Response to Dr. Frye’s article:

 

I personally do not think that we only engage in deep reading when we read a novel.  I know that I engage in deep reading when I read certain genres, such as The One and Only Ivan, but also when I am reading to learn something, such as when I am reading a research article or trying to read a passage for specific information.

Ideally in order for me to read deeply it helps if I am able to read first thing in the morning, when I first get up, with no distractions such as TV or family members.  I have always considered myself to be good reader and reading has never been a struggle for me, but I still do not enjoy the task if I have to read something I am not interested in or I find difficult to understand.    I feel that in order to read deeply, a person has to have enough reading fluency and automaticity with the material to free up the brain to think deeply and comprehend.  I do not have any experience reading books using e-reading tools.  I do know that I do not feel like I am deep reading while reading articles on line.  I have to print out articles in pdf.   so that I am able to highlight, make notes, and re-read if necessary.

I feel like the ability to read is something a normal person does not loose, unless there is brain damage, such as a stroke or other traumatic brain injury.  It is similar to riding a bike.  While you do not lose the ability to do the task, you certainly will not get any more proficient at it unless you practice and read more.  I know the more I read, whether for pleasure or deep reading such as with research articles, etc.  I have acquired skills that allow me to pick up on pertinent information.  The more I read the deeper my knowledge base becomes and I am able to determine the validity of the information I read and what it is supported by.

National Geographic Zoobooks has always been one of my favorite magazines to read.  Zoobooks and Ranger Rick were my readings of choice growing up and my nana always tried to subscribe to them so I would have them to read.  The creature feature that I explored on the National Geographic site is the American Alligator, since my brother, who lives in Charleston, literally has one living in his backyard pond (not by choice, I think the alligator lives there more because of urban sprawl).  One of my favorite features was the video sound and listen to the creature.  What I would like to know is how in the world do they get the footage on all of these animals for these clips?    The other features that made it easy to peruse and read are the tabs breaking down the information.  This site is a good example for students to understand and realize what a quality website with reliable information looks like.  This website definitely has well established boundaries with organization and standards.

 

I really like the National Geographic young explorer link.  This would be ideal for all levels of my struggling readers.  I could use this site with my iPad and let my older students plug in with earphones and have the information read to them.  They could follow along with the text and learn valuable information that they are required to know.  This exposure could help them build background knowledge that may assist in improving reading skills by being able to pick up on context clues in a passage they read later on.  The teacher resources are an added bonus.  The only feature that I liked about this site is that the articles are fairly current and if a classroom teacher is unable to supply each student with a copy, she may be able to project this with a projector to allow the entire class to enjoy it.  She could demonstrate the read aloud feature so students may be able to explore the site on their own and read more if they so choose.

The creature feature for the mountain gorilla allows us to see the gorilla in a more humane light.  I think this creature feature could be used with various levels of students.  The first seven slides could be used for more advanced readers, while the quick facts could be for students who are just beginning web research and needs to realize how to find information they can use.  The sound and video also adds to the reading of the text and allows visualization of the facts as the students reads.  The site was somewhat like reading a non fiction e-text.

 

I had no idea about wegivebooks.org.  This site has a lot of potential for me to use with my small groups to use with my iPad or through the projector.  I read Llama, Llama, Red Pajama which is a story about a llama who is afraid of the dark and doesn’t want to go to sleep, which is something my kinders are able to relate to.  Not only can they relate to, the book focuses on rhyming words, which my kinders need help with.   I recognize many of these books from our book fair that we have going on at school right now.  While I still do not think these books should replace paper books, it does allow access to books when a teacher or student is unable to purchase all the books available on this site.  Not only does this site have many books, there are also teacher links to access.  I joined the website and I plan on sharing it with other teachers at my school.

 

I have looked at the New Essential standards for Information and Technology. I do feel like we as teachers are responsible for teaching our students 21st Century technology skills.  I know that at school may be the only time many students have exposure to technology and especially training and exploration that is beneficial and helpful to them.  Students need to realize that the internet has purposes other than facebook and games.  But I also think that it is pertinent that teachers understand there has to be a balance with the use of technology.  I do not think that early beginning readers need e-books to learn how to read.  I think the paper version is much more appropriate for them to be able to go back and re-read, take home and share with other without having to keep up with an expensive tool that parents may not know how to use and access.  At the same time, early grades could are also an opportune time to expose children to quality websites like National Geographic for kids, both the animal sites and the young explorer website.  Our school uses the Weekly Reader website ( http://www.weeklyreader.com/    that is similar to the National Geographic young explorer website.  Exposure in the lower grades to web research can help make students more comfortable with technology.

I feel that a good, qualified teacher will teach and reach students regardless of supplies and technology.  I also feel that knowledgeable teachers with advanced degrees will not make better teachers if they do not or are not allowed to use their skills and training in the classroom.  Technology when properly used can help make our jobs easier at times, but effective teaching predates technology and the internet by hundreds of years.  With that being said, school districts and the state are going to have to step up with funding to make wireless internet and e-readers available to teachers and students if teachers are to facilitate 21st century learners and be able to meet Common Core Standards.

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3 responses »

  1. Lori –

    I agree with what you said about the ability to achieve deep reading not being something that we lose (not counting circumstances like brain injury). I do feel that it is a skill that gets built with more practice over time and that if not done often it is harder to achieve. I think many people no longer find the time to read material which allows them to achieve deep reading and while they can read just fine and could deep read, it becomes harder to attain when not done often.

    I agree that an interest in what you read has more effect on deep reading than the actual content. While it is easiest for me to deep read when reading a novel, there are plenty of articles that I find interesting and also achieve deep reading. That being said, there have also been plenty of articles that I’m not interested in where I find myself getting to the bottom of a page and asking myself, “What did I just read”?

  2. Lori-

    I am very similar to your style of reading- printing off the PDF file so I can physically highlight and take notes in the margins. I know with a lot of e-readers you can do that too, but for me, I feel like I can get into deep reading if I physically have the copies in my hands. I find that I do more skimming when reading an article online. With your comment of, “I feel like the ability to read is something a normal person does not lose,” does this mean you agree or disagree with the comment Dr. Frye made about “if you don’t use it, you lose it? For my students, I notice if they don’t practice reading over the summer, they come back in the fall lost. They have forgotten basic skills and are sometimes back to square one. Do you notice this with your special education students?

    I agree with you about the National Geographic Zoobooks. I love the video sounds and to watch the creature in action. This is so helpful for my students as they have only possibly have seen the picture of the animal, but never in actual movement or in sound. I remember playing the elephant sound from this website and was shocked because what I imagined it would sound like was not. I was thinking of the regular circus elephant sound that I have always heard (hard to explain), but the sounds I heard on this website were quite different, and amazing! I also love the creature feature and agree with you on the quick facts and the other slides of information. The quick facts can be used for your struggling readers, or if the studies are to just find quick facts for a project, it is nice to have it all right there quickly.

    I am glad you found wegivebooks as a resource you can use. I think it is a great site for teachers to use, and like you, it does look great on the big screen or projector screen in the classroom. This is great for whole group reading, or small group reading. The book selection is great too and is quite easy to find a book and genre you want to read. Good for you for sharing with your coworkers! Sometimes the best finds are worth sharing with others because most times I find that others do not know of some of these awesome treasures we find!
    Great work and good reflections!

    -Amanda

  3. Lori,

    I thought your comments were well-stated! I can definitely relate to you in having to learn how to read articles online better and acquiring appropriate skills to do so. I definitely enjoy reading hard-copies of text better than reading online, but reading digitally is something that I am working on learning to like.

    I also really liked what you said about early readers not using e-readers when learning how to read. I definitely agree that this is not necessary. However, I still believe teachers should find a reasonable balance between digital readers and printed text and allow students to use both in the classroom. In addition, I also agree with you that school districts need to make sure they are willing and able to provide appropriate resources for teachers to use in helping their students master the 21st century skills.

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