“Reading without reflecting, is like eating without digesting.” by Edmund Burke
Last week I blogged about how you can connect Safari and reading, this week I am going to explain how to use the iPad to differentiate reading in the classroom using iBooks.
Opening iBooks you can see at the top there are 5 buttons (Store, collections, four boxes, three lines and edit). First we are going to start with the what the four boxes and three-line buttons are. This is how you view your iBook items. Taping on the four boxes you will see that the items are now on shelves. If you tap on the three lines they appear in order vertically. Chose which preference you like, I like the shelves.
Taping on collections is where you can start differentiating your iBooks. Here, like in Safari, you can make new folders by taping on new. When you name your folder you can name it by student so all the books that are on their level are in their folder. You can also name the folder by genre, book level, guiding reading group etc. What is great about iBooks is that it opens PDF’s as well. Sometimes I will type up a poem in pages, save it as a pdf and then open it up in iBooks. To delete a folder, press edit in collections and tap the red button to delete.
If you want to move books or pdf files from one shelf to another, click on edit, tap on the book/pdf you want to move (a blue check will appear) and then tap move to place it on the shelf you want. The check mark indicates which folder it will be placed in. You can also delete items from here by taping on item and then delete.
In the store, you have lots of options. For teaching, I find the two best places to search for books is in categories where you can select children and teens or textbooks. The textbooks cost money but if you scroll through you will see sometimes they have free ones (especially around the first week of May for teacher appreciation and beginning of Sept for back to school). I always download a bunch when they are free and then if I don’t like them, I can delete. Sometimes it is just one chapter but I still use them to supplement lessons, especially for science topics. iBook textbooks are wonderful because they are interactive; full of 3-D pictures that you can manipulate, videos and some even have quizzes.
In iBooks you can search different books by title or author. If you type in Call of the Wild you will see many Jack London, Call of the Wilds. One way to determine which to pick, you can look at the ratings; but also look at how many people rated it as some might only have 17 verse others that have thousands.
Once you download a book, there are so many things you can do with it. Just like in Safari, you can select if you press and hold the first word of the story, a blue hi-light comes up with the option of speak with an arrow. If you tap on speak it will pronounce it to you. If you drag the blue hi-light, it will read the whole paragraph to you or the whole page depending on what you have hi-lighted.
If you tap on the arrow, you will see other options such as define. Here the dictionary pops up and gives the student the definition of that word. After the student reads the definition, I make them hi-light the word and put a note (both options when taping the arrow). On the note I have the students put the definition in their own words.
Other strategies I use with the note option is have the students write the main idea of the page, infer what happened in a certain part of the book or tell me about the cause and effect in a section. You can have the students do any reading strategy with the note. I often tell teachers, anything you do with a sticky note in a book, you can do in iBooks.
At the top of the page in iBooks you see a button that has three lines, this will bring you to the table of contents. This is a great button for the teacher because when you are in the table of contents you have the option of viewing all the notes so you don’t have to flip through the book to see what the student did. You can also tap the share button and email or print the students notes which is great for RTI or for parent conferences etc.
One thing I do with my students is ‘lights out and read’. To do this I have the students click on the aA button at the top of the page and under themes click on night. I shut off the lights and the students read their books. I also have them do this if we take the iPads outside, as it is easier to read in this mode outside because of the glare of the sun.
If you have any ways you use iBooks in your classroom, I would love to hear about them.