This semester in READ 6309 students examined components of a strong reading program. As part of their work, they wrote about these components for this blog.
With guided reading, students develop predicting, questioning and the ability to consider what plausible events may transpire in a story. Instead of the usual quizzing of comprehension questions that usually have one correct answer and limit the imagination of readers, guided reading provides an opportunity for students to explore the possibilities contained in a story and its characters. Students learn to predict, test their predictions, and to infer and support their inferences with evidence from the text. This provides several opportunities for the student to become a reader who questions elements of the story, the characters, the author, etc. instead of being a reader who is only allowed to answer the teacher’s questions.
A good resource for text that can be used during guided reading is the app named Short Stories. Stories found with this app can be as brief as 2 or 4 pages in length. Likewise, the free apps: Kindle, iBooks, and nook all have free children’s books available for download. Kindle also offers a free sampling of kindle books, for example the book entitled “Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life” by James Patterson offers the first 20 chapters free. Also, Play Books, an app by Google provides free downloads, and like iBooks, it also gives the appearance of an open book with the indented crease in the middle and has the page turning ability. This visual feature is appealing to readers because it creates the illusion that they holding an actual hard copy printed book. These apps are all free resources that provide teachers with a variety of genres that they can use in the classroom.
In cases where teachers already have a selected text that they would like to cut up into sections, the app QuickReader can be used. QuickReader has a fantastic option called Pasteboard. If you highlight and copy text from Pages (a word processor app) or the app GoodReader, you can immediately open QuickReader and select Pasteboard to find your previously copied text already pasted onto a page. This app also provides the option of Speed Reading. The teacher can set the pace for reading the sections of text from 10 words per minute, which is very, very slow, to a lightning 4000 words per minute. I think this app will help students who have difficultly with tracking words and students who are easily distracted because each word of the text is consecutively highlighted, making it almost impossible for the reader not to follow along. Although the words in this app are highlighted, there is no audio, which is in keeping with the objective of having the students read the text silently and in measured portions. By the way, this app also has the capability of downloading free books from Feedbooks, Baen Books, Project Gutenberg, Smashwords, and the Internet Archive.