Search This Blog

Friday, May 25, 2012

Apps and Ideas for Literature Circles on iPads

Mobile Learning | Feature

Apps and Ideas for Literature Circles on iPads

By Margo Pierce       05/08/12

Technology is sliding a power cord, app, or some other innovation into every aspect of education, even elementary reading classes. Today, the use of e-books and iPads in the classroom are taking reading to a "whole new level," according to Diane Darrow, library information media specialist at Bel Aire Elementary in Tiburon, Calif and an Apple Distinguished Educator.

Darrow says that traditional methods for teaching reading have centered on a verbal-only methodology, which she describes as using one track in the brain. This approach fails to utilize other ways of learning that engage students and supports the development of reading skills such as comprehension, retention, and vocabulary.

"You want to give [kids] different types of learning experiences so that learning sticks in the brain," Darrow says. "If you're only using a one-track system, which we have been for years, it's less likely that the understanding is going to stay. If you make it more memorable and you give them a variety of different systems to use to articulate--drawing, web clips--you're using more aspects of the mind, which makes it a more memorable experience, and it's more likely they'll remember information."

One method of getting kids to engage reading in different ways is through a tablet-based literature circle. Darrow builds off the Harvey Daniels book (and methodology) in Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in Book Clubs and Reading Groups (revised 2002). Lit circles developed as an innovation in reading that advocates for student ownership of learning. Students organize into small-group, peer-led book discussions. Each student chooses (or is given) a role that corresponds to a specific task in the reading process--researcher, vocabulary enricher, illustrator. As they read, students gather information to bring back to the group to help each other understand the story.