Interactive Reading Notebooks seem to be all of the rage. Its no wonder because Common Core State Standards require students to read, examine, and discuss a variety of texts. The reading notebook is a tool to aide comprehension, write about thinking, and provide evidence from text. So, we as teachers, should provide students with many opportunities to examine and discuss them. However, I worry sometimes there is too much emphasis on always having students WRITE about their thinking. We never seem to give students a chance to really “think and talk” about their reading. When students have to write they spend a lot of cognitive energy on composing the message. Because of this, many students tend to choose to write what is easy rather than going deeper. Therefore, why not allow students to record their thinking using video, audio recording, and finding evidence by highlighting text.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in the reciprocal nature of reading and writing. I think the more students write the better readers they become. However, I have to ask myself when I am planning my lesson, “What is my purpose?” If my purpose is to guide students to aide in comprehension then I may want to spend some time allowing students to choose how they want to share what they know about the text. That is why I created my own version of the “Interactive Reading Notebook” using the Book Creator app and other creation apps. So here is how it works:
First, begin by aiding comprehension through the use of graphic organizers. This will scaffold students’ thinking when they are exploring texts. If students need to recount stories or analyze character traits the graphic organizer will help keep them organized. I usually create my graphic organizers as png files and add them to my camera roll via Dropbox.
Now if you have 1:1 iPads it works great but if you only have access to one iPad or a small group of iPads, then what? I really think it works the same way. Students would just have to work as a group. If there is only 1 iPad, use this app to create a reading notebook as a whole class and in small groups. Here is a screenshot of a lesson I did with a classroom. I walked around the room and videotaped or recorded them discussing the text. This can then be shared to iBooks and students can use it in centers to help them fill out graphic organizers on their own. Now this example is procedural at best. I hope to get more examples of how students are thinking deeper about text. If you use any of the ideas I’d love to see what your students come up with when working with text.