iREAD is a group of teachers in Escondido Union School District dedicated to the idea that mobile devices can be powerful learning tools for all students. iREAD gives teachers a chance to create meaningful, curriculum-centered projects with their students. iREAD classrooms are using digital tools (iPods, iPads, and various creative mobile apps) to improve skills, engage in strategies problem solving, and increase digital literacy.

iREAD is not a program that you can install or purchase.

iREAD has been recognized by the California School Boards Association as well as multiple times by the Classroom of the Future Foundation and Apple.


  • Escondido USD Teachers apply to be part of the iREAD Community (usually in June - funding determines how many we can accept).

  • If accepted, they have an initial philosophy/training meeting and then meet on a monthly basis for training and to exchange ideas and strategies. All meetings are after school and unpaid. Most meetings are Friday, 3:30-5:30.

  • In order to complete a year in iREAD, teachers have certain requirements (attend meetings, participate, and complete projects). If successful, teachers could continue to use the small set iPods they have even if they did not attend in future years. Teachers who successfully complete a year and wish to continue in the iREAD PLC then receive a 1:1 setup.

  • For the first 6 years or so, teachers had 3 projects to complete - all focused on Reading. For example, in 2009-10, Project 1 used Keynote to record audio and Project 2 & 3 used the iPod touch to record audio. Teachers posted their ideas for their proposed projects in Edmodo. They also posted a reflection on how the project worked and a student sample. In the past, most our discussions were on public blogs. Next we moved to Edmodo - we modeled how this tool could be used for protected discussions with students. We also select some content to add to our public Edmodo feed.

  • Starting in 2011-12, we added a select group of iREAD Mentors for each grade level, K-8. Mentors we selected from our exemplary iREAD teachers. They modeled, guided, and supported iPod and iPad content integration for their grade level(s).

  • In 2012-13, we started using My Big Campus as a replacement to Edmodo.

  • In 2013-14, we switched completely to using My Big Campus. No more projects were required - instead requirements were focussed on attendance, communicating, and collaborating using My Big Campus.)

Reading Fluency and Comprehension

Our gains in reading fluency were initially based on students recording themselves reading and then listening to those readings (to do this, we needed to buy mics for early iPod models - starting with 4G iPods, mics and video cameras were now included). They recorded themselves reading stories or passages and see how they sounded when they read - many of our students had no idea what they sounded like and, with getting that immediate feedback, they wanted to be able to re-record for improvement.

In some classrooms, students analyzed the reading by having a printed copy of what they are reading and then recorded (wrote) notes on how well they read on the printed copy of the story. Our teachers used reading textbooks passages and also have their own resources. Two additional resources for fluency passages are and Lit2Go.

Since starting our project with the iPod classic a few years back, the iPod touch has come upon the scene and now there are many more apps that integrate voice recordings. These apps allow students to create a variety of reading related projects. Students were then focusing on both fluency and reading comprehension (our district goal). These newer applications allow students to make slideshows and other media presentations, which teachers have adapted to have students use for reading-comprehension-based projects (sample).

iPod Apps

As we moved to the iPod touch devices, we discovered many more uses for for these devices. While we focus on reading skills with some key creative apps, such as Voice Recorder, iTalk, SpeakEasy, SonicPics, ReelDirector, etc.), creative teachers found many other ways to stretch student minds and skills, including blogging about literature and utilization of many skill practice apps.

*At this time, due to Apple's change in policy for purchasing Apps for Education, we will only be recommending apps that are FREE. If you would like to learn more about Apple's Volume Purchase Program, please click here.

Technology category

Los Angeles Unified School District


Escondido Union School District





  • iREAD!, Computer Using Educators 2008 Conference, Palm Springs, CA

  • iREAD! Improving Reading Fluency and Comprehension with iPod and Garageband, San Diego Computer Using Educators Tech Fair, Nov 7, 2007, San Diego, CA.

  • Using Mobile Technology to Support English Use and Development, Achievement Gap Task Force (Superintendents' & Principals' Forum), February 9, 2011


The videos above were created in starting 2008-9, when we moved from the iPod Nano to the iPod Touch.

  • 2005-06 - started with a small pilot of English Language Development teachers using iPod Classics (which wasn't called a Classic then). We used Garageband and iPods and collected data about fluency rates. We tested out different kinds of supplementary equipment. Because everyone was so busy, the the common time we could meet was monthly on Fridays 3:30-5:30pm. 6 teachers.

  • 2007-08 - Following our Project LIVE staff development model, we opened iREAD to a broader group of teachers - they applied to be a part of iREAD using SurveyMonkey. We started using the iPod Nano. We gave teachers the equipment to use for as long as they were in the district, as long and they successfully completed one year of voluntary staff development and projects. 16 teachers.

  • 2008-09 - we broadened the focus of iREAD from Reading Fluency to Language Arts, especially Reading Comprehension. In addition, we moved from the iPod Nano to the iPod Touch. Projects types are broader and also include GarageBand and Keynote. Teachers upload sample projects to their blogs. We are excited about the changes we are making. We also piloted a 1:1 classroom and midway through the year added a second 1:1 classroom.

  • 2009-10 - we added multiple 1:1 classrooms representing various populations and configurations to examine and compare strategies

  • 2010-11 - we have vastly increased the number of 1:1 classrooms. We continue to fund 1:5 classrooms as well. We have also added 3 Special Education and 1 Speech class. Schools are starting to fund their own iREAD teachers, requiring them to participate in the iREAD staff development. Including site funded, we are up to 78 classrooms in iREAD.

  • 2011-12 - supported by additional funding from community donors, we added 45 new iREAD 1:5 classrooms. We started collaborating more with our special education department and using iPads in our programs for students with Autism. Schools continued to fund programs of their own. Participation grew to 125 district-funded iREAD teachers (as well as additional site-funded iREAD teachers). Through re-allocation of 2nd generation iPod Touch devices, all of our veteran iREAD teachers became 1:1 with a cart. They worked in grade-level teams, facilitated by lead teachers known as "mentors." We began utilizing NWEA M.A.P. testing for most of our assessment. Structural meeting changes included a 2-day, 12-hour Kickoff training, use of mentor teachers at all meetings, and two thirty-minute "Taste of Tech" classes offered at most meetings.

  • 2012-13 - we added 35 new iREAD 1:5 classrooms - one-third were funded by Technology & Media Services, one-third were funded by Special Education, and one-third were funded by school sites. With the number of participating classrooms exceeding 150, we increased the use of iREAD mentor teachers. We also restructured our assessment component to use the Data Teams for Results approach emphasizing common formative assessments, with summative assessment extracted from NWEA M.A.P. results. By utilizing gift funds from community members and obtaining additional devices from other district departments, veteran self-contained class participants were all equipped with 1:1 setups. We piloted one 1:1 iPad kindergarten class and one 1:1 iPad mini class.

  • 2013-14 - added 32 new iREAD 1:5 classrooms. We are piloting use of 1:1 iPad Minis with 17 of our iREAD teachers with at least 3 years experience. Half of these are iREAD Mentors and the half are innovative and active participants. These iPad pilot teachers do not have carts. We have a total of 145 iREAD classrooms. All except new iREAD teachers are 1:1. Most have iPods. This year we have moved into full implementation of My Big Campus (MBC) for our learning community. Instead of required projects, iREAD teachers are focussing on communicating and collaborating in MBC.

  • 2014-15 - There are 185 iREAD (new and veteran) iREAD teachers this year. 27 of those are Special Ed teachers, 20 are TOSAs, plus 1 assistant principal. 51 of the iREAD classrooms are site funded. We added 55 new iREAD 1:5 classrooms. iPad Minis very successful in 1314, so new teachers receive iPad Minis rather than iPods. Started transitioning to use of iPad Minis for veteran iREAD teachers. Most veteran teacher still have iPods, but every veteran received 6 or 8 (~1:5) iPad Minis to help with the transition. 25 veterans had their 1:1 iPods replaced with 1:1 iPads. With this transition, we stopped buying carts, providing instead charging strips. My Big Campus (MBC) continued as our learning community, until the end of the year when the company announced that they would no longer support MBC.

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