Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

Posts tagged ‘reading’

Advantages of eReaders

A new trend has begun showing up in sixth grade. Many of my students have been showing up with eReaders. It’s not surprising. The price of entry-level readers has gone well below $100, even for name brand readers such as the Kindle or the Nook. With prices this low, most parents seem happy to give a reader as a birthday or Christmas present.

I, for one, am excited about this development. A student can carry dozens of books with him or her and read them at leisure. But there is also another benefit. In a recent study by Pew Research, it has been shown that the average person owning an eReader reads 24 books per year compared to 15 by the rest of us. This is good news for the publishing industry, since eBooks are cheaper to produce and distribute than paper books. To me, it is all irrelevant when compared to what I see in my classroom: kids reading who did not read before.

Maybe it is the novelty of the medium; maybe a time will come when eReaders are considered boring and turn into the 8-track of literature. I think it has something to do with the convenience factor, that from that simple device they can pull up what they want to read when they want to read it. For those of you who live near a well-stocked library or a giant book store, that might not seem important. But for my students, living in a rural setting, acquiring things to read is harder and the ability to read something at the push of a button makes that first step a lot smaller.

As a teacher, I hope to see more of these devices, not just for reading, but also a wider move to a ‘bring your own device’ policy, where we welcome more electronics into the classroom just as we would books, notebooks, and pencils, treating them not as novelties (though they may be filled with novels) but as vital and useful tools for learning.


Tag Readers

A Tag reader at work.

Our school librarians are fantastic. Every week we get these wonderful little emails about the great new things they have found for us — the new toys that they have brought into our district via grants and programs.

For instance, Tag readers. Made by LeapFrog, the educational toy company, Tag readers use little RF chips printed into the paper of books to make them interactive via a programmable stylus.

The Tag reader can read the book to a student, have him or her play a game and help him or her learn to read the book independently. This week all of our first graders were introduced to the Tags at the library. They showed up at my after school program toting little backpacks given to them by the library, loaded with a Tag reader and a book.

Do these fancy little readers actually help students read? Do they get kids excited about books? I can tell you that a student had to be reminded to go home because he was so enthralled by his book.

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