All NC K-3 Classrooms Get iPads to Support Literacy Instruction

Raleigh, NC

As part of the state’s Read to Achieve program, State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced today that the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has provided new Apple iPads for every public school K-3 reading teacher in the state to support K-3 literacy. The iPads, which were purchased in June and delivered in time for school districts and charter schools to distribute to early-grades reading teachers before the start of the school year, will help teachers monitor students’ reading growth and identify where students need help. Each classroom will also receive a new set of books for students.

“The General Assembly began Read to Achieve because there is bipartisan consensus that early childhood literacy is a key metric for a student’s future success,” said Johnson. “Having more of these tools in each classroom will reduce burdens on teachers, giving them more time to focus on instruction.”

Through a selection of early-literacy applications, teachers can track students’ progress without keeping volumes of papers, charts, and binders. Instead, the device helps monitor progress through both teacher-led and student-led activities that gauge their progress. These applications have been used to track student reading progress for several years, and Johnson is currently evaluating applications to continue improving early literacy programs for teachers and students.

Based on valuable feedback from teachers that Johnson gathered last school year, DPI has changed some recommendations to reduce the time teachers must spend assessing and testing students. New recommendations for the mCLASS reading diagnostic tool will be sent out to teachers this month and will help reduce the amount of time students and teachers spend on assessments.

Local school leaders are grateful to receive the new devices from the state.

“More iPads will allow us to provide more effective small-group literacy instruction in our K-3 classrooms,” said Harnett County Schools Superintendent Aaron Fleming. “These devices will allow us to further personalize learning for our students.”

Johnson announced the iPad purchase at the Council of State meeting Tuesday, and will appear in Salisbury on Wednesday with Lynn Moody, superintendent of the Rowan-Salisbury School System, and Apple Distinguished Educator Katie Gardner. 

For many educators, the new iPad will mean having more than one device in the classroom. That possibility has teachers such as Gardner, who says that iPads “inspire me to find my voice and choice with creative application of ways to reach and inspire my students,” excited to start the school year.

“My Apple iPad ignites my creativity in developing engaging language arts and literacy lessons,” said Gardner, a kindergarten teacher in Rowan-Salisbury Schools. “The iPad supports my innovation in creating personalized and relevant tasks for my students to acquire and grow in literacy.”

The Read to Achieve program has been around since 2012, although its funding has never been more-fully utilized as it was this past fiscal year.

“When I entered office, my team found that funds allocated to support K-3 reading teachers and students were in danger of being lost rather than going to classrooms across North Carolina,” said Johnson. “Fortunately, we caught this error and, working closely with the General Assembly, were able to use a portion of these funds to provide iPads to all K-3 reading teachers across North Carolina.”

Almost all of North Carolina’s school districts and charter schools use iPads to run the web-based mCLASS reading diagnostic assessment. For the few that do not support them, DPI is providing alternative devices using additional Read to Achieve funds.

The $6 million for iPads to classrooms follows on the $200 per K-3 reading teacher to purchase literacy materials that Johnson announced in March. Delivering more personalized learning for students is one of Johnson’s priorities, as is early childhood literacy, reducing testing, and giving teachers back more instructional time. 


About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

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