3 Important Reasons to Combine Reading and Technology

Monday, December 28, 20156:03 PM

Today we’re trying something a little different. Below, find our first-ever guest post, from Jessica Sanders, the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn. Learn2Earn offers reading motivation tools and resources to help students become lifelong readers.

When she approached me about a guest post, I made sure to check out her content over at Learn2Earn and liked what I saw. Take a look at their blog with some great #edtech tips and articles. If you like the article below, check it out. Also, look for my post on their blog, 3 Free Tools to Learn More About Student Learning, coming soon.





There are many factors that influence young readers and encourage them to read more and learn to love the act of sitting down with a book. Some of these factors include engagement with the text, motivation to read more, and being empowered to make their own reading choices.

What’s more, many of these factors lead to improvements in reading comprehension.

While teachers may sometimes struggle with things like engagement and motivation, technology is a powerful tool to impact student reading and aid in instruction. Here’s how pairing technology with reading makes this possible.

Motivation

“The more students read on their own time, the higher their reading scores.” —The Condition of Education 1999, from the U.S. Department of Education


Technology can be leveraged as a great motivator for students, whether it makes reading more fun or rewards them for completing a reading-related task. In the end, students are reading more, discovering their favorite authors, and spending more time with a book in their hand.

Tech tool of choice: Whooo’s Reading

Whooo’s Reading uses key elements of gamification—personalization, goal setting, progress indicators, advancement and recognition—the entice students to read.

At the same time, students are required to answer questions about their books with increasing creativity and critical thinking skills. As students become better and deeper thinkers, these extrinsic rewards quickly become intrinsic, making reading in and of itself rewarding. 



Engagement

“Engagement with reading is directly related to reading achievement.” — Influences of Stimulating Tasks on Reading Motivation and Comprehension

Students are heavy technology users—17 percent of children use mobile devices at least once a day, if not more, according to a 2013 Common Sense Media research study. When you combine technology with learning, specifically reading, students often become automatically more engaged because they’re familiar with the tools you’re bringing into the lesson.

Note that this doesn’t mean that any and all technology engages students. It’s up to you to find the tools, apps and websites that your students respond to best.

Tech tool of choice: MindMeister

MindMeister, an online mind-mapping tool, allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the text while giving them a chance to actively engage with it. For example, a mind map can help students to structure their thoughts, making sense of a complex plot theme and enhances memory thanks to a variety of mental triggers such as colors, images and a two-dimension structure.

Encourage students to use mind mapping when taking notes about their reading, or use it as a class activity, filling out the mind map together.


Empowerment

“91 percent of students polled said their favorite books are the ones they chose themselves.” —Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report, 5th Edition

Technology puts the power in your students’ hands, especially when it comes to discovering non-fiction content such as news articles. With access to websites like Twitter or Newsela, students can read more about the topics they love, helping them develop a love for reading.

The world wide web is a good place, and it's important to provide choice while guiding students towards appropriate and meaningful content.

Tech tool of choice: Wonderopolis

This website provides students with a vast library of reading materials while testing their vocabulary and comprehension knowledge. The best part is that it encourages students to wonder about anything and everything.

Once on the site, students search for a topic or browse through articles such as, Why Do States Have Different Weather? and What Is an Invasive Species? Each article has a vocabulary quiz based on highlighted words in the article and a comprehension test, both of which ensure the student is retaining and comprehending the content.



Technology makes it possible for teachers to motivate, engage and empower students, all of which can translate to improved reading comprehension and a great love of reading. Pair these two to turn all of your students into successful readers.



Bio: Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn, a San Diego-based education organization that offers Read-A-Thon fundraisers and reading motivation tools for teachers and schools. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and check out their new ebook, How to Bring Technology Into the Classroom, just $2.99 on Amazon.com.

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