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6 Ways to Support Independent Readers with Digital Apps and Devices

What does independent reading look like inside your classroom? How are your students interacting with text outside of school hours? Mobile apps and digital devices can support independent readers. It doesn’t matter if they swipe through pages on a tablet or turn the pages of paperback. As students of all ages navigate a wild world of text, the technology on their desk, in their backpack or safe in their pocket, can enhance their reading experience.

Looking to support independent readers both inside and outside of the classroom? There are a few ways you can leverage the power of digital tools. From helping students find new books to giving them space to share their reading with the world… a computer with a web browser or a portable mobile device can totally transform the way we think about independent reading. As a former classroom teacher and current professional development facilitator, I’m always looking for ways to support students and their teachers as they explore new text. In the list below you’ll find some strategies and favorite tools to support you independent readers in the digital world.

6 Ways to Support Independent Readers with Digital Apps and Devices

Find new books

With access to the Internet and a variety of social networks, students can find new books to read. Earlier this year I featured MoxieReader on my site. It’s a powerful blended literacy program for school and home use. One of its awesome features is leveled book recommendations for students. You might also have students identify a favorite author or series of books. They can also use that information for a keyword search to find related texts.

Share opinions

Talking about our reading lives is a lifelong experience we want to demonstrate for students. I love sharing new books I’ve read. I’m always looking for someone to chat with about a character’s actions or a surprising plot development. As your students dive into new books, they can use online tools to share their opinions too. From creating a video reflection to producing a book trailer, students can share their opinions with open-ended creation tools like ones featured on this list. Book reviews are now a part of MoxieReader too and peer-to-peer book reviews are a great way to grow a community of readers and get students talking about books.

Connect with a reading buddy

Students in your classroom might naturally find someone with similar interests. Your students might have the same passion for a specific genre as a peer. You might also choose to locate a suggested reading buddy for students or utilize a partner class in a faraway place. If students are connecting with reading buddies near or far, they might use commenting features on a collaborative document or a Google Hangout to connect with their reading buddy.

Track their reading

In addition to helping students locate new books to explore, MoxieReader also lets students track their reading. I love how the team at MoxieReader describes their app as “a fitness tracker for a student’s reading” as opposed to a traditional reading log. Using technology tools to support independent readers in this manner, means students can update their reading progress while they’re on the go and you can keep track of their reading from just about anywhere.

Provide feedback

Digital tools make it easier than ever to provide students feedback on their reading progress. Through video reflections and virtual exit slips, students can share their progress too. They can use various media to share the story of their learning. You can provide feedback as they share their responses to reading.

Tell the world

Social media also makes it possible for students to share their learning with the world. You might decide to have students choose a notable quote from their book. Alternatively, they could choose a  favorite moment that they feel is tweetable. If you do challenge students to share a response in 280 characters or less, a class Twitter page or a school Facebook page is a great way to share their learning with the world.

As you use digital tools to elevate and energize reading experiences in your classroom, think of the different ways you can support independent readers throughout the school year. Learn more about MoxieReader by visiting their website!

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Blog Author and EdTech Consultant Dr. Monica Burns

Monica Burns

Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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