Using Technology to Teach Reading
Written by Sara Fusselman, 1st Grade Teacher
Reflections During Classroom Inquiry:
Focusing specifically on one student has given me the opportunity to follow her reading development closely. As she develops more confidence in her reading abilities the data shows growth in her reading fluency rate. As well, her self-corrections and rereading strategies indicate that she is making progress in her reading development. The use of the iPod nanos for recording and self-evaluating allows her to observe what she is already doing well in reading. As she listens to stories using the iPod shuffles she hears positive examples of reading that she seems to model. I hope this student continues to grow in her reading development at this rapid rate, as this growth will help her reach grade-level reading expectations faster.
I received an innovation technology grant in the form of sixteen iPod shuffles and four iPod Nanos with recording capacity. In light of this paradigm shift in my First Grade Reading environment, I want to monitor the affects on the acquisition of fluency and comprehension in Reading. I want to look at the affect of the use of this learning tool on one underperforming student.
What happens with the Reading development of an underperforming First Grader when she uses an iPod Nano and an iPod Shuffle?
Download a PDF of my presentation here:
“No, I don’t see them reading to their selves,” this first grader said, when asked in an interview if she sees Mom and Dad reading. Madison is learning to read in First Grade at Knight Elementary.
She begins the year seeming a little reluctant about being in school. Circumstances made it difficult for Madison to come to school on a regular basis for the first 54 days of school in First Grade, and she was absent 25% of the time in the First Trimester. Because of her frequent absences, Madison missed learning the routines of the classroom established in the first few weeks of school; she also missed opportunities for developing friendships with her classmates, and she missed time spent in class listening and practicing reading. Madison moved from [this] Elementary near the end of Kindergarten, attended another school to finish out the school year and returned to [this] Elementary for First Grade. She is still in my First Grade class.
It is obvious her mother and father share a genuine interest in seeing Madison learn and grow in school, but circumstances in their lives kept them from reading with Madison on a daily basis. When asking Madison how often mom and dad read to her, she answers with, “Not very much, but I read to her.” Madison shows an intrinsic desire to read.
Madison began First Grade knowing 10 out of 26 Letter Names and 1 out of 26 Letter Sounds of the alphabet. She knew the sound /s/. As Madison scored below grade level expectations at the beginning of First Grade, the Response to Intervention team at Knight Elementary worked with Madison in smaller group settings in which she received specific reading instruction closely linked to her learning needs.
After two months of intensive reading practice, constant use of the iPod shuffles for listening of text, weekly oral reading practice using the iPod Nano for recording and playback, and close contact with mom and dad about how Madison is doing in reading and homework, Madison grew in her reading development. She increased past her aim line rapidly, showing oral reading fluency and comprehension growth. Madison is currently reading 29 words correct per minute, increased from 0 words correct per minute at the beginning of First Grade. Madison is reading and comprehending text at a primer level and moving into the First Grade texts. She scored below Kindergarten level on the Developmental Reading Assessment when she entered First Grade, and now she is rapidly improving in her reading abilities and independently reading First Grade level texts.
When interviewed about her perceptions of her reading abilities, Madison seems to have high opinions about herself as a reader. When asked “Do you think you are a good reader?” she answers “Yes!... because I read lots of books. I read the whole Dr. Seuss book Green Eggs and Ham. I like that book.” When the interview is over and Madison is asked if she would like to listen to her interview about what she thinks of herself as a reader, she responds with, “Can I listen to it later? I just want to read more.”
Madison comes to school every day ready to learn. Her mother or father walks with her to class every day, and most often greets me as well. Madison checks-in, turns in her work and situates herself at her desk with a book or pencil in hand, ready to read and write.
There are a few things I know now as a teacher-researcher from working on this research project with Madison. I realize that the praise and extra homework assignments given to Madison and her parents helped with Madison’s growth in school and in reading. I realize the use of the iPod Nanos and their recording capabilities gave Madison opportunities to review her reading fluency and errors, watch herself read and look for strategies she is using that make her a wise reader, such as using her finger to read, looking at pictures and framing new and bigger words to break them down for easier understanding. I know now that the iPod Shuffle creates an environment for Madison to listen to others reading, which provides her with a reading role model and a chance to hear someone read to her. As she continues to use the Shuffles, Madison reads aloud to herself while wearing her headphones. She is mimicking the fluency, intonation and voice levels as she reads using the Shuffles.
I know now that it is pertinent to work one on one in order to provide good feedback to Madison. The time spent reviewing recordings with Madison, interviewing her about her perceptions on reading, taking running records of her reading and conferring with her about her reading was beneficial to her reading growth. I plan to continue conferring with her throughout the school year.
I know now that the management of the iPod Shuffles and Nanos is critical, and takes much of my time during the preparation hours of my teaching. In the future I would like to share recorded stories in my Collaborative Teams in order to provide a larger bank of stories for students to access for listening. It is my long term goal to have access to each book from our book room in a digital format, so the book resources that already exist at our school could be accessible via the iPod Shuffles and Nanos.
In the future I would like to invite students to use the iPod Nanos to record each other reading and then engage in peer review of the recordings and peer evaluation of fluency and reading strategies. As students become aware of how their peers are progressing in their reading and writing, they could work together on teaching and coaching each other about reading. I am sure students working together by cheering for each other and sharing ideas about each other provides for a stronger and more meaningful learning experience in First Grade.
Another question comes to mind: Is it possible for First Grade students to teach each other how to read and write?
iPod Shuffles and iPod Nanos (Canby School District)
Allen, Patrick A. 2009. Conferring: The Keystone of Reader’s Workshop. Stenhouse Publishers, Portland: Maine.
Allington, Richard L. 2006. What Really Matters for Struggling Readers: Designing Research-Based Programs. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.
Fountas, Irene C. & Pinnell, Gay Su. 1996. Guided Reading: Good First Teaching for All Children. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann.
Hubbard, R. and Power, B. 1993. The Art of Classroom Inquiry: A Handbook For Teacher-Researchers. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann.
Johnston, Peter H. 2004. Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children’s Learning. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers.