Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Help reluctant readers with Flipboard

Students not enjoying reading is not a new thing.  This epidemic has been going on for quite some time.  From recent shifts in standards and conversations with students and teachers, I have noticed that students who may not like to read are typically tying that to fiction.  Whereas, when it is a shorter informational text, they are much more interested.

Flipboard is an app on Apple OS devices and the Android app store.  If your school has a bring your own device policy (BYOD) I think this is a great way to help reinstitute a love for reading with students.  Another selling point to students might be that it allows you to consolidate all of your social media accounts into one place (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).  It places posts, regardless of the platform, into a more aesthetically pleasing view.  Let's be honest, we like pictures.  Below is a walkthrough guide providing some examples as to how you might teach students to use this app.
Search for content or organizations you know provide safe, reliable content for students to read.  Notice in the search bar I entered, "sports illustrated for kids".  While this is a magazine for students and it did provide a reliable result, it also provided unreliable results.  So this is just a word of caution to make sure you are encouraging proper digital citizenship.  Click here for a great post on Flipboard and some more ideas for reliable searches:  discover kids, nat geo kids, how stuff works, the why files, tween tribune, san diego zoo, wonderopolis, science friday, science news for kids, and history.com. 
After verifying the content is something they are interested in, students can then subscribe to the feed.  It will now be part of what they see every time they open the app.

Teachers also have the ability to build magazines for students.  Students can then access what the teachers cautiously selects.  This can be be used not only to help reluctant readers, but also with assignments.  You want them to read three pieces of informational text before working on an assignment?  Please those into a magazine and then tell them to search for key words.  Here is how:
Select a feed or blog you are already subscribed to.  You could also use the search bar to look for articles based on a specific search query.  
Basically, you build it catered to their needs and interests.  Afterward, give them key search terms you used when naming the magazine.  I used "Atchley" in a previous magazine I built so I entered that in the search bar and my magazine popped up.
This is an example of a magazine I built for a reluctant reader who might be a boy interested in sports.  It is centered around athletes and local interests.  

I hope this was useful.  There are dozens of other ways one can use this app.  I see a very strong application with reluctant readers.  If you try it I would appreciate some feedback!