It’s a Wanderful Life: Technology and the Love of Reading
Throughout the changes in education over the years, one goal has remained constant: children must learn to read. It’s a crucial skill for success in every other subject and ultimately, success in life. There is such a focus on the best methods for teaching kids to read; the importance of encouraging the love of reading is often blurred. Students might learn to successfully decode words and read, but they won’t make a habit of reading for pleasure unless they enjoy it.
Enterprising teachers and education companies have come up with plenty of creative ways to inspire the love of reading. Each solution attempts to make the experience of learning to read more pleasurable and natural. Although there is no substitute for the time spent listening to an adult read out loud and practicing the skill in a one on one environment, today’s technology can be very helpful when that time is limited.
I am no expert in reading instruction, but I do love to read, and I also love watching a child pick up a book to read for enjoyment instead of being idly distracted by one form of media or another. Different things inspire different kids, so teachers are left with the tough job of finding the right variety of tools and activities that will develop that love of reading.
As technology evolves, teachers are presented with many ways to supplement reading instruction, but how do we decide when to try new things and when to stick with what has worked in the past? Joann featured interactive storybook apps from Wanderful this week. I am intrigued by how an iPad can help new readers fully immerse themselves in a story. If you are considering using a tool like Wanderful’s Interactive Storybooks, I suggest reading their publication, Classroom Activities Overviews for Use with Wanderful Interactive Storybooks. It includes lots of good information about the pros and cons of implementing technology into reading instruction and standards-based classroom activities to help you get the most out of each book.
I encourage you to check out Wanderful’s collection of interactive stories and Common-Core-aligned companion resources on the Gateway. While you are on the Gateway, be sure to check out the many other reading resources and tools. Reading activities sure have changed since my days of struggling with the play/pause button on the classroom tape player! I hope you find some unique ideas here that will make a difference in a young reader’s life.