I think many schools have rules limiting the use of electronic devices for a variety of reasons. Student safety is one and safe keeping of the device is another. Both very logical reasons to be leery of young kids bringing electronic devices to school.
I teach 5th graders who struggle to read and write. We are a literacy room. They are hard working, kind, eager to learn, wonderful kids. Getting any kind of reading going in our room this year has been a challenge. We are now reading, Because of Winn–Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. I have a student that needs a little help to read this book. She brings a kindle to school with the audio/visual version of the book uploaded. She plugs in her headset and very successfully and happily reads along with everyone else in the class.
A few days after she started using her device a few other students brought their devices to school and wanted to know if they could use them. I hesitated. I laid some ground rules and said yes. We discussed keeping their electronic readers in their bags when not in use and only pulling them out for reading. I was a bit nervous as I do know the school policy. I debated whether I should even share this post. But as I watched them eagerly help each other load free books onto their devices using Google Play Books, I felt I must share. The change in my classroom with the use of these readers is really rather stunning and quite obvious. To be honest the change I’m seeing can be part electronic reader, part Winn-Dixie, part post winter break maturity. But kids are begging to get on their readers to read challenging books. I noticed that the book, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, seems to be leading the choice of books being downloaded and read. Who can ask for more? I can’t wait to have book talks about this amazing book. One girl who read Wonder, just downloaded The Julian Chapter, which is only available electronically. I also downloaded it so she and I can discuss our reading of the chapter together.
I’m hearing authentic book talk! I’m seeing genuine excitement to read! And the kids and I are loving it! This seems to be a very real and valuable use of electronic devices in school. So….
Carpe Diem and Read!