Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reading with a Nook

I know, I know the eReader debate is a passionate one but check this out!

We have a Nook Color in our house and I am reading the Percy Jackson books to my son Gavin.  He seems to be enjoying the adventures and twists and turns that Rick Riordan has written in the first book The Lightning Thief.

Here's the cool twist with using the Nook that I have discovered both as a dad and a teacher.


You can highlight different sections of the text as you read.  At first glance this may seem inconsequential but wait...there's more.

I typically read a few chapters ahead of Gavin and highlight:

  • new characters

  • interesting or challenging words

  • important sections of the text.

Then I hand over the Nook and let him read.  He can see my highlights and after which we can talk about the book.

Through this process I am modeling my own reading habits. I am thinking out load for my son by the use of these highlights and it signals to him that, "uh oh, daddy highlighted something here, it must be important."

What has quickly happened is that he is now highlighting sections while he reads which again may seem inconsequential but wait...there's more.


There's a section built into these eReaders that allows you to scroll through all of your highlighted sections which for me, gives me a heads up as to what his thinking is.  How cool is that?

Just that feature alone is worth the cost of admission, but it gets even better.


Not only can you simply highlight sections or words but you can then insert a note.  A note.  Unbelievable.

With this feature I am then able to jot down:

  • questions I have

  • predictions I make

  • connections

  • random thoughts that are connected to that particular part of the book.

I am hooked.  Seriously hooked.

Also, just like with the highlighted sections you can also scroll through an archived list of your notes as well. Just too cool!

Think of the possibilities.

Over the course of several years we can have a collection of all our highlighted sections and notes off all the books we have read on one of these cool devices.  Whew!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Reading Aloud and Taking Notes

I love experimenting during my read aloud time. It gives me a chance to introduce a variety of genres to kids that they may not have otherwise picked on their own. In most cases, read aloud is one of the favorite times of the day for the students and it is for me too!

Today we started reading Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. We have a copy of this book on tape and I thought I would play the story and have the kids follow along with their copies of the book in hand.

In the midst of listening to the opening pages I grabbed a pen from the Smartboard tray and began taking notes. I drew boxes and bubbles to highlight the setting, and made lists of characters and added details to each as we discovered them.

Modeling this process and how I organized the main ideas and details of the story will certainly help my students do the same.  The notes will provide a visual to help facilitate discussions, ask or answer questions, clarify misunderstanding, and strengthen their own understanding of the story.

One unintended consequence that just occurred to me is now I will have the ability to quickly review these notes each day before reading again.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

In Flight

I think this is a good analogy for the teaching profession these days.

We are passionate educators dealing with a tsunami of changes along the way. It's stressful and requires us to be adaptive and flexible in the midst of our flight. Our common Vision points us in the right direction and together we will accomplish our mission.