I am working with a group of 12 students who are below grade level in reading. Most of the students struggle with missing phonetic skills as well as comprehension issues. It is hard for them to sit still and they cannot work/learn in large groups. I am looking for ways to motivate these kids and to teach them to enjoy reading. I’m also hoping to see an increase in fluency skills.
- How does technology influence motivation to increase reading skills?
- How does comprehension improve when students listen to an audio recording of a chapter book?
- How does student motivation to read improve when iPod touch are used for auditory processing?
- How will student fluency rates increase when iPod touch are used as a recording tool?
- What happens to behavior when students use the iPod as a reading tool?
Download or view my presentation here:
My idea was to have students read along in a chapter book while listening to the story on the iPod. In addition to motivating students to read, I was hoping to see students improve in three areas: comprehension, fluency and behavior. We started with the story Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. After listening to each chapter, students kept a journal including 3 vocabulary words they learned and a summary of the chapter. When they were finished listening to two chapters individually, the whole group reviewed before taking a quiz. Along the way students created a setting map, character description, and a plot profile to aid in comprehension. Finally, students were given a unit test. Eight of the twelve students passed with 80% or higher. Based on class discussions, student interviews, and the test results, I noticed an increase in comprehension overall.
I know student behavior was improved based on observations. I kept an anecdotal record of on task behavior and found that while students were using the iPods I had no off task behaviors. Behaviors did increase when the listening was over and the written work began. However, my instructional assistant helped keep students on track by reviewing the chapters as students wrote their summaries. I also observed an increase in student motivation to read chapter books when they knew the iPods would be used. Unfortunately, students were less likely to read a chapter book on their own.
I know that students felt the iPods were a benefit to their reading skills based on a survey. All students replied that the iPods helped make them better readers. Most students felt the audio helped them figure out words they would normally have been stuck on if they had to sound them out on their own. Students also commented on the fact that comprehension was easier when they didn’t struggle with words. Another interesting thought from a student was that it felt like the reader on the iPod was there to help them with hard words. Students noted that they were able to recognize those hard words easier the next time they came up in their reading.
The student video interviews provided me with a unique insight to the student’s thinking about how they learn to read with the iPods. This was probably my best resource. I was, however, disappointed in my parent survey results. Many parents skipped the comment sections and the results indicated that very few read regularly with their child at home. The parent survey did not provide me with any information that was useful to my research, but did inform me about support for reading practice at home. It was exciting to see students who had previously struggled with reading on their own performing well with iPods in class.
Watch Travis' video here:
Watch Will's video here:
Watch Bradley's video here:
Next Steps/New Questions
Next year I’d like to spend more time with the microphones and working on fluency skills. The microphones came later in my research and I didn’t feel like we used them to their full fluency potential. I intend to increase the frequency of fluency practice so it becomes a daily habit. Up to this point I have only able to practice with the microphones once per week. I’d also like to see students choose a novel to study on their own rather than having the whole group work on a teacher selected novel. I’m certain motivation to read will be increased when students have a choice and can use the iPod to help with decoding. Support will be needed if I do individual novels. I will need help teaching the students to create Keynotes, digital scrapbooks and will need regular daily access to laptops.
If I could do the research again I would find other ways for students to show their comprehension. Some ideas I had were: keeping a Keynote diary of their reading using audio recordings, assigning a character to each student and creating video interviews, and creating a digital scrapbook with photos, video and audio.
As I reflect on my project I am thrilled with the outcomes. Students were motivated to read and finished chapter books with strong comprehension. Behavior with this kinesthetic class was greatly improved when technology was put in place. Fluency did improve, but could be even greater if regular practice with the microphones was available. The best “side effect” was the use of iPods to improve writing. My homeroom class used the iPods for spell check, thesaurus and dictionaries. But the best usage was the voice memos to record rough drafts. Students caught errors in their writing and actually revised writing when it didn’t “sound right”. This is the toughest part of the writing process to get students to do because they just want to be done with the paper. But being able to record their voice and use the iPods motivated them to improve their writing. This perfectly tied into our collaborative team SMART goals of increasing sentence fluency and conventions. It was so nice to have such a useful tool in the classroom that I ended up applying to all subjects, not just reading. I don’t know how I lived without the iPods before this opportunity and I certainly don’t want to live without them from now on.