Standards: 1.1.2 Use prior and background knowledge as context for new learning. 1.1.3 Develop and refine a range of questions to frame the search for new understanding. (VoiceThread)1.1.5 Evaluate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context. 1.1.6 Read, view, and listen for information presented in any format (e.g., textual, visual, media, digital) in order to make inferences and gather meaning. 1.1.8 Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry. 1.1.9 Collaborate with others to broaden and deepen understanding. 1.2.2 Demonstrate confidence and self- direction by making independent choices in the selection of resources and information. 1.2.3 Demonstrate creativity by using multiple resources and formats. 1.3.1 Respect copyright/ intellectual property rights of creators and producers. 1.3.3 Follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information.1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within the learning community. 1.3.5 Use information technology responsibly. 1.4.1 Monitor own information-seeking processes for effectiveness and progress, and adapt as necessary. 1.4.3 Monitor gathered information, and assess for gaps or weaknesses. 2.1.1 Continue an inquiry- based research process by applying critical- thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, evaluation, organization) to information and knowledge in order to construct new understandings, draw conclusions, and create new knowledge. 2.1.2 Organize knowledge so that it is useful. 2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information. 2.1.6 Use the writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings. 3.1.1 Conclude an inquiry- based research process by sharing new understandings and reflecting on the learning. 3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners. 3.1.3 Use writing and speaking skills to communicate new understandings effectively. 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess. 3.1.6 Use information and technology ethically and responsibly. 3.2.1 Demonstrate leadership and confidence by presenting ideas to others in both formal and informal situations. 3.2.2 Show social responsibility by participating actively with others in learning situations and by contributing questions and ideas during group discussions. 3.3.5 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within and beyond the learning community. 4.1.1 Read, view, and listen for pleasure and personal growth. 4.1.3 Respond to literature and creative expressions of ideas in various formats and genres. 4.1.7 Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information. 4.1.8 Use creative and artistic formats to express personal learning. 4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person. 4.3.4 Practice safe and ethical behaviors in personal electronic communication and interaction. 4.4.1 Identify own areas of interest. 4.4.6 Evaluate own ability to select resources that are engaging and appropriate for personal interests and needs.
Most students today do not know of a time without digital technology. “Because today’s media centric students have adopted digital as their native form of communication, teachers are having increasingly difficult time motivating reluctant readers to read and write.” (Kenny, 187) Students no longer think and learn the way they used to. Teachers need to be able to continue to communicate with students using the tools students are used to using. Students are used to having a lot of visuals through television, playing video games, browsing the internet. So, why not use similar tools when teaching.
Every student needs to be looked at individually to see why they are reluctant to read. Some may struggle with the words but others may be reluctant to read because the text they are reading doesn’t interest them. (Oakley, 248) We, as educators, need to step it up and find ways to engage readers who find reading boring.
Aliteracy means that students are able to read but they choose to not read. “Students are reluctant to read anything new, anything longer than a short story or article, and especially anything that does not immediately connect with their specific areas of interest. (Brinda, 9)
Most schools are forced to “teach to the test” in order for students to pass their state mandated assessments. Students are not allowed to choose what they want to read and are forced to read books that are boring to them. This doesn’t mean that students should only have to read text that interests them but they should be able to have a choice in what they read when choosing to read for fun.
Using the right tools, students can become more engaged when using technology along side reading. Today’s students are writing more on blogs, social networks, and online forums. Many books now include Web sites that students can visit for games and other interactive activities that stay within the theme of the book.
Today’s students have knowledge and strength in using digital tools whereas their text-base learning can sometimes be difficult and may squelch any motivation students have when it comes to reading. One suggestion that Gunter & Kenny write about in their article is to use digital booktalks when trying to find a book that a student might enjoy. They say that digital booktalks are a time saver for teachers or librarians and they are good for grabbing the attention of students. Digital booktalks are similar to watching a movie trailer or movie reviews that are often shown before the movie you paid to see as an advertisement to come back to the theater to watch the next movie.
Let’s take it one step further. Let the students write about or digitally create a book (of their choice) using their own words and creativity. Students could use Web tools they are most comfortable with to create something that can be assessed by the teacher. Students are usually comfortable learning to use technology that is new to them too.
Wordle is a great Web tool to use in analyzing literature. (Foote) I created this example after reading Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I created the title and author’s name in the biggest font size, then the protagonist in the next biggest font size, then secondary characters just slightly smaller, then key words, that were pertinent to the story, in the smallest size. Students could brainstorm for key words then choose the layout and color scheme of their choice.
Let students create a digital poster of a book that includes a synapsis in their own words, copyright free images, book reviews from reliable sources with links to the Site, information about the author again with links to the Site, and a link to a virtual book discussion. Brenda’s Blog article on Glogsterportays it as a tool that requires “them to merge the left and right sides of the brain as they seek to communicate and evaluate both information and meaning.” (Brenda)
Presentation tools such as Prezi or SlideShare are great ways for telling a more extensive synapsis of a book. According to Bridget Mann, “Prezi’s capacity to zoom in on words, pictures, and videos improve the chances of a student remembering new words, thus increasing their vocabulary, thus making them a better reader over all!” SlideShare is similar to Microsoft PowerPoint.
Creating a speaking avatar is a great motivator for enticing students to read. They can then create an avatar to tell about a book orally. This would be a good tool for reluctant readers who struggle with reading and writing.
As Gunter & Kenny suggested earlier, watching book trailers is a good way for students to find the right book for them to be interested in reading. Teaching students to create book trailers would take it several steps further and allow students to engage in the creativity process.
VoiceThread is a great way to create a virtual book club or book discussion. You can upload questions from a PowerPoint then for each screen, students can discuss the book on their own time using a variety of methods. Laila Weir talks about how Voice Thread extends the classroom and says that students are not as timid because “You don’t have to be the loud one or the popular one.” (Weir) Another way students could use VoiceThread is to let them create their own VoiceThread and come up with their own questions.
This is a wonderful opportunity to teach students how to correctly use online materials. Show them sources such as the Creative Commons Site and others that will allow the use of copyright free images and videos, etc.
Digital Web tools can be used in any subject area. The possibilities are endless. Engage the students and let them do the creating.
Reluctant Readers “One common misconception is that reluctant readers are students who have lower abilities, but not all reluctant readers fall into the category of ranking poorly academically.” (Boehm, 75)
AliteracyAn increasing number ofstudents say that they hatereading.
MultiplatformThrough technology, “students develop asense of story elements” and “can developcomprehension by reading like a writer andwriting like a reader.” (Hill, 10)
Student strengths“Perhaps if educators focused on andtaught to [students’] strengths, rather thantheir weaknesses, some new ideas wouldevolve on how to motivate today’s digitalstudents.” (Gunter & Kenny, 86)
Student creationsLet the student’screate a bookdigitally.
Copyright and Ethics Teach students the ethical way to use sources from others. http://creativecommons.org/
Other Subject Areas SocialStudies Science Art Music Current Events Math
Works CitedBoehm, Kelly. "A Reluctant Reader - Reluctant = A Reader." Virginia English Bulletin 59.1 (2009): 75-83. EducationResearch Complete. Web. 27 March. 2012.Brenda. "Brendas Blog: Hooked on Glogster: Posters 2.0." 27 February 2009. Education World. Web. 26 March 2012.http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/columnists/dyck/dyck037.shtmlBrinda, Wayne. "A "Ladder To Literacy" Engages Reluctant Readers." Middle School Journal 43.2 (2011): 8-17. EducationResearch Complete. Web. 26 March. 2012.Foote, Carolyn. "Its a Mad, Mad Wordle." July 2009. ProQuest. Web. 27 March 2012.Gunter, Glenda, and Robert Kenny. "Digital Booktalk: Digital Media For Reluctant Readers." Contemporary Issues InTechnology & Teacher Education 8.1 (2008): 84-99. Education Research Complete. Web. 26 March. 2012.Halls, Kelly Milner. "Alternative Book Topics Can Help Interest Reluctant Readers." Knowledge Quest 39.4 (2011): 74-77.Education Research Complete. Web. 25 March. 2012.Hill, Rebecca A. "When Technology And Books Collide." Book Links 19.3 (2010): 9-11. Education Research Complete. Web. 26March. 2012.Kenny, Robert F. "Digital Narrative As A Change Agent To Teach Reading To Media-Centric Students." InternationalJournal Of Social Sciences 2.3 (2007): 187-195. Education Research Complete. Web. 26 March. 2012.Mann, Bridget. "Time-saving Ways for Teachers to use Prezi." 2 November 2011. Prezi U. Web. 27 March 2012.http://preziu.capablenetworks.com/x/article/22969/Time-saving-Ways-for-Teachers-to-use-Prezi/print;jsessionid=9CDC29710C40451666446B808A0B6629Oakley, Grace, and Jenny Jay. "Making Time" For Reading: Factors That Influence The Success Of Multimedia Reading In TheHome." Reading Teacher 62.3 (2008): 246-255. Education Research Complete. Web. 26 March. 2012.Weir, Laila. "VoiceThread Extends the Classroom with Interactive Multimedia Albums." 16 April 2008. Edutopia. Web. 26March 2012. http://www.edutopia.org/voicethread-interactive-multimedia-albums
Images are from http://www.wylio.com/ which uses images from theCreative Commons.Web tools shown in this presentation: http://www.wordle.com/ http://www.glogster.com http://prezi.com http://www.voki.com/ http://www.onetruemedia.com/ http://voicethread.com/