In Hillsborough County, more than 250 schools are now using Beanstack, a district-wide tool that will help motivate students to read more using digital reading challenges and a platform built on proven gamification principles.
Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) needed a program to foster a long-term love of reading and support its students’ academic growth. Beanstack’s unique approach enables schools to create a community of avid readers.
Kim DeFusco, supervisor of Library Media Services 6-12 at HCPS, shared that it anticipates “a positive shift in our students’ relationship to reading while saving our librarians and teachers time in managing their classroom libraries.”
Felix Lloyd, CEO and co-founder of Beanstack, said, “My wife and I originally pitched our business idea on the ABC television show Shark Tank in 2014, gaining investment from Mark Cuban. Beanstack started as a book-of-the-month business focusing on nontraditional genres and interests. Not long after, it evolved to curate children’s books and deliver personalized recommendations to community members. And later, a partner library used Beanstack as a platform for an innovative summer reading challenge. Since then, we’ve been focused on empowering libraries and schools to build a culture of reading through reading challenges and motivation tools for readers of all ages.”
HCPS went to the Lloyds when it was looking for a district-wide tool that would streamline how media specialists and teachers collaborate and manage classroom libraries.
“We inspire a love of reading in students by pairing our unique community reading challenge approach with the same gamification principles of motivation apps like Fitbit and learning apps like Duolingo, rewarding students with digital badges, encouraging daily reading with streaks and inspiring positive competition with friends,” Felix said.
Beanstack has received a lot of positive feedback from HCPS.
“Reading frequency, and specifically increasing how many minutes per day each student reads independently, is something we’re very passionate about,” Felix said. “It’s something teachers, librarians and families are also passionate about. We’ve received accolades for how the gamification we’ve built into Beanstack intrinsically motivates students to read more. For instance, we recently learned about a student who was not an avid reader but noticed classmates receiving recognition and rewards for participating in a Beanstack reading challenge. Soon after, he was reading every day to achieve digital badges, rewards and to maintain his reading streak.”
The Lloyds look forward to Beanstack helping to improve many local students’ reading.
“My hope is that every student has access to the academic benefits of independent reading,” Felix said. “We know these benefits are unevenly distributed, and students are reading less today than in the past. Beanstack’s equitable approach to reading provides differentiated opportunities to every student, from struggling and reluctant readers to reading superstars.”
If you’d like to learn more about Beanstack, you can visit its website at www.beanstack.com.