — greatly assist in the acquisition of reading and language, particularly for younger students.     

Students are required to follow a Summer Reading Plan set up by their teachers, which is based upon reading with myON. “I don’t send home a packet … how do you track that?” Losié asked. “In August or September, I want a teacher to be able to see what a child has done digitally and to meet that child’s needs wherever he or she is.” 

Families are an integral part of the learning equation at FLICS. Staff show parents how to use the free apps to help their children log in, find and read books on the platform. Losié encourages them to use what he calls “all of those little moments that can be captured for reading time” whenever their children are out of school, including wait-time at the doctor’s office or while they are sitting in a shopping cart at the grocery store. 

This shared commitment on the part of staff and families has yielded the intended results when it comes to student engagement and reading assessment results. This school year alone, 74 percent of time spent reading by students has been logged outside of school time. 

“There has definitely been a trend of reading improvement over the years and I do attribute that to myON, getting kids to read more,” Losié said.