Category: Reading

4 Innovative Ways to Enhance Reading Comprehension with AI Tools

I’m excited about this post from the Ask a Tech Teacher crew–AI Tools for reading comprehension. There are so many directions this could go!

4 Innovative Ways to Enhance Reading Comprehension with AI Tools

Struggling to grasp the essence of a dense PDF or wishing students could wrestle more effectively with complex texts? The key may reside in AI-powered reading assistants, a broad category encompassing everything from summarizers to intelligent note-taking platforms.

Let’s explore five innovative strategies that make the most of these AI capabilities, tailored not only to keep pace with rapid technological advancements, but also to foster enhanced educational experiences! (more…)

35 Resources for Read Across America Day

Many people in the United States, particularly students, parents and teachers, join forces on Read Across America Day, annually held on March 2nd to coincide with the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Let’s celebrate with this take-off of his writing style, but about technology, reprinted with permission of Gene Zigler at Cornell University:

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
and your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
but your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
and you screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
and the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risk,
then you have to flash your memory, and you'll want to RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom.

Copyright © Gene Ziegler

Email: [email protected]

--reprinted with permission © 6-28-09

Here are thirteen great reading websites for students K-5: (more…)

The Influence of Literature on the Formation of the Personalities of Students

No one questions whether literature influences the formation of student personalities. It enhances cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence, moral and ethical development, identity formation, communication skills, social awareness, and creativity. It helps students to grow into well-rounded individuals with a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

One of our Ask a Tech Teacher contributors has a more in-depth analysis of this seemingly benign causative influence:

The Influence of Literature on the Formation of the Personalities of Students

The Influence of Books

Literature is a separate area that plays a significant role in the formation of a personality. It can be different. Fiction, essays, science. Children’s literature, memoir, poetry. Starting from early childhood, we have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the fascinating adventure or scientific world of books. After all, fiction includes novels, short stories, and novellas. Essays convey the author’s thoughts and analysis of a particular topic. Scientific literature includes scientific articles and publications in academic journals. Poetry uses language and rhythm to express feelings and emotions. Memoirs tell about the life and experiences of the author. Children’s literature includes fairy tales, adventures, and educational literature. Religious literature explores religious issues, ethics, and morality.

All of the above is very relevant for students. For they are in a period of self-determination and search for their place in the world. Studying literature does not just broaden students’ horizons. It influences their intensive personal development, and thus their personal growth. Let’s take a closer look at the impact of literature on the formation of students’ personalities, in particular, on the example of The Distance Between Us.


A Short Guide to Interesting Teens in Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is internationally regarded as one of the greatest playwrights and poets in history, and his works have had a profound impact on our cultural heritage. Learning Shakespeare is a valuable and rewarding experience that can enrich our understanding of literature, language, and culture.

Here’s a quick overview of how to get teens interested in Shakespeare:

A Short Guide to Getting Teens Interested in Shakespeare

If you’re a high school teacher, you can probably hear the groans now as they wave through the classroom. You’ve reached the inevitable Shakespeare unit of an English course, and some students just are not clicking with it.

But they call him the “immortal bard” for a reason. The themes, character dynamics and conflicts in Shakespearean plays echo into the modern day. Some of his principal preoccupations – the enduring nature of love, the pitfalls of tyranny, etc. – are as relevant in 2023 as they were in 1600. And students have a lot to learn from keen insights, critical gaze and deep understanding of human nature present in Shakespearean literature.


sat prep

Online Reading for National Library Week

National Library Week is April 23-29, 2023. It allows us to promote our local libraries and their workers. Find more about here at the American Library Association.

Because I  know most of you online only, I thought I’d share my favorite online libraries with you (click here for updates to the list):

For Children

  1. Aesop for Children–collection of fables
  2. Actively Learn–add PDFs of your choice to a library that can be annotated, read, and shared.
  3. Audio Books–apps for books purchased through Audio Books (and free ones)
  4. Bookopolis–focused on student reading
  5. Books that Grow–read a story at many different reading levels
  6. Class Literature
  7. Epic–a reading library for kids, 15,000 books; most digital devices
  8. RAZ Kids–wide variety of reading levels, age groups, with teacher dashboards
  9. Reading Rainbow–library of books; free to try
  10. Tumblebooks (fee)–focused on student reading

For All Ages

  1. Free Books–download any of our 23,469 classic books, and read
  2. Actively Learn–add PDFs of your choice to a library that can be annotated, read, and shared.
  3. Bookopolis–focused on student reading
  4. Books that Grow–read a story at many different reading levels
  5. Class Literature
  6. Epic–a reading library for kids, 15,000 books; most digital devices
  7. Free Books–download any of our 23,469 classic books, and read
  8. Great Books Online by Bartleby
  9. Gutenberg Project
  10. IBooks–amazing way to download and read books.
  11. International Library
  12. Internet Archive— Internet Archive offers over 12,000,000 freely downloadable books and texts. There is also a collection of 550,000 modern eBooks that may be borrowed by anyone with a free account.
  13. Kindle–read ebooks, newspapers, magazines, textbooks and PDFs on an easy-to-use interface.
  14. Librivox–free public domain audio books
  15. Loyal Books
  16. Many Books–Over 33,000 ebooks that can be browsed by language, author, title. 
  17. Online Books Page
  18. Open Library
  19. OWL Eyes–for the classics
  20. RAZ Kids–wide variety of reading levels, age groups, with teacher dashboards
  21. Reading Rainbow–library of books; free to try
  22. Tumblebooks (fee)–focused on student reading
  23. Unite for books (free) — gorgeous, easy-to-navigate site.

#WorldReadAloudDay February 1st

On Feb. 1st, World Read Aloud Day celebrates the pure joy of oral reading with kids of all ages. Created by LitWorld, past years have found over 1 million people in 100 countries joining together to enjoy the power and wonder of reading aloud in groups or individually, at school or home, and discovering what it means to listen to a story told through the voice of another. For many, this is a rare opportunity to hear the passion of a well-told story and fall in love with tales where hearing them reaches listeners on a level nothing else can. Think back to your experiences. You probably sat with an adult, in their lap or curled up in bed. The way they mimicked the voices in the story, built drama, and enthused with you over the story and characters made you want to read more stories like that on your own. This is a favorite activity not just for pre-readers, but beginning and accomplished readers because it’s not about reading the book; it’s about experiencing it through the eyes of a storyteller.

Somehow, as lives for both the adults and children have gotten busier, as digital devices have taken over, as parents turned to TVs or iPads to babysit kids while they do something else, we’ve gotten away from this most companionable of activities. World Read Aloud Day is an opportunity to get back to it.

Importance of reading aloud

There is no more powerful way to develop a love of reading than being read to. Hearing pronunciations, decoding words in context, experiencing the development and completion of a well-plotted story as though you were there are reason enough to read aloud but there’s more. Reading in general and reading aloud specifically is positively correlated to literacy and success in school. It builds foundational learning skills, introduces and reinforces vocabulary, and provides a joyful activity that’s mostly free, cooperative, and often collaborative. Did you know reading aloud:


13 Websites That Provide Lots of Digital Books for Summer Reading

At the beginning of the 21st century, the definition of digital equity revolved around the provision of a digital device to every student. Usually, that meant desktop computers, iPads, and laptops, either in small groups or 1:1. As digital equity discussions matured and hyperbole became reality, educators found that those loudly-touted digital devices often became paperweights. The reasons were varied (teacher training, infrastructure, and professional support to name a few), but one of the most prominent was money. Good intentions to give all students access to the world’s knowledge were derailed by the cost of the websites and webtools that made that happen. Turns out — and not really a surprise — the cost of the digital devices was minor compared to the cost of the websites and webtools required to meet goals.

There is one bright spot in this story: Online books. Thanks to the efforts of many devoted professionals and the financial support of more, there are a wide variety of free/inexpensive sources for books that students can use for classroom activities as well as pleasure.

Here are a list of sites that offer digital books for kids to adults:


Tech Tools for Reading Fluency

SmartBrief has an excellent article worth your time to read:

Top 5 tech tools to maximize reading fluency

It is written from the perspective of a 2nd-grade teacher:

Teaching in a pandemic presented teachers with a whole new batch of problems to solve, whether through distance, hybrid or in-person learning models. Putting all technicalities and connectivity issues aside, teachers wanted to maximize engagement and student learning all the more. 

Read more

Ask a Tech Teacher has more excellent resources to promote reading in your classes:

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.