They're Reading - Now What? What are the strategies that you employ while your students are reading? Is there a way to incorporate technology as a way to help students with their comprehension?
Focusing on making connections and activating prior knowledge DURING reading is just as important as tapping into the prior knowledge BEFORE reading. Check out these 'during reading' ideas at All America Reads. You probably already utilize many of these tactics.
Using graphic organizers helps our students solidify their understanding through pictorial or structural designs. They aid our student's comprehension. One way to add a new twist to graphic organizers is to pair these time-tested tools with technology.
Excel Spreadsheet: An Excel spreadsheet, for example could be created and filled in while reading. The example I have created below is about the characters in our reading story. Students can complete the charts individually, with a partner or whole group. (Brush up on your Excel basics at Internet4Classrooms).
Digital Post it Notes: I LOVE sticky notes....I have my students use Sticky notes while they are reading to record any thoughts or questions relating to the story. Why not have the students post their sticky notes on a free site like Wallwisher. Students will enjoy reading each other's stickies . Check out our Marven Wallwisher. (The picture at the top of this post was created in Wallwisher).
Another site where you can create and post stickies (and then embed them into your website) is Classtools.net. Students can create a word splash that show an understanding of the story or as a class create a Post-it.
TIMELINES: Sequencing activities also strengthen comprehension while students are reading. Using a timeline will help children make connections and put them in a logical, sequential order.
There are many sites that offer free timelines. Some are more involved than others. For elementary students I suggest using the ReadWriteThink timeline. These timelines can be organized by date, time, event, or other and can be printed vertically or horizontally. Another timeline suitable for elementary students is from TeAch-nology. It's simple and easy to use (although you are limited in your description of events.)
These activities during reading can be paper and pencil tasks, but what if we were able to create these organizers digitally? Would our students be more engaged and therefore more motivated? Would it effect their comprehension in a positive way? I think the answer is yes. Why not find out for yourself!
(Part 3 of the series will deal with Activating Prior Knowledge AFTER reading).