Using Technology to Engage Young Readers

Students using iPadsReading is an essential skill that can affect a student’s performance in all subject areas, and in today’s classrooms, teachers are utilizing technology to keep students motivated, as well as engaged in what they are learning. It also has the ability to turn reluctant readers into passionate readers.

For younger readers at Ridgewood Elementary School, having iPads, as well as a SMART Board, can make a huge difference in visualizing and comprehending words.

“As an educator, having technology is really helpful because the students are engaged,” said First grade teacher Kaylin Dunworth. “It’s a tool they’re familiar with and have a lot of experience with, so bringing that into the classroom helps that engagement and that accessibility.”

She uses the iBooks app on the iPad to give her students a hands-on experience.

“Using iBooks has been helpful for young readers,” she said. “There are different tools that they can draw on the books. They can circle sight words that they know, they can really evaluate the pictures to make meaning of the text and they can have that for reference for later.”

Bringing the classroom’s SMART Board into play, Dunworth can help students sound out words and make reading even more visual. She gathers the class together in front of the board and breaks down the sound of words as well as what the object a word describes looks like.

Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, Hilliard Schools became One2One for every student K-12, throughout the district. This means every student has an iPad. Younger students have gravitated to the technology and become creators.

Teachers are able to use iPads, and the apps available to them, to break down barriers in a visual way. Dunworth’s work with the iPad has allowed her students to be more interactive with learning to read, as well as other subjects.

Working at Ridgewood is special to Dunworth. She has taught at the school for seven years, in special education, kindergarten and first grade classrooms.

“I love teaching here,” she said. “It’s a great community and the parents are very supportive. There’s a lot of positive energy. Ridgewood’s also special to me because my mom went to Ridgewood and both my grandmas worked here as librarians.”