Excellent Web Tools and iPad Apps to Enhance Students Reading Comprehension

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May , 2014
Reading is one of the basic literacy skills that has been the focus of all pedagogic approaches to literacy. From the " return to the basics" to  "multiliteracies", all of these movements have put huge premium on teaching reading skills with each one of them viewing it from a different angel. Traditional didactic literacy pedagogies , as Kalantzis and Cope argued in their wonderful book "Literacies",  drew heavily on synthetic approach to learning to read.  This approach stresses the importance of learning to read the written word with sound -letter correspondences, or the ways in which the sounds of speaking are transcribed in alphabetical writing.

Learning to read, in this conception, consists of decoding the letters of a word into sounds, internalizing these sounds and then connecting the sight of the word with the sound of the word and its meaning: "The teacher starts with teaching students letter names and sounds, then two or three letter syllables, then real monosyllabic words, then words with more than one syllable. Somewhere along the way students also learn...the connections between spelling rules ( such as having a long vowel before a single consonant -later- and a short vowel before a double consonant -latter- ) and punctuation.

In the turn of the 20th century, this letter-to-words approach to teaching and learning reading came to be challenged by words-to-letters approach in which early readers were asked to sound out words, identifying their component sounds and aligning these with their spelling.This was called an analytic ( as contrasted to synthetic) approach to phonics. ( Kalantzis & Cope,  "Literacies").

Source: Literacies

What is worth noting here, however, is that any of these approaches per se is not enough to provide answers to the reading problems early readers face while learning to read. A combination of these approaches into an encompassing literacy framework is more likely to meet students reading needs. Luckily, today there are many web 2.0 technologies and mobile apps that combine both of these approaches to reading and which can be used with students and young learners to enhance their reading skills. In this regard, I am sharing with you two wonderful resources to use with your students in class:

iPad Apps for Reading Comprehension

Reading Rocket has compiled this wonderful list of iPad apps that you can use to enhance your students reading comprehension. These apps provide practice with specific comprehension skills, including sequencing, differentiating between fact and opinion, developing word awareness ( through antonyms, synonyms, and homophones). This list is also available for free download in PDF format from this link.

Here is a round-up of the major apps featured in Reading Rocket list.

Aesop's Quest
MiniMod Reading for Details
The Opposites
Opposite Ocean ( antonyms)
Question builder
Same Meaning Magic
Same Sound Spell Bound
Speech with Milo

Web Tools for Reading Comprehension

This is a collection of web tools and apps  to support comprehension instruction curated by Angella Davis. Click here to access it.


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