Thursday, July 9, 2015

Digital Reading #cyberPD, chapters 1/2

Image result for #cyberpd          Digital Reading: What's Essential in Grades 3-8

Follow along with our Google+ community and learn from #cyberPD.
This summer we will be reading Digital Reading by Franki Sibberson and Bill Bass.
Thank you to Michelle NeroCathy Mere, and Laura Komos for setting up this learning community!

As I read this book, I'm thinking about the information I want to share with my colleagues.  As a literacy specialist/coach, I hope to use my learning to inspire others to try something new!  As I write my posts, I'm thinking of what I want to share.  I don't want to summarize the chapters, that can get too long.  But what are the points that stick to me the most?  What are the big picture notes that will inspire teaching to reach students?  That's what I'm writing about.  

Chapter 1:  Defining Digital Reading

Points mentioned in the text and what I see happening in schools:
* kids are more and more familiar with digital devices and how to use them
* BUT kids don't know how to use them to further learning
* knowing how to use an app, how to create folders, how to play games is not digital learning.
As stated on page 6, "Just because students are "good" with technology does not necessarily mean they are literate in the digital age."

What is digital literacy?
* being intentional with digital tools
* knowing what to use to enhance learning
* integrating information between devices and pages
* being intentional with all learning texts

Questions I'm pondering:
* how do teachers move from using apps to reinforce to using digital tools in an intentional way?
* I heard Kristin Ziemke talk at AllWrite and she talked about picking a few apps that are good and intentional in their use and get good at those.  But what works best, especially in 3/4gr?
* how do I take reading on a device to the next level?
* what are some digital tools, sites, apps that I can use in my teaching?

Chapter 2:  From Reading Workshop to Digital Reading Workshop

We're in the process of changing towards a workshop model.  This is a perfect time to integrate digital technology, since everything is new.  I think in order to do it right, we need to slowly integrate technology - what are the parts we can add?  What would someone who is overwhelmed be comfortable adding?  Where would the starting points be?

I want to remember:
The structural components of reading workshop:

  • mini-lessons
  • independent reading
  • individual conferences
  • small-group instruction
  • share session and opportunities for response
  • assessment that informs instruction
Questions I'm pondering:
Franki shares questions she asked herself when thinking about the types of reading she does in her class.  
Questions I would ask a teacher who is just beginning the digital reading journey:
  • Do I only read aloud texts that are from traditional books or do I share digital texts? audio books? blog posts?
  • Do we use web resources such as author websites and book trailers to help us dig deeper into the book we are reading?
  • How do we connect with authors whose work we read?
  • How do we connect with other classes who are reading/have read the same text?
  • How do we track our thinking during read-aloud?  Do I use a variety of tools or only easel and chart paper?
  • Do we connect with the authors of any of the things we read to extend the conversation?
Independent Reading/Reading Conferences
  • Do we use online resources for book previewing and book selection?
  • Do students have digital options during reading time?
  • Are students connected to others because of their reading (a social component)?
  • Do students know where to go to find information?
  • Are students intentional as readers or are they passive consumers?
  • What habits are students developing behind those of traditional readers?
  • Do I value all of the reading that students do at school and at home?
Reading Mini-Lessons
  • Do I use digital texts as well as traditional texts when teaching mini-lessons?
  • Do I share my own process, consuming and composing in several types of media?
  • Do I use mini-lesson time to demonstrate tools?
Shared Reading
  • How can I include a variety of texts for students to process together?
Content Reading
  • Have I found sources for content reading that go beyond textbooks and traditional texts?
  • Do I rely on traditional texts or do I use sites?
  • How am I supporting the importance of visual information in the content areas?
  • How do we build understanding across different forms of media?
  • How do we connect information to synthesize understanding?
My next steps:
From the above questions, there are a few (not many!) that I have implemented.  But, how do I hand off what I have done to teachers so they feel successful in those areas?  
With such a long list of questions, I'd like to concentrate  on the read-aloud and content reading first.  Many of the questions in the read-aloud question I've tried and/or dabbled with.  Many of our classes have had some experience with it, but I'd like to help teachers set up the tools they need to feel confident to do more themselves (Skype visits, tweeting authors, class blogging, sharing blogging, biblionasium sites).  I have not used digital texts at all, so this is something I'd like to try more.
Along with that, I think using digital texts and sites for content reading is another area I'd like to expand, first with myself, then sharing with teachers.  I am very interested in the idea of using digital media for writing and using multiple texts (traditional and digital) and synthesizing information.

Are you a coach?  Where would you start?
Are you a classroom teachers?  What areas do you think someone who is just starting this journey would want to concentrate on first?


  1. Hi Michelle,

    I am glad to see another coach in this group! I am a literacy teacher educator and am reading the book with your same lens: how can I share this with my graduate students and the teachers I work with? I love the questions you charted to pose to your teachers. In my post, I created a printable based on the chart in the book, but focused on my own practice. Hopefully you will find it helpful in designing professional development for your own teachers!


  2. I was left with lots of questions after these first two chapters, too! I'm hoping Franki explains how she teaches kids about RSS feeds!

  3. It's a wonderful, and over-whelming, list of questions, Michele. I'm not sure where I would start, but guess it would be with an individual teacher, seeing where they are, what they already use, & go from there. Here's one thing I did in the classroom this year when I returned & got the kids blogging. In workshop lessons, I would offer ideas for the posts, give examples I saw from their own posts, then share from other blogs I read. I encouraged the students to look for how bloggers wrote, the openings, the expansion of the story, the closings. We made lists of what we liked, what didn't work so well, etc. As for research, which is what all our students do, & much of it online, that's another approach-more complicated, & students differ greatly in their experience, even the older ones! Thanks for the great questions!

  4. Michele,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and joining in the #cyberPD conversations! You always share so much more to think about ... I also read PD books with several lenses: my resource classroom, sharing with classroom teachers, and my home! You ask some great questions that I hope through more conversations and reflections, some answers or beginning of answers will arise.

    Our districts appear to be in similar positions as we are moving to the workshop model as well --- finally!!! Adding the tech piece can feel a bit overwhelming, but planning in intentional ways, it doesn't have to be. I love the thought of starting with read alouds and content area reading first. I think that is super smart and would love to continue talks about that ...

    Sometimes I leave reflections with more questions than answers! Which is a good thing! Thanks Michele!

    Michelle :)

  5. Michele,
    My district is in pretty much the exact opposite place as yours! We have technology in the hands of students (1:1 with Chromebooks in 4th - 8th, Kuno tablets in K-3, BYOD in HS) but haven't committed to a workshop approach yet. We talk around that idea, but it's never been directly suggested. I know we have some teachers who use it in their classrooms, but it seems to fully support differentiation and personalized learning...

    You posed some fabulous questions that I need to think about, too!

  6. We love the way you organized this post. It is a wonderful post to show students how to organize their thinking as they are reading. We have lots of questions too and can't wait to read and discuss the rest of the chapters.

  7. Michele,
    I enjoyed thinking through the important points in your post. Starting a workshop AND balancing digital tools could be challenging. I'm wondering if it isn't easiest to think about using them in read aloud and mini-lessons. I've found with my students that I begin using digital tools/texts in my whole group lessons. It's never long before someone asks if they can give that a try on their own. For example, if I use Educreations as we respond to a text, it isn't long until someone asks if they can give that a try during independent learning time in workshop. Maybe it is also picking one or two things that would be easy to do as a class. Response in applications like Padlet or Today's Meet might be a good way to begin.

    Good luck. It sounds like a great journey lies ahead.


  8. Michele,
    I am a literacy coach too, and will be in the classroom the other half of my day. First, I like the way you've highlighted the main points. I think that's a smart way to share information with teachers. I have many of the same questions you do. I want to make sure I'm doing a good job of embedding technology into my reading and writing workshops without it being something extra.