When I was in middle school and high school, I remember that reading Social Studies and Science textbooks was a matter of finding the answer in the passage. For the math textbook, I had to understand and solve problems by applying the formula or concept. For the English textbooks, I had to do literary analysis, a very specific type of reading. There was the textbook and myself, sometimes a weak combination.
So how do we help students to read for meaning today through the use of technology?
Model our thinking process as we read a passage to the students? An English teacher may ask “If Don Quixote becomes crazy by reading books, will we become crazy by watching tv?” We can digitally record this thinking for the first chapter of the book and then have students record their thinking aloud for subsequent chapters. These digital recordings can become podcasts or web movies that capture the deep thinking in the reading.
Have students answer questions as they go through the text, readings, or websites? In Social Studies, a question can be “What other rivers have been the center of civilizations?” In Science, a question may be ” What other reactions have required heat? Why?” Students can respond in a class blog so that students can see the many possible answers.
Ask students to compare/contrast what they are reading to a previous reading using a T-chart in a Word chart form or in an Inspiration-like form? In what ways are Don Quixote and A Midsummer Night’s Dream similar?
Assign students to find images that prove the idea that they are talking about using Google or Flickr? Images of “bread” from around the world show the universal need for food.
Ask students high-level thinking questions about the topic and have them respond with a personal response system. Sancho is most like which other sidekick? A- B- C- D-
Have them use a Smartboard-like device to underline all the words that show the same meaning or emphasis? Students can read a website passage and underline all the words or phrases that show the author’s bias.
How else do you have your students read for deep meaning through technology? Share your ideas. If I get them within the week, I might include them in an article I’m writing on reading and technology.
© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007