My students are amazing. I teach in an inner city International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. This year, I am serving twelve students with special needs in a self-contained setting called a Language and Learning classroom. Three are also English Language Learners.
Despite many obstacles, including trauma, chromosomal differences, autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities and poverty, my students come to school each day and on time, enthusiastically ready to learn.
They collectively have an excellent work ethic and do not back away from challenges.
Mine is a class of creative, artistic, multisensory learners, and I am honored to include you in their educational journey by inviting you to be a part of this special project I've decided to embark upon just for them.
Learning to read fluently is super difficult for my economically disadvantaged, print-disabled students, many of whom also have attentional issues. Those of us who found learning to read easy can never understand what it feels like to struggle for years just to master the basics of decoding words from a page, only to lose major ground during the summer months when school is not required and books are not available. Research shows that the best way for students to get better at reading is to practice it independently at their just right and instructional levels. However, it's difficult for kids to maintain focus and motivation when something feels so hard. The truth is that reading independently for 20 minutes is something I assign every day, but is the number one thing my struggling readers are most likely to avoid.
Enter Raz-Kids: My students find technology inherently motivating, and Raz-Kids is a great support for independent reading.
Through Raz-Kids, I can assign each student books at his or her just right level. The students can then listen to the books read out loud, read the books themselves, record themselves reading so I can check their fluency, and take quizzes to show they comprehend. All the while, they earn points to play in the Raz-Kids "store" where they can design cool robots and spaceships as rewards for independent reading. I've watched this technology work with my own kids, but my district does not offer it, nor, until now, did we have sufficient technology in our classroom to make it worth me investing in a class subscription. Now, each of my students is about to have his or her own personal google Chromebook, and Raz-Kids will be one important way we use this tool to maximize our reading achievement.
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