Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cyber PD- Digital Reading Chapters 1 and 2

Chapters 1 and 2

    After reading chapters 1 and 2 I find my mind reflecting about last year and spinning with new ideas for the new school year.  Last year I tried to integrate more digital literacy into my reading and writing workshops.  I showed students how to use different digital tools to compose various writing pieces. Students would choose which tool to craft their writing piece depending on their purpose and audience.  The students crafted reviews, nonfiction pieces, narratives, poetry, etc.  This was a great start but during independent reading time students were not choosing digital pieces to read. Most of the students in my class used technology to write or to research. Even though students could choose the technology tool, what to write about, and what to research on they still needed more.  I realize that I need to think about more authentic ways to help the readers in my room be flexible with various types of texts including digital pieces.   The quote on page 4  really hit home for me: "Digital reading experiences must be a part of the opportunities we give students on a regular basis.  If not, we're discounting much of the reading they will engage with in the future."   
     The words from the quote: opportunities on a regular basis is so key because in the book Franki Sibberson and William Bass mention that we can't view digital reading as an add-on.  The authors mention that students do not have to be competent in traditional literacy skills before we introduce them to digital texts.  As teachers we have to be intentional in providing different experiences so that students can develop skills to navigate digital texts. They need to understand that reading whether it is a digital text or a paper book requires them to use various strategies to make meaning.  Their reading life should impact who they are and change their world.  I know all of this but I didn't think about the importance or even how to incorporate digital pieces on a more regular basis.  
     I used the website Wonderopolis on Tuesdays and Thursdays to incorporate more nonfiction throughout the year.  We would read the articles together and share out what we learned and some fierce wonderings it might have sparked.  I would pick pieces that tied in with either social studies or science standards if possible.  The students loved the website and the videos.  However, I did not observe many students reading this website on their own during independent reading.  Some students did get on the website at home and would discuss what they learned. 
     We would read poetry once a week for Poetry Friday.  I used poems from books and poems from websites.  I used quite a few poems from Amy Ludwig Vanderwater's The Poem Farm.  This is an amazing site to discuss poetry and the author discusses where she got the idea for the poem.  It is a great resource for kids and teachers.  We enjoyed reading and discussing Amy's poems on Fridays but again the students did not visit the website on their own.  I needed to think about the chart on page 8 figure 1.2 where it discusses what digital reading is and isn't.  
     These are just a few examples of how I tried to incorporate digital pieces into my workshop, but I realize that even though this wasn't a one time event I made these digital pieces available during specific times and days.  I didn't think about other ways to flexibly use these resources.  I also didn't take into consideration voice and choice from the students which is key.  I need to think about the intentional use with each of these digital pieces and a place to house these resources for easy access.  I will need to add links to my class web page so that students might start to access these as readers. I will also use the chart on pages 19 and 20 which is figure 2.2 to help me make decisions about text choices across all workshop routines so that I can begin to help students see more options. Figure 2.3 will also guide my thinking in understanding the differences between a traditional and digital workshop.    
    On page 21 it stated: "We have learned again and again that running an authentic reading workshop in this digital age is a huge challenge as we try to keep up with the technology and tools in the midst of teaching children to read." This is so true but it also makes me realize that I need to be more reflective about the digital pieces I read as a reader and why I choose those pieces.  How do the digital pieces I read impact my world? I have focused so much about how I use digital tools to compose pieces so that I can connect with others to push my thinking.   Most of what I read is still traditional books and then I find a space to share my thinking. I do read blogs and tweets to fuel my professional life but how often do I find digital pieces for personal use?  How can I incorporate more digital pieces to push myself as a reader?  So much to ponder and think about but I want myself and my students to be intentional and active readers who know what is possible (pg. 23). 


  1. I have also done some "day of the week" digital reading. Inspired by this book, I want to make digital reading a choice students can make ANY day of the week!

  2. Tonya,

    Welcome to the #cyberPD conversation! What an amazing observation that students didn't choose digital texts during independent reading. I mean, I get it -- I still go back to paper and books. I wonder why. I'm curious if you asked students. There could be so many reasons why and this next class could be the complete opposite! Perhaps continuing to provide continuous opportunities as you mention will encourage the choice of digital reading.

    Those two works keep shouting in my head as well: voice and choice. I like your idea of housing digital links on a class web page as well. Your concluding questions are the same that I am asking myself. Lots of think about still!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Tonya,
    You bring up some interesting points. Much as we work to know students are reading books beyond our classroom, we also should consider their use of digital text. This is complicated as finding sites can be tricky. As you said, it seems adding links after sites have been used to your class webpage would allow students to return again and again. Considering whether they are using these sites during your workshop would help to begin to monitor and support these next steps. Franki & Bill's example of Julia seems to illustrate well the types of purposeful moves we'd hope to see.

    You raise interesting questions about our personal use as well. I continually read from my reader. With the exception of picture books, I prefer a reader for all types of texts. I read blogs, some eZines as well, and social media sites. If I need help doing something, I look to Pinterest, blogs, and YouTube. In my classroom, I tend to use digital tools more for interacting around books than reading them. Like you, I need to work on this a bit.

    You've given me lots to ponder. I'm so glad you have joined this year's #cyberPD conversation.