Our reader’s workshop has gone digital! When I reflect on my own reading habits, it’s surprising how much internet content I read daily. Our children live
in a very different world than we grew up in. Today’s children have grown up with internet access from multiple devices. Several students in our class got iPodTouches for Christmas. Emal brings his in everyday to read his ebooks. He takes notes on digital sticky-notes while he reads. Today, another student told me she was selling her Nintendo DS because she got an iPod Touch, and it can do a lot more than her DS. Another student shared his new DS with me today and was showing me he had Skype on it and could video conference when wifi was available. It’s easy to assume in this technological world we live in that our children will learn how to read and write (yes, write!) on the internet. However, like reading a book or writing a story, reading and writing on the internet needs to be taught and practiced.
So . . . during independent reading, each child has a “netbook” day. On their assigned day they have the choice to read online. I bookmarked several websites for students to locate and read interesting articles on the internet (check out ‘Online Reading Links’ on this blog). One very popular site is TweenTribune. This website is designed for 8-12 year olds (i.e. Tweens) and contains interesting, current internet articles in all subject areas. Students can comment after reading an article, but comments must be a minimum of 25 words. I approve all comments before they are posted. This connection between reading and writing helps develop active reading strategies (ex. connections, questions) and critical thinking skills.
I am also trying to weave digital content into guided reading too. Students participate in guided reading groups every other week. Recently, one group was reading about the Hindenburg disaster. I shared with them footage of the disaster in an effort to bring their nonfiction article to life. Students then researched one survivor from the Hindenburg to learn their story. We are now in the process of creating a Voicethread (ask your child to share with you) where they assume the role of their survivor and tell the story from the survivor’s point of view. Stay tuned for a blog post in the near future sharing this wonderful project. Think about the deep level of comprehension and understanding these students gained from this technology infused reading group!
On the writing side, we have also started blogging about our independent reading in lieu of a hand written letter in notebooks. When we blog about our reading and share our thinking, we are writing for a wider audience. Not only will students receive comments from me, but also their classmates! When I was growing up, there wasn’t an internet, let alone the ability to create internet content. Once the internet became popular, I never dreamed I’d one day be able to publish internet content, but look at me now . . . I write comments, articles, and post resources on a daily basis. This is the world we live in and it is the norm for our children. I believe my job is to prepare them for this new world. . . .a new world that is evolving even now as I write this blog post! Thank you for sharing your wonderful children with me!