Using Technology to Build Reading Skills

Kids love using technology so why not capitalize on technology to build student reading skills especially for English Language Learners and struggling readers?  The Lit2Go website (see link below) has some great books that you can download to your classroom computers or  iPods. Students can listen to the stories while reading the text or simply listen to build vocabulary and strengthen background knowledge.  There are many applications that can be downloaded that can be of benefit too such as Native Language to English Dictionaries, the Buzz Aldrin portal to Science, many books both audio and visual, and tons of other useful aps that can help children improve their reading and learning.

Lit2Go Website

Encouraging Reluctant Writers with SPAWN

Struggling with how to get reluctant writers to revise and/or strengthen their work?  A technique called SPAWN, developed by Martin, Martin, and O’Brian in 1984 and recently reintroduced by Grozo (2003) may be just what you need. The 5 writing options you can present to your students  include the following:

S – Special Powers.  The student can change some aspect of the text or topic. Their writing then explains what was changed, why it was changed and the effect of the change.

P – Problem Solving. Students are asked to write possible solutions to problems that have been proposed in the book being read or the material being studied.

A – Alternative Point of View.  The students writes about a topic or retells a story from a different character’s point of view or relates it from a different perspective.

W – What If?  Students are given the opportunity to respond to a change they have made in some aspect of the topic or the story or to a change the teacher suggests. They write about the results of the change.

N – Next. After reading a portion of the text, students describe what they think the author will discuss next, explain or have happen next and provide evidence to support their predictions.

Using Sound Sorts to Strengthen Decoding Skills

When students are learning to decode words, they most often are able to identify the beginning and ending sounds long before they can discriminate the medial sounds of words. Create word cards with words that have the same medial sounds for students to sort. For example, you might place the words: bed, red, Ted, bad, lad, mad, bid, lid, did, lead, read, bead onto cards. Ask students to read the word and think about the sounds they hear in the middle of the word. Students then sort the word cards into categories by the sound they hear in the middle of each word. This helps children think more about medial letter placements and the sounds they make.