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Reading

3 Book Reviews about Anthropomorphized Computers

I know a lot of bloggers who are both geeks and authors. Often, their books including those techie topics I love to read (and ended up critical to my recently-published novel, Twenty-four Days). Here are a few I think you might like:

  • Digital Dick — an AI takes it upon himself to solve the murder of his creator
  • Little Computer People — an AI takes an interesting turn  as she attains sentience
  • Hyperion Web — Jack Crockett and an AI named Moses fight for what may be the soul of America.

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Categories: Reading, Teacher resources | Tags: | Leave a comment

Ten Reading-with-Tech Tips You Don’t Want to Miss

READING IN CLASSHere are ten of the top reading-related articles according to Ask a Tech Teacher readers:

  1. How do I create a classroom library checkout system?
  2. 5 Tech Tools to Inspire Reading
  3. 5 Tech Tools That Motivate Every Reader
  4. 3 Digital Tools to Encourage Close Reading
  5. 32 Reading Websites
  6. How Minecraft Teaches Reading, Writing and Problem Solving
  7. Common Core Reading–What if Students Don’t Like Reading
  8. I need reading resources for ELL/ESL
  9. 17 Story Sites for First and Second Grade
  10. Reading + Keyboarding = Success

(more…)

Categories: Reading, Tech tips | Tags: | Leave a comment

Dear Otto: How do I create a classroom library checkout system?

tech questions

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please contact me at askatechteacher at gmail dot com and I’ll answer it here. 

I got this question from a colleague:

I am looking for an app that classroom teachers can use to scan a classroom library and allow teachers to check books out with students.  Any suggestions on one or your colleagues may have liked?  Thanks for your help!

I chatted with colleagues and got a few common answers:
  • Classroom Organizer–a free app that works with a desktop application; lets you scan in books, manage them, and check them out (through the app)
  • Classroom Checkout–a fee-based app that catalogues books, manages student checkouts, and keeps track of books.

Another interesting approach that one friend uses is through Google Forms and an add-on called Checkitout: You enter all the books yourself (rather than scan a barcode and have the information populate) into a Google spreadsheet tied to a Google Checkout Form. Students would fill the Google Form out with relevant information and that would automatically populate on the spreadsheet you created. You can sort the spreadsheet by book rather than date to see which books are checked out to whom. Richard Byrne does a nice summary of how it works here.

A final option: QR Codes. I didn’t find anyone in my PLN using this approach, but it sounds pretty good. Here’s an article on it.

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Categories: Classroom management, Dear Otto, Reading | Leave a comment

5 Tech Tools to Inspire Reading

readingReading is defined as “the action or skill of absorbing written or printed matter silently or aloud.” Sounds dry, maybe even boring, but once a child learns to read, they get much more than an understanding of words, sentences, paragraphs, grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. They get an escape from reality, exercise for their brains, a closeness to like-minded souls, answers to problems–and reading can even predict success in school. It alleviates boredom in the bits of free time that pop up between soccer and dinner and it can be done alone or in a group.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends…”
― Charles William Eliot

Teachers and parents know all this and still, the Literacy Company reports that most teachers in classes of twenty+ students spend only five minutes a day reading, and 46% of American adults cannot understand the label on their prescription medicine. Not a surprise, Statistic Brain says 80% of adults did not buy a single book in the past year (Pew reports it as 77%).

I am constantly on the hunt for good tech reading tools. There are hundreds–thousands–of them, but I’m picky. Here’s what I look for:

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Categories: Games/Simulations, Reading | 2 Comments

52 Resources for Read Across America Day

stone-figure-10542_640Many people in the United States, particularly students, parents and teachers, join forces on Read Across America Day, annually held on March 2. This nationwide observance coincides with the birthday of Dr Seuss.

Here are some great reading websites for students K-5:

  1. Aesop Fables—no ads
  2. Aesop’s Fables
  3. Audio stories
  4. Childhood Stories
  5. Classic Fairy Tales
  6. Fairy Tales and Fables
  7. Interactive storybook collection
  8. Listen/read–Free non-fic audio books
  9. Magic Keys–stories for youngers
  10. Mighty Book
  11. PBS Stories–Between the Lions
  12. Signed stories
  13. Starfall
  14. Stories read by actors
  15. Stories to read for youngsters
  16. Stories to read from PBS kids
  17. Stories to read–II
  18. Stories—MeeGenius—read/to me
  19. Stories—non-text
  20. Story Scramble
  21. Storytime for me
  22. Teach your monster to read (free)
  23. Ziggity Zoom Stories

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, Holidays, Reading, Websites | Tags: , | 1 Comment

5 Tech Tools That Motivate Every Reader

digital readingI love having guest posts on Ask a Tech Teacher because I always learn a lot. In this case, efriend and fellow educator, Jessica Sanders from WhooosReading.org, shares her favorite tools for kick-starting readers. I think you’ll like her choices:

Not every student is motivated to read—as you, as an educator, know better than anyone else. Luckily, technology not only comes as second nature to the digital citizens in your classroom, but engages readers of every level, motivating them to read.

These five tech tools do exactly that, and can be used in almost any classroom environment or to encourage independent reading at home. Harness the power of peer-to-peer book recommendations and gamification to motivate your students to read more every day.

Bookopolis

Nothing inspires students to read more than recommendations from their friends. Bookopolis harnesses that power by offering students a social reading community, where they can share book recommendations, write book reviews, and more.

Students can sign up alone, or with the help of their parent or teacher. Through the platform, students have a chance to uncover more of what they love or discover the kind of books they want to start reading.

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Categories: Reading, Web Tools | Leave a comment

3 Organizational Apps to Start the School Year

Whether you teach science or PE, there are hundreds of apps to help you do it better. The response to this tidal wave of information has been confusion. As each teacher downloads their favorites, students spend as much time learning the app as applying it academically.

There’s a move afoot to pick five that are cross-curricular, train faculty, and then use them throughout the school year. This is the way it used to be when MS Office ruled the computer and everyone understood it. If this is your school, here are three apps to start the school year:

goodreaderGoodReader

When looking for an app to curate classroom reading, consider these requirements:

  • works well with your current LMS
  • includes a wide variety of reading formats
  • displays books quickly, allowing you to open multiple books, add annotations, and take notes
  • displays class textbooks

Lots of apps do the first three; none the last. Why? Many class texts use formats that only display on the publisher website. What became apparent as I researched was that GoodReader was one of several considered Best in Class because of its broad-based ability to read, manage, organize, access, and annotate a wide variety of file formats. Where it has long been considered a leader in reading and annotating PDFs, new releases accommodate almost any type of file including .docx, mp3, jpeg, ppt, xlx, audio, and videos. With its tabbed interface, users can open multiple documents and click through them as needed.

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Categories: Classroom management, Reading, Reviews | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

3 Digital Tools to Encourage Close Reading

‘Close reading’ entered the teacher’s lexicon with this Common Core literacy anchor standard:

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

Dr. Doug Fischer defines close reading this way:

Close reading is a careful and purposeful re-reading of the text.

If you’re looking for a longer definition, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) defines it this way:

Close, analytic reading stresses engaging with a text of sufficient complexity directly and examining meaning thoroughly and methodically, encouraging students to read and reread deliberately. Directing student attention on the text itself empowers students to understand the central ideas and key supporting details. It also enables students to reflect on the meanings of individual words and sentences; the order in which sentences unfold; and the development of ideas over the course of the text, which ultimately leads students to arrive at an understanding of the text as a whole. (PARCC, 2011, p. 7)

…and explains its importance:

A significant body of research links the close reading of complex text—whether the student is a struggling reader or advanced—to significant gains in reading proficiency and finds close reading to be a key component of college and career readiness. (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, 2011, p. 7)

It’s not just getting kids to read that’s important; it’s getting them to read with understanding and memory that matters. This is not instinctual. Students need to be taught how to read complex texts.

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Categories: Reading, Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

3 Apps That Encourage Students to Read

readingReading is defined as “the action or skill of absorbing written or printed matter silently or aloud.” Sounds dry, maybe even boring, but once a child learns to read, they get much more than an understanding of words, sentences, paragraphs, grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. It has been credited with providing an escape from reality, exercising the mind, saving lives, bringing people together, answering problems, and predicting success in school. It alleviates boredom in the bits of free time that pop up between soccer and dinner and it can be done alone or in a group.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends…”
― Charles William Eliot

According to Early Moments, reading is associated with the following traits:

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, Reading | Tags: | 3 Comments

Read Across America Day

stone-figure-10542_640Many people in the United States, particularly students, parents and teachers, join forces on Read Across America Day, annually held on March 2. This nationwide observance coincides with the birthday of Dr Seuss.

Here are some great reading websites for students K-5:

  1. Aesop Fables—no ads
  2. Aesop’s Fables
  3. Audio stories
  4. Childhood Stories
  5. Classic Fairy Tales
  6. Edutainment games and stories
  7. Fables—Aesop—nicely done
  8. Fairy Tales and Fables
  9. Interactive storybook collection
  10. Listen/read–Free non-fic audio books
  11. Magic Keys–stories for youngers
  12. Mighty Book
  13. Open Library
  14. PBS Stories–Between the Lions
  15. RAZ Kids–wide variety of reading levels, age groups, with teacher dashboards
  16. Signed stories
  17. Starfall
  18. Stories read by actors
  19. Stories to read
  20. Stories to read for youngsters
  21. Stories to read from PBS kids
  22. Stories to read–II
  23. Stories to read—International Library
  24. Stories—MeeGenius—read/to me
  25. Stories—non-text
  26. Story Scramble
  27. Story time–visual
  28. Storytime for me
  29. Teach your monster to read (free)
  30. Tumblebooks (fee)
  31. Ziggity Zoom Stories

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, Holidays, Reading, Websites | Tags: , | Leave a comment