Last week I found myself in a lunchroom before school with 100+ rowdy kindergarten through fifth graders. As I watched a group of ten or so third-grade boys posturing while trying to “out cool” one another, I had an idea. I whipped out my iPad and handed it to one of the boys, suggesting he browse the folders labeled “Books”. Somewhat to my surprise, he chose a book, sat down, and began reading. Slowly his friends’ curiosities got the best of them. Within five minutes, all ten boys were gathered around the table engaging in developmentally-appropriate reading activities DURING. THEIR. FREE. TIME.
If someone had challenged me to get these boys to read a traditional book in this same situation, I might think that I was being set up for failure. Although I have many tricks up my sleeve as someone who studies reading and reading motivation for a living, even I am no match for kids’ peer influences. But lately, the iPad has given me an entryway to help maximize the time kids spend learning while in school.
I am cheap when it comes to buying apps – I am a big proponent of “free” apps and will usually wait for an app to be marked down before “purchasing” it. I don’t have the time to scour iTunes each day for the new deals, though. That’s when the website Digital Storytime comes in useful. The curator chronicles the apps she reviews and keeps tabs on which worthwhile apps are free or marked down each day. For an added bonus, follow her Facebook page where she frequently offers contests for promo codes for awesome apps. I wouldn’t have been able to build my extensive eBook collection without this site – and I can tell you from my lunchroom experience last week that finding good apps can go far in motivating kids to read. Thanks Digital Storytime for making my life a bit easier.