Reading is one of the gateways to integrating technology, you may find yourself randomly excited about websites and see your students smiling with flushed faces. It's not a super-bug - it's the sweet face of student-engagement. You're welcome.
I want to share with you four different ways to integrate technology into your reading schedule. I'll be presenting them (with links!) in order of awesomeness, IMHO. The final item on my list may seem daunting - and I'd bet the idea hadn't ever crossed your mind, but stick with me! It's so important to dream big with what COULD be, and then find someone (the ITRT or Tech Coach at your school would be a great option) to help make that dream into a reality. If the tech person at your school still thinks that desktops are the way of the future and prefers the "good old days"...Google your idea! Google is one of the first things I do when I have an idea, because there are many, many smart folks out on the inter-webs and I want to take advantage of their generosity and ability.
Now, here are the ways to jazz up your reading -
1. Tumblebooks.Tumblebooks is free when accessed through your library - so why pay for it!? Check out the Central Rapahannock's website to see what I mean and then explore your local library site. Tumblebooks has picture books, chapter books and a very large assortment of graphic novels. I've used Tumblebooks as a station and for whole group instruction with my students. They love it, it's like having an entire library at your disposal. I'm pretty sure there's an app for ipads, but you would need a username and password. If you're an observant reader, you may be able to figure out the username and password based on the URL (link) on the image. (hint- right click and copy URL...paste it in your browser and see if you see what might be a username and password). Otherwise, just go through using the library link.
2. EPICEpic is an app as well as computer based program that's free for teachers (yeah..FREE). The librarians in my county are dancing a jig over this app. It has high-interest books (think Big Nate) as well as search by interest. Teachers can set up pages for students (really easily) and the app walks students through some questions (age, interest, etc) to find books for them to read. Unlike Raz-Kids - there is no assessment feature, but I believe that kids need time to just read for the pleasure of reading, so it doesn't bother me that there isn't a way to check their understanding. Don't you sometimes get tired of assessing?? Check out some of the titles below. Click the image to go the the website - remember Educators get FREE access.
3. Google Forms -
If you're NOT tired of assessing - here's a great way to change up the listening center. By using a YouTube video and asking questions, students are held accountable for their learning. You can check all student work by seeing the results in a spreadsheet- if your form is called Listening Center 1, your student answers will be called Listening Center 1 (Responses). You can find tons of youtube videos of stories being read and insert them into the form. Storyline Online is my go to place for stories.
4. Choose Your Own Adventure Stories in Google FormsThe Big WHOA!
The Haunted Ship (unfinished - view only)
The Haunted Ship (copy you can edit)
How could this work? It's created by the Go to Page Based on Answer feature of Google Forms - Tedious to set up, but what a cool project! What would be amazing would be to create a class story - you may provide the characters, setting and initial problem- then have groups work on the choices and the outcomes of those choices leading up to a new decision...cause and effect tie in !?
I'm so intrigued by this that once my schedule clears up (mid April) I'm looking forward to finding some teachers to collaborate on a product. If you're interested, shoot me an email at email@example.com - This could become a state-wide adventure story- The idea that's percolating right now involves a couple of characters visiting different areas of Virginia- possibly throughout time- to learn about Virginia Studies. A 4th Grade tie in! OH The possibilities!!
Well, that's the tip of the iceburg, folks. I talked to several teachers at one of my schools and they are excited beyond words about the possibilities of Choose Your Own Adventure becoming "a thing" in their rooms. Drop a comment, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or cast out your carrier pigeon to tell me how you're integrating technology into reading, or if you've used these ideas. I love getting to blog here at Virginia is For Teachers. Thanks for reading!