‘An App a Day: Mark 2′ Online Forum – Day 2 – Reading Toolbox

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Welcome to Day 2 of the ALIA Schools Online Forum An app a day: Mark 2.

Day 2: Reading Toolbox

Today we are focusing on apps that can be used for reading

  • Please take some time to consider any reading related apps that your school uses then reflect on how the app is used, what works well and perhaps what does not work well when using the app
  • You are then invited to comment here to share your experiences with other participants

Our moderator will check in throughout the day to approve comments.

We look forward to hearing from people across Australia and thank you for taking the time to participate and share your knowledge.

Image: CC Fickr by dougbelshaw

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21 thoughts on “‘An App a Day: Mark 2′ Online Forum – Day 2 – Reading Toolbox

  1. The app I have found to be the most stunning this year is Shaun Tan Rules of Summer. No bells and whistles , no gimmicks, some added sounds that add to the atmosphere. However we used it with our students in years 3 to 6 on the big screen.
    This enabled the students to see the detail of his drawings , also each page is displayed firstly as only a small part and the students really enjoyed guessing what might appear in the picture for each rule. You could really focus on discussing the various elements in the pictures and all students could see it.

    • This sounds like a wonderful activity that fits right in with the Australian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking!

  2. I use the Good Reads app constantly as a tool for supporting the YA reading I am doing to be able to purchase and recommend titles to students. We all use the Wheelers and Borrow Box apps as our e-book portals. Have only been subscribing for a year, and the uptake has been building slowly, but getting stronger all the time. They provide alternatives to print, and the big advantage is the immediate access. The students are particularly loving the e-audiobooks available too.

  3. Goodreads App is great! This free and very user-friendly app connects users with other readers by talking about books and sharing reviews in the social media environment. Students often have to write reviews for English; this app enables students to explore ideas on what makes a good or bad reviews. Goodreads app has many features but many have found the regular ‘newsletter’ to be useful because it provides individualised recommened reading titles based on your personal bookshelves. The newsletter also alerts you when the authors you have read have realeased new books.

  4. Another great reading app is iReadItNow. The free version is more than adequate and it is very easy to use. This app helps students to keep track of what books they have read, want to read and what they are reading. It also provides statistics and has the ability to search within the collections easily. For the more avid readers, they can add notes such as favourite passages, quotes from the books.

  5. Our students have Windows 8 on slates. So in addition to the IPad apps there are the Android Apps and the Chrome Apps as well. One of the Chrome Apps I love which does not appear to be available for IPad or Android is “My Next Read”. If you put in the title of a book it will give you a mind map style illustration of things you might like to read next. The algorithm driving this app is linking to Good Reads.

    • This sounds very interesting! I didn’t know that. It is useful to know of alternative apps that can be used on android devices.

  6. I asked our ICT department for a list of the Apps that we have on our MDM server and here are a few that relate to reading:
    ABC READING MAGIC 1 Short Vowel Words sampler
    ABC READING MAGIC 2 Consonant Blends sampler
    ABC SPELLING MAGIC 2 Consonant Blends
    Accelerated Reader
    Bible for Kids
    Book Creator for iPad (PAID)
    Destiny Quest
    GoodReader for iPad -(PAID)
    Little Speller – Three Letter Words LITE – Free Educational Game for Kids
    Little Story Maker
    Sunshine Classics

    The issue for me, as the TL, is how do I make these Apps searchable on our library management system? It is all very well to have them saved and managed form the ICT department but how may the library assist users to find them more easily than just scrolling through their icons on the Year 3 and Year 5 iPads?

    • I would suggest cataloging the apps as per usual with a location attached as App
      Maybe a generic subject term so a list of all apps can be easily called up.
      As well as relevant subject headings that indicate the area the app could be useful
      Does that help?

      • Our school is just starting out with the iPads. We have two class sets of iPads; one in the Year 5 classroom and the other shared around the school. The Yr 5 teacher is in charge of all iPads including app download and charging station so they are not catalogued through the library. It was very confusing and many teachers did not use the iPads because no one really knew what apps where installed nor audience/year level. A list of all apps by with appropriate year level has now been created, stored on the Shared Drive for all teachers to access, which has been a great help but still rather cumbersome. After reading Anne’s remarks, I will suggest that we catalogue the apps on our library system. Thank you!

  7. I also use GoodReads quite a lot with my students as it allows me to track what my English students are reading and also to run various book clubs. It’s also a great way of discovering new and popular books.

    Just this week I have also discovered that the Wheelers eBook Platform now has an app. This is great as students can borrow and read books from within the app itself. An interesting feature is that there is a recommended setting feature for those with dyslexia that changes the font size, spacing and colour to a more user friendly reading style. Haven’t trialed it with students yet but I’m curious to see if it works. This app will of course only be useful provided you have purchased eBooks from Wheelers.

    • The Wheelers app is a big improvement. Borrow Box (Bolinda) has a big range of e-audio books which also helps students with dyslexia. Many of the Kindle ebooks have a text to speech function – just depends on the title. We have purchased a few Kindles which we lend to students. The International students also like to use this as it helps them to be more familiar with the language. Quality is not as good as the e-audiobooks, but they don’t seem to mind.

  8. Ditto for me Anne. Our school also has Wheelers our ePlatform and their new app is certainly worth exploring. I recently discovered that with the Bluefire Reader app that one can add in ebooks stored on DropBox.

  9. I have read all the above comments and have learnt so much already in regard to the uses of apps in our primary school library and incorporating them into our LMS. Thanks everyone.

  10. I have been using The Fantastic Flying Book of Mr Morris Lessmore – the hard copy, the interactive book and the app itself (by Imag-N-O-Tron). Students have been amazed at how a book can come to life and how we are suddenly inside the book itself. It has been so popular that even parents are coming in to have a look at it. I have used this to show how there are different ways to ‘read’ a book (I have also shown the short film for this) and student engagement has been great. As a school where iPads haven’t been embraced by all teaching staff, it has been effective in showing those that are reluctant that there are some great uses for iPads in literacy etc.

    I also use apps such as BookCreator (a paid app but well worth it) and Shadow Puppet for a simple way of making book trailers or narrating stories. Students all understand they must read the book and get to know it very well in order to sell it to others – we use it almost as a competition: who can sell their book the best. It has been very successful in the short time I have had access to iPads in the library for Stage 2 and Stage 3.

  11. Thanks for the reminder about Goodreads as an app. I use the website to read reviews to assess to confirm/disprove a response to a book prior to purchasing it for the library. I had forgotten that I also had it as an app.

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