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Use Technology to help Students Love Literacy!

The power of technology, when used wisely, can greatly benefit our students. As an Assistive Technology Specialist, I am looking for ways to use technology as a tool to motivate, engage, and enhance learning. One of my favorite ways to do this is by using interactive books on devices such as the iPad and iPod Touch. Many of the interactive books have built-in universal features that make reading fun. Some of the words are highlighted as the story is read. Some apps have interactions within the story to promote further exploration and thinking. There are custom settings, depending on the app, to turn features on and off, so you can truly customize the app to meet students' needs. 


One of my favorite interactive storybooks is The Monster at the End of this Book. When I was a child, I loved this book and read it constantly. When I became a teacher, it was one of the first books I made sure I had in my library. Now there is an app that captures the book and brings it to life, engaging students. It is one of the most popular apps in our Developmental Skills Center. Students love Grover telling the story, the words popping out at them, and the ability to be independent as they are reading the story. 


For those that want to see it, below is a video of what the book looks like. 



To download this app for yourself, go to the iTunes store. The app costs $3.99.  


There are thousands of interactive books, and many of them are free. However, if you don’t have access to an iPad or iPod touch, or can’t find an app for your favorite story book, explore a recordable pen. You can record your own animated reading, and apply the sticky dots to the pages you have read. Mantra Lingua also applies the technology to phonics, and bilingual programs too. Read more


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Comment by Derrick Vicars on April 3, 2012 at 8:34pm

I think that using interactive storybooks are great and I would like to use some in my future classroom.  I will be student teaching in an elementarty Special Education classroom next fall and would like to use interactive story books in my classroom and have a few questions about them. Do you ever find that your students get distracted by everything that is going on, such as the words moving while Grover is talking?   Also do you just have them watch the story or do you ever have them follow along with their own book while the book is being read?  Also how often do you use them in your classroom, weekly, daily or on occasion?

Comment by Sherrie Rose Maleson on May 19, 2011 at 11:43am
Thanks for clarifying, Hillary.  I'm curious as to what age you are working with and also what you think might cause them to be reluctant to read.  I agree that it is important that we foster love of reading in whatever way we deem appropriate.  I'm glad to know that you are being intentional in your teaching!
Comment by Hillary Brumer on May 19, 2011 at 7:08am
To respond to Sherrie's comment, I prefer to give students actual books as well, however, I have encountered reluctant readers. If this is a way to help students become lovers of reading, well, I will use it. It's important to note that my key point is using technology WISELY-not "just another screen to interact with".
Comment by Sherrie Rose Maleson on May 18, 2011 at 6:52pm
I loved this book as a child as well.  However, I would prefer to share the actual book with the children than to give them another screen to interact with.
Comment by Patricia Cibor on May 12, 2011 at 7:13pm

My son uses a Dynavox Maestro - are there any apps  or stories that we can dowload for free.  I know that there are a bunch of sites; however many of them charge a yearly fee to use them.


Comment by Sue Hamilton on May 12, 2011 at 5:59pm
I use interactive books with my students who are in a moderate ID classroom. They have grown by leaps and bounds in the language arts using this type of technology. It keeps their interest and they become so involved in the story that they are able to answer simple "WH" questions.

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