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The Important Role of Technology in Reading Intervention Instruction

The Important Role of Technology in Reading Intervention Instruction

By Amy Satterfield

During reading intervention instruction—and intervention instruction in general—we often take a “back to basics” approach to teaching and it can be easy to get caught up in simplifying everything for these struggling students. But, what if in our quest to simplify, we leave out something important—technology.

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“What if in our quest to simplify, we leave out something important—technology.”

I’ve heard nearly every excuse for why teachers can’t use technology during intervention, and have a solution for almost every one:

I have such a short amount of time with the kids. Taking out all the tools and materials will just waste too much time.

  • But what if your time becomes more meaningful with the technology? Your instruction can become significantly more efficient with the use of technology.

The kids in my intervention groups are easily distracted. They’ll become overwhelmed by the technology and lose sight of the skills we’re really working on. 

  • Technology can be extremely motivating for students. It might actually help them focus better. Not to mention, these students still have to take the same standardized test this spring—the one that’s technology based. The skills needed to take this test must be taught to these students, too.

I don’t understand how to use the technology. It’s too complicated. 

  • Technology doesn’t always have to be flashy. Start with the basics and move from there.

Technology can be a valuable tool in reading intervention instruction, but only if you know how to use it effectively. Teachers come to the field with various levels of experience, and whether you’re using advanced technology or something simple, the key is to give students exposure and help prepare them to become 21st century learners. Remember: it’s your job to teach students basic skills, but it’s also your job to prepare them to be successful in today’s world—a world based around technology.

Make all intervention instruction more meaningful and successful with these technology tips.

More: EdTech Reading for 2015: Books and Blogs

Choose The Right Tools

When deciding how to incorporate technology into your instruction, consider whether the technology is meaningful. It’s fun to play with exciting websites and programs, but are these sites actually teaching your students valuable skills? When planning a lesson with technology, think:

“When deciding how to incorporate technology into your instruction, consider whether the technology is meaningful. It’s fun to play with exciting websites and programs, but are these sites actually teaching your students valuable skills?”

How will this technology make my teaching more meaningful?

Will these tools make my instruction more efficient?

Are these skills that will be useful for my students?

My Favorite Tools

In my experience, one of the most valuable tools for reading intervention instruction is the iPad—or any tablet. Often times, intervention instruction occurs in cramped quarters with little to no extra room. A tablet doesn’t take up much more space than a piece of paper and can be loaded with powerful apps that allow teachers to switch back and forth, focusing on a variety of skills. Some of my favorite apps include:

  • Good Reader: In my mind, this is the king of all apps. The name says it all; it really helps your students become “good readers.” This app gives students the ability to mark up texts with digital post it notes, highlighting and underlining. You can also add definitions for tough vocabulary words, etc. The app can also change almost any pdf into a form for students to write on.
  • Record of Reading: Running records are crucial for reading intervention. With this app, you don’t need to prepare copies in advance. You can even take a picture of the text to keep track of words as students are reading. There’s also an option to record the student’s voice as he or she is reading. Most of the scoring calculations are done for you as well. Then, you can send the record to your email or other storage system, which makes your running records unbelievably efficient. 
  • Fluency: This is a great app if you like reader’s theater. Students can read scripts you’ve prepared for them or write their own and upload them into the app. Students can then record themselves reading the scripts and submit the recording to the teacher. 

Remember: start simple and build from there; the hardest part is getting started. Soon you’ll discover that reading intervention lessons are more engaging and your time management is more efficient.

Fundraise for your school and use technology in your reading intervention with Learn2Earn.

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