My students need smartphones for improving their reading skills through the use of audiobooks for struggling readers or second language learners, reading apps to improve skills, and virtual reality field trips for building background.
SH Middle School is a small district with a growing non-white and limited English proficient population. Being a tourist hot-spot, we have students whose families are from all over the world, which brings with it a wide diversity of experiences and prior knowledge but also significant holes in some basic background knowledge necessary for academic success. Additionally, over half of the SH Middle student population comes from low-socioeconomic status, which research shows hinders background knowledge as well.
Background knowledge is the key for student to connect with and comprehend texts; it's the glue that makes learning sticks.
As a middle school reading teacher, I have seen the challenge a lack of background knowledge can cause for students reading comprehension. They may have the skills to read but lack the prior knowledge for understanding.
On the state tests, only 43% of SH Middle students scored proficient or better on the state standardized test. Similarly, our in-district standardized testing shows 60% of the 7th grade is below grade level in reading. I believe a huge part of our students gap in comprehension comes from their lack of background knowledge, whether due to socioeconomic status, cultural/language barriers, or both.
These smartphones will be implemented in a variety of ways in differentiated reading stations. They will be used to download audiobooks for my struggling readers and second language students to follow along as they read. The devices will also be loaded with both phonics and comprehension reading apps for students to build up reading skills of all levels - from sounding out words to higher level analysis. Plus, they will be used to close gaps in understanding by increasing background knowledge through virtual reality field trips. They will be able to take a 3-D tour of the World Trade Center as we read about it or walk through a cave while reading about Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher being lost in one.
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|Samsung Galaxy Express Prime 2 2017 J327a / J3 Emerge 16GB Unlocked GSM 5" HD Display Android Smartphone - Dark Gray • Amazon Business||$126.72||3||$380.16|
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