Digital Reading: What’s Essential in Grades 3-8
by William L. Bass II and Franki Sibberson
Thanks to Michelle Nero, Cathy Mere, and Laura Komos for hosting this virtual PD again this summer. I think this is the fourth summer that I have participated and I always feel like I “get” far more than I give.
I appreciated that the book started with the NCTE position paper review. I have not taught in the US for years and although I try to keep abreast of the thinking, I have not spent time with this document at all.
Chapter 1: I enjoyed reading their definition of “digital” and thinking more deeply about the differences between linear and nonlinear texts. I need to be more specific in my instruction about reading these types of texts differently. I am definitely guilty of assuming that my third graders already know how and when to click on hyperlinks and track their thinking. I liked that the authors emphasized what digital reading is and is not. I worry that the students are getting used to a more surface understanding and this was brought out in this chapter. The “what matters most” being that classrooms focus on authenticity, intentionality, and connectedness really made me think about the ways I have to model digital reading in the class more and integrate it more purposefully.
Chapter 2: Recognizing that time, ownership, and response are needed for growth as a reader made me happy that I have kept true to my own beliefs about choice. I feel pressured at times to do more guided reading with group sets of texts that the students have not chosen, simply because they are the books that we have multiple copies of and this chapter gives me more confidence to limit this. This chapter challenged me to be more inclusive in my read alouds and shared reading experiences. I do not often choose blogs or websites as my sources. I also have to be more explicit in teaching strategies for accessing information from digital sources via mini lessons. I have never taught my students how to track their thinking when using ereaders. If authenticity is key (and I really believe it is) I have to do a better job of meeting my readers where they are, and I know some of them DO read on ereaders (and in fact I have two in the classroom for them). This chapter also pushes me to work more wth my students in identifying and developing their intentionality, first by having them become more aware of their choices, then by helping them to refine their skills and repertoire.
Chapter 3 is going to focus on authenticity and I hope to get more ideas for how to push myself here.
I was lucky enough to have heard Franki Sibberson speak more about her digital workshop in the last few days at nErDCampMI and she shared some resources and ideas that I will definitely incorporate in the upcoming school year. I LOVE that she also teaches third grade, as it makes me really look at what I need to do with a “no excuses” attitude, because even though we are teaching far apart from each other, kids are kids. I also appreciate hearing the voice of “real” classroom teachers.
I look forward to continuing to think all this through with the other teachers participating in #cyberPD!