EdSurge is my go-to resource to all things ed Tech/Teacher News. They’re teacher-nerd heaven when it comes to digital resources and e-learning ideas. I told you all about how I use the EdSurge product index a few weeks back.
I am excited to be able to share my professional insights with them and their SCool Tools section. They published two case studies I wrote on my experiences using two of my favourite tools -Dreambox and Learn with Homer. I have written about Learn with Homer before and it’s power to sequentially skill build early reading skills. The program starts with basic phonology and works up to train young readers how to understand and comprehend short texts. What Learn with Homer is to reading, Dreambox is to math. It too discerns a learners math gaps and systematically works to close them and skill build using engaging, fun games. So head over to Ed Surge’s SCool Tools to check our my case studies on Learn with Homer and Dreambox.
We have talked before building early reading skills by mastering sight words. Sight words are a small group of words (approximately 300-500) that account for large portions of the common texts we read. For example, words such as: this, that, then, he, she, and etc are considered sight words. Due to their high frequency, it is critical that students cultivating early literacy skills develop their sight word recognition skills.
When it comes to building sight word proficiency I have previously shared my On a Roll game. I use On a Roll as an early finisher activity or as a literacy center. Today I bring you another game I often use in literacy centers or as a stand alone activity. Sight Word Go Fish uses the Dolch Sight words, and comes in kindergarten and second grade level words. In each download you will find detailed instructions on preparation and game play. Everything is available for download at my Teachers pay Teachers store!
Another Ed Tech review is up on the Yellin Center Blog, this time about a suite of eBook and audiobook resources called TumbleBooks. You can head over to my review to learn about the ages each application is appropriate for, as well as all the teacher and librarian resources that are integrated right into the program.
However, what my review doesn’t elaborate is how vital eBooks and audiobooks are for developing the literacy skills of struggling or reluctant readers. Beyond being below grade level in reading ability, one additional challenge struggling readers have to combat is a lack of background knowledge. Often we glean vital information from texts that help us create connections, encode new ideas and enrich our learning experience across curricular areas. However, without exposure to this content struggling readers are unable to build a wealth of prior knowledge which can often lead to challenges in all academic areas. Therefore, when designing literacy interventions the lack of exposure to new vocabulary, a variety of content and diverse ideas needs to be accounted for. This is where audiobook and eBooks become an invaluable resource. These mediums allow students to access the same rich content as their peers, and build their knowledge base without hinging on their decoding or comprehension skills. I work with a lot of students with reading difficulties, and eBooks and audiobooks are two of my most recommended reading support strategies. Personally, I have witnessed a lot of success using alternative reading materials, but don’t simply take my word for it because research backs this evidence based practice also. So if you are looking to bolster your students interest in reading, as well as their content knowledge check out TumbleBooks because they offer a great variety of resources across grade levels and genres.