Another Ed Tech review is up on the Yellin Center Blog, this time about a suite of eBook and audiobook resources called TumbleBooks. You can head over to my review to learn about the ages each application is appropriate for, as well as all the teacher and librarian resources that are integrated right into the program.
However, what my review doesn’t elaborate is how vital eBooks and audiobooks are for developing the literacy skills of struggling or reluctant readers. Beyond being below grade level in reading ability, one additional challenge struggling readers have to combat is a lack of background knowledge. Often we glean vital information from texts that help us create connections, encode new ideas and enrich our learning experience across curricular areas. However, without exposure to this content struggling readers are unable to build a wealth of prior knowledge which can often lead to challenges in all academic areas. Therefore, when designing literacy interventions the lack of exposure to new vocabulary, a variety of content and diverse ideas needs to be accounted for. This is where audiobook and eBooks become an invaluable resource. These mediums allow students to access the same rich content as their peers, and build their knowledge base without hinging on their decoding or comprehension skills. I work with a lot of students with reading difficulties, and eBooks and audiobooks are two of my most recommended reading support strategies. Personally, I have witnessed a lot of success using alternative reading materials, but don’t simply take my word for it because research backs this evidence based practice also. So if you are looking to bolster your students interest in reading, as well as their content knowledge check out TumbleBooks because they offer a great variety of resources across grade levels and genres.
Another resource is up on the Yellin Center Blog, and this time is it for the Blends Bingo game I designed. This game aims to improve student’s understanding of different letter-sound relationships which are critical to the development of a child’s early reading skills. Mastery of this fundamental phonological awareness skill has been linked to overall success in reading decoding and comprehension.
I use this game primarily in special education and reading recovery settings. However, it can be easily adapted to a whole class environment. If adapting for a large group, it is important to note that every sound is on every card. Therefore, you should expect to have multiple winners at a given time. The reason every sound appears on every card is that this game was designed as a purposeful play activity. As such, Blends Bingo has the objective of each student participating by locating a new sound every time a new playing piece is drawn by the teacher. There is no waiting in this activity, and every child is able to continually work to manipulate sounds.
For detailed description of the research that backs the creation and implementation of this game, how this activity aligns with the standards and detailed instructions of how to run this activity in your classroom please head over to my in depth discussion on the Yellin Center Blog. There, I also discuss how I have used this tool as a formative assessment measure, as well as a few alternate game play structures to keep your students engaged.
This activity was rather labor intensive to create due to formatting and finding images that clearly represented each sound. As such, this game is one of my paid TpT resources but today it is on sale! The sale lasts through the weekend, so you can head over to my Teachers pay Teachers store to download Blends Bingo. Furthermore, since my Blends Bingo Post went up on the Yellin Center Blog I have been routinely asked where I procure affordable or free materials for my curriculum designs. I understand how tough it can be to find copy write free materials, so for this game and most clip art infused resources I often use Classroom Clip Art. It is an affordable membership service, with a pretty robust selection of images that are education centric.