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.