Teaching Screenagers

Teaching Screenagers
My life in the fastlane

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

iPods: Making a Difference in Reading Comprehension

The use of iPods has become somewhat routine in our classroom now. Students use the iPods routinely, at least 3 to 4 times per week. We use them as responders by writing our answers on the iPod and sharing with the group. A favorite app is dictionary.com that we use at least twice a week to work on vocabulary development. We have just started creating flashcards using the free app iFlashcards to review key vocabulary and content in history. Just last week, we began to use video. Students partnered up and took a video of each other reading their goal sentences. We read and excerpt from David Pink's book Drive called "What's your sentence?". Students then developed their own sentence defining their goal for a decade from now. We plan on combining this work into an iMovie in our afterschool computer writing group, "Writing for Change." The motivation and innovation continues six weeks into this project.

One of my key questions for this year is "Will increased prosody "fluency" improve student reading comprehension?" Rather than leveling the fluency reading practice to individualized reading levels and completing a quick daily fluency practice, we are looking at something a little different. Students are exposed to the grade level material at least twice through the iPod during the week we explore a text. Here are some notes from the past two selections in Holt Chapter 6, grade level 6.

In two of our periods, students use the iPods to listen to the class story once, then the second time, read along with the iPod to improve their prosody. Students reported that it was helpful to read along with the story, and with everyone wearing headphones, there wasn't any stigma as students explored intonation and pacing or volume. I was able to walk around and take notes on my target kids or pull a student or two to record their voice using the voice recorder. Students have also reported that they like the opportunity to pause the story and repeat a section to clarify something or highlight and answer from the text.

Students then record a selection from the story, this week from the realistic fiction piece Eleven by Sandra Cisneros. They read a short passage from the story and scored it on our Prosody scoring guide to reflect on strengths and weaknesses. I will then pull the student recordings and the student scored guide and give me own feedback. 

Students take a selection test at the end of each story. Students do not use the iPod for this test, as we want to measure what students will do independently. Here is something interesting I am tracking, and that is the reading comprehension scores on these tests.

In one period, most students in the class tested FBB or BB on the STAR assessment last Spring. Students have been using grade level curriculum with support strategies including repeated reading and choral reading. In the past two assessments, students in the class went from a class average of 66 % before iPods to our most recent score of 85.7 percent. A growth of over 20 percent!

In another period, all students scored Advanced on the STAR assessment last Spring. Since using the iPods in class, we have noticed students continue to average 90 percent or better on selection tests.

In my third period, students range from Basic to Proficient on their STAR assessment last Spring. In the past two assessment, students in this class went from a class average of 75 percent to 86 percent, again significant growth of 10 percent.

It will be interesting to study how students will perform on the Chapter tests given every 4 to 6 weeks. We have used iPods this entire chapter so I am hopeful that this progress will cross into that assessment as well.

1 comment:

  1. The testing is interesting... I have been giving a cumulative exam after each major unit. This past test every class average increased - I actually designated a portion of the test that only had questions that we covered using ipods - the success rate on those questions was around 80% for all students... It seems to be working!!!!