By: Margaret Allen, Strategic Education Manager, Renaissance UK
When it comes to reading, my personal preference still remains to pick up a book and experience the turning of the page and the sense of excitement as each chapter of a story unfolds. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve tried to ‘go digital’ and download some of my favourite novels to the iPad, but it just doesn’t give me the same kind of pleasure as holding the book in my hands (each to their own of course).
Now, this got me thinking about how children are learning to read these days. Technology is plentiful in primary schools and my own experience in the classroom has shown that children love to play digital games and would quite happily engage with an app for literally hours (if they were allowed to of course). But how does this unconditional love of technology impact on children developing a love for reading?
When it comes to reading books – I think children, especially younger ones are able to differentiate between reading a book and looking at a screen/ For the most part I would suggest children are reading paper based books and have not yet migrated to e-books. In spite of technology being exciting, engaging and effective (lots of edtech buzzwords I am sure you’re familiar with), given the choice, children seem to really enjoy the chance to sit down and hold a book in their hands and explore the story by reading ink on a page. This then begs the question, how can we encourage this type of reading for pleasure, at the same time as harnessing their excitement about technology?
The Accelerated Reader programme does just that. The children read a book and then take an online quiz. It is as simple as that. From the pupil’s perspective, they perceive taking the quiz as a ‘technology reward’, which includes instant feedback on their progress; while the teacher benefits are produced almost as a by-product of this fun and enjoyable process. Imagine knowing exactly where each child is in their reading development and being given guidance and support on how to help them to make continuous progress – in line with their own abilities and potential. Accelerated Reader makes this happen.