Monday, July 6, 2015

#CyberPD:Digital Reading-Chapters 1-2

#cyberPD 2015 book

NCTE Statement

I was so excited that this was the chosen #cyberPD book for the summer... especially after ending our first full year of having 1-1 iPads. I feel that in just 2 short years, I have done so much with my class digitally than I ever could have imagined.  So this book and "cyber-opportunity" is a perfect tool to help me reflect on my practice this summer. 

The book starts out with the NCTE Policy Research Brief about "Reading Instruction for ALL Students." 

"Both the qualitative dimensions and the reader-text variables depend upon the professional judgement of teachers, especially the reader-text variables, because only teachers know students well enough to help them find the best text for the purpose at hand, something "leveling" systems cannot do." 

This line really resonated with me because as educators, we have to remember that our professional judgment is so much more important than any program that can be offered to us and that students should not be strictly tied to "a level." Professional judgment will help us guide each and every student. 
The other line that resonated with me was, "Reading research shows that educational policy needs to include professional development opportunities that enable teachers to match instructional approaches to diverse student needs." It goes on to say that teachers need frequent and sustained opportunities to learn with one another...I can't even say enough this statement! Professional development is key for quality literacy instruction and should be ongoing throughout all of your years of teaching. Reading the latest literacy books, connecting with others on Twitter, reading blogs, reading articles from educational reading journals, dialoguing with literacy experts in your district, and taking post-graduate courses are all essential for growth as an effective teacher. 

Chapter 1-Defining Digital Reading

When reading this chapter, I underlined and marked the following lines with !!!!. "Digital reading experiences much be a part of the opportunities we give students on a regular basis. If not, we're discounting much of the reading they will engage with in the future." I couldn't agree more with this statement. If you think about how digital reading has changed in the last 10 years, 5 years, and 2 years...think about what will be happening in the next 2 years, 5 years, or 10 years. We HAVE to prepare our students for their future. The days of paper copies are coming to a quick end and we have to be fluent in navigating digital text so that we can teach our students. For example, which links should they click on, which ones should they stay away from, how can they navigate through the pages, how can they quickly look up a definition of a word, how can they open a new window in order to search something that is related to their reading? All of these are lifelong skills that our students need. 

Another important part of this chapter was that, "Just because students are 'good' with technology does not necessarily mean they are literate in the digital age." We need to guide students to use technology to their fullest potential and not on a "superficial level." It is imperative for students to know what the best tool is for them to use and how to really use the resources that are out there to their fullest potential. Technology is just not a source for checking Instagram and Twitter, playing games, and making Powerpoints.  

I also thought that the line, "We can't wait until a child is competent with traditional literacy skills and then expect the child to transfer those skills to digital text." was important. There are basic reading skills and there are digital literacy skills, and both of these must be taught in this day and age. We can't hold students back from digital literacy until they are reading at a certain level or reach a certain benchmark. I love the chart on page 10 that elaborates on how digital reading expands traditional reading skills. A very useful chart that will make teachers think about their instruction. As it states, "learning to read digital texts must be embedded in the ways we do our literacy work on a day-to-day basis." 

Chapter 2-From Reading Workshop to Digital Reading Workshop

Yes, yes, and yes to using
 the workshop model for reading and embedding the structures of time, choice, and response into the reading workshop. This chapter really gave me something to think to create an effective digital reading workshop! I LOVED the list on page 19 and 20 about the role of digital texts in the literacy workshop. Definitely a stellar list to consider when teaching digital literacy during reading workshop. Are we teaching students how to use apps like Kindle, Overdrive, or the 3M Cloud Library? Are we showing digital texts as we read and modeling what we can do with them as we read? Are we looking for content online instead of looking it up in a textbook or outdated library book? All of these things are important for our students...or rather imperative for our students to know. 
My kindle app right now

I agree that a digital reading workshop is a "structure that honors authenticity, intentionality, and connectedness." The importance of a strong reading community is important, both inside the classroom and outside of our classroom. This is pretty easy to do in 2015. I use Padlet to build a reading community within our classroom and also connect with others outside of our classroom. The students love it and their responses are more meaningful(most of the time) when they know that anyone can see their posts. 
I'm looking forward to building an even stronger digital reading workshop this year! 


  1. Megan,
    I'm thrilled you are joining in the #cyberPD conversation again this year and that you were happy with the book selection! Yeah to Digital Reading and "cyber-opportunity"! (BTW, love that term!)

    You and I had many of the same quotes marked. I also shared my thoughts on the importance of ongoing literacy PD. I'm reading blogs and the latest PD books and participating in Twitter chats and #cyberPD -- but these conversation should also be happening in my school on a daily basis ... and sadly, it isn't.

    There is so much to think about the ever changing world of technology and the navigation of its many layers. But purposeful planning and that word I'm hearing over and over: AUTHENTICITY. We need to embed these authentic digital/traditional reading, researching, writing experiences in our classrooms. Model and think aloud through the navigation and reading to think deeper and eventually thinking deeper at an independent level! Quite an ambitious but doable goal!

    Loved the list of reflective questions about digital text as well. That will be a very useful tool in planning with purpose! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts! Still so much to ponder ...

    (PS I just finished THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN too! Loved. It. My first adult book in a loooong time. Wondering what to read next?!?)

    1. The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand was a great beach read and I couldn't put it down. Just read "After Perfect" by Christina McDowell-a memoir and it was riveting. Both have been much publicized as good summer reading. :-) I usually read an "adult book" then a "kid book."

  2. Megan,
    I have been thinking about your comment that "The days of paper copies are coming to a quick end and we have to be fluent in navigating digital text so that we can teach our students." Being a Star Trek fan, I am reminded of The Wrath of Khan scene in which Spock gives Kirk an antique paper book of "The Tale of Two Cities". In 1982, I never thought that paper books could become obsolete. But, as I moved from being a master's student in the 1990s to more recently a doctoral student, I found my research, reading and writing processes have completely changed because of digital texts. I definitely need to think more about how to help my pre-service teachers think about how digital texts have impacted their literacy and how to approach digital texts with their own students.

    Thanks for your thoughts,

    1. Exactly...I'm amazed at how many things are digital now than ever before. When I think back just 2 years, I see big changes! I love the feel of books and go back and forth between books and digital editions. Both have pros and cons. Leaning towards digital books lately due to price and space! Most things work related are digital now...very few paper copies anymore!

  3. Your post hit home with me I teach 5th grade. I spent yesterday learning about Padlet and am going to try it for the first time this year. Our role modeling is key along with our letting go and allowing our students to become the experts. Thanks for your post.

    1. Padlet has been super engaging for my students! Definitely give it a try! it's super easy!

  4. Hi Megan,

    I was so glad to see you talk about the difference between having students use technology on a superficial levels (checking Instagram and playing games) and using technology to actually comprehend and learn. Just about all of our students can master this superficial level, but need guidance on how to use technology in meaningful ways. If we start early and teach even our youngest learners how to do this, perhaps they will not see technology as being superficial or deep. It will simply be a way to continue the learning. The trick, and my work, is to help teachers see that this work must start early and does not detract from ‘traditional’ learning….it enhances it.

    On another note, I love your blog! I have been having a great time browsing your padlets on what your students are reading. I might steal that idea and use it with my graduate students as a model for their own classrooms. Thank you!


    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad that you enjoyed looking at my blog.

  5. I can tell through your writing you are excited for this text and the work you doing with within your reading workshop. Thanks for sharing your use of padlet to help your foster your reading community. I'm going to ponder this for second grade.

    1. Hey Mandy! 2nd grade now?! No more kindergarten? Padlet is so awesome and I bet with some good scaffolding...your 2nd graders could figure it out and use it effectively. Hope you are doing well and enjoying your summer! I sure am!

  6. I want to tap into the power of Padlet this year.

  7. Megan,
    It is amazing to think of where we were 10 years, 5 year, 2 years ago, and where we may be 2 years, 5 years, 10 years from now. I sometimes don't realize how far we've come until I take a moment to think about the differences from one group of students to the next . Each year I've learned a little more from my students, tried a few more things, and introduced new possibilities.

    I appreciated your points about professional judgement. There are so many factors to consider as we help support young literacy learners. We have to have opportunities to take in all that we know to make smart decisions. Digital tools certainly open new possibilities.

    I'm so glad you could join the conversation again this year. I look forward to learning more from you across the event.


  8. Megan,
    I loved reading your post! It especially hit home with me as I teach 4th grade, too. I agree completely - we have to take the time to include those digital literacy lessons in our workshops so students will move to deeper levels.

    I am a huge fan of Katie and Kristin's work, and I love how you incorporated it into your classroom. Padlet is such a fabulous tool!! We used it a lot this year, and I continue to see that its possibilities are truly endless.

    Thanks for sharing your reflections!