Do you work with students who struggle with understanding content and reading comprehension despite remediation? No matter the underlying issues, many tools and strategies exist which bypass the challenges of in-class studying and support struggling learners. Karen Janowski hosts this fast-paced webinar to learn about a variety of innovative and free tools which promote understanding and independence. (Get the PowerPoint in the Download Here section).
- [Anna Maria] Welcome. Thanks for attending this CTD webinar, Innovative Strategies to Enhance Understanding and Comprehension with Assistive Technology. Do your students struggle with understanding content and reading compression? We're pleased to welcome Karen Janowski in this fast paced webinar to learn about the variety of innovative and free tools which promote understanding and independence. Karen is an assistive and educational technology consultant and a former adjunct professor at Simmons College. She presents both locally and nationally about the importance of using technologies and universal design for learning. She also co-moderate the Tchat on Twitter. Please note that at the end of the webinar, we'll provide a survey link--
- [Karen] Thank you so much, Anna Maria. It's great to be here. How is the audio, is that okay?
- [Anna Maria] Thank you, and I'll pass it on to Karen.
- [Karen] Okay, great. All right, what a fascinating topic. But if you're like me, we're getting so many referrals for students who struggle with reading comprehension and it just seem like a times to think in new ways. So I'm hoping that we will have, I'm setting up some goals for us for today. The big thing is to understand that there is a need to help promote successful reading comprehension and understanding of content. And I will give a brief overview of some recent research. I'm hoping that people will learn at least four new tools and strategies. But it's not enough just to learn about them, I'm also hoping to hold people accountable that you will immediately implement at least one new tool.
And I don't know if you, up in New England, we have next week off for February vacation so I'm hoping that people are up in this area will start implementing even tomorrow. And the other point is, you already have baseline scores, baseline ideas of how your students are currently performing so try at least one of these new ideas and see if it does in fact make a difference. So to start with, I wanna get a sense from the people of what are you currently doing? What are you currently doing to enhance reading comprehension and content understanding? So I created a Padlet. The Bit.ly is right here. Bit.ly/ReadingComp and today's date 213. So it is case sensitive so the R and the C are uppercase.
So I will show you it will go right to a Padlet and here what you can do is just double click anywhere on the Padlet and add your ideas about what you're currently doing. It's always good to get a sense of what currently is happening, and then evaluating how effective that is. So I'm hoping people are moving on to the Padlet. I am going to link there too to see if anyone is adding any ideas, 'cause then this is a chance to share what we're already doing and then we can build from that foundation. So I'm going to click on the link and see if anyone has taken the risk to add their thought. Not yet. So remember double click anywhere. Let me show the link one more time, bit.ly/ReadingComp and today's date 213. Reading is uppercase R, uppercase C.
So it's all anonymous so you can just feel free to add what you're currently doing to help bypass the challenges of students who struggle with reading comprehension. Yes. Oh, somebody is already using reading comprehension booster. Learning Ally using a pocketmod. I think I know who's adding those ideas, Nancy. Okay, reading 10, leveling text Great. Thank you for adding this. Bookshare.org. So there are a lot of different things that people are currently doing, so let's add to our repertoire. And if you have other things that are different from this, feel free to double click anywhere and add your ideas to the Padlet. I love when we share through a tool like this. People use the PAR for our data collection, which is great. Newsela. Great ideas. Rewordify. Learning how to develop questions to engage students. Thanks for adding all this and we can come back to this later as well.
So a lot of ideas already, and let's keep moving on. Thank you for those of you who did contribute to our Padlet. What I think is you may have noticed that this is a possible tool because it allows students to add their own input anonymously. So just think about that for the future. In any case, I really want us thinking a new ways. I don't know about you, but do you see that worksheets are ubiquitous? So let's think in new ways about alternatives to the use of worksheets to check for understanding and reading comprehension. So let's define it. Here is a definition from RAND Reading Study Group and they say it's the process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language. It's all about engaging with the text. But we all understand that that's a common definition of reading comprehension and we can move on. So when we think about in our classroom, what are their goals.
So when we think about universal design for learning, one of our first questions is what is the goal when we then design our instructional method? So our goal for today is to enhance understanding. And when we want to incorporate universal design for learning strategies to help our students, we wanna be proactive, intentional, and embed choices. So we will be exploring some new tools that they may be new for many of you. But again, think in terms of proactively and intentionally considering the use of these tools. As always, our hope is that how students gain independence because of the instructional methods that we have considered. So what does the research say? Dan Willingham, he's a cognitive scientist out of North Carolina, I think it is, and he said a lot of research in this area and a review of the research. And some of the things that he has written about, he talks about how teaching-reading strategies based on a summary of the research before grade four is ineffective because they really need to build reading fluency.
And he also talked about that reading strategy programs that are short around successions were found to be essentially as effective as the longer programs that include 50 or more sessions. So he recommends that reading comprehension instruction should be exquisite and brief. Don't extend it any longer than it really needs to be. Be concise, be explicit, just try to write in there and understand that the reading strategies will help students get that short term boost and make advantage of that fact. His most important point is that acquiring that broad vocabulary, a strong knowledge-base is really the most important thing we can do to enhance understanding and comprehension. S
o that his most important key is building that broad vocabulary. That that really has the long-term benefits that we're hoping for when we wanna enhance understanding and reading comprehension. So just to reinforce that, the more students know, the broader the range of texts they can comprehend, so give them a strong foundation. And another really important research finding is, and this based on the work of Sarah Wood. She published this journal article in January of 2017. She did a meta-analysis to determine does text-to-speech actually impact reading comprehension? And doing the meta-analysis research, she did find that it positively affects reading comprehension with individuals with reading disabilities. So again, when we talk about the value of text-to-speech and when people question the value, we can cite Sarah Wood's article. It was published in the Journal of Learning Disabilities in January of 2017.
Another thing to consider in evaluating the research is the work of Linden Bell Group and what they say about visualizing and verbalizing. When we don't understand the gist of, when we're missing out on the weak concepts in imagery, when we are unable to visualize, that leads to difficulties with comprehension as well. So understanding that, we also wanna understand the role of the reader. What do they bring to the reading situation? What characteristics and traits do they need to have in place to be good comprehenders? So clearly, they have to be able to attend and focus. They have to be engaged and motivated in the content. They need to be interested in it. They need to have the vocabulary and a background knowledge foundation. They need to share and be able to draw in their own experiences. And importantly and often overlooked is the role of working memory. Holding on to all of the information that they're reading and holding on and simultaneously being able to manipulate and to visualize what is essentially happening.
So let's talk about the reluctant reader. Any of you work with students who are reluctant readers or who have learned to not enjoy reading? We know what happens. We know that it leads to gaps in their vocabulary. It leads to gaps in background knowledge. It just leads to gaps, and they grow greater and greater over time. I will never forget a student that I evaluated back when he was in fifth grade. And I had worked with him back when he was in third grade so they called me in to reassess his abilities and he was working at his instructional level and his independent level and not being stretched. So they were just confining his reading intervention to his independent and instructional level. What happened then in fifth grade when we reviewed his test scores, the gaps in vocabulary had greatly increased. And so that to me speaks to the importance of bypassing those challenges and really working into promoting and providing him the text-to-speech which we will talk about in a second.
So keep in mind, when we are not exposing students to a rich library of books then are not encouraging them to really explore new areas of interest, we are leading them down a path that causes greater gaps in vocabulary and background knowledge, and it works to their huge disadvantage. One of the things that Stephen Krashen and Kelly Gallagher talk about, they've both written a book. Kelly Gallagher has written a book. The book called Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It. It's called Readicide by Kelly Gallagher. How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It. Highly recommended. And Stephen Krashen, a professor emeritus at Stanford has written a book called The Power of Reading, and they both talk about how invaluable it is that we expose students to a rich library of books in their classrooms, and that we model sustained reading ourselves.
Many times teachers will have what we call DEAR time drop everything and read, or some school call it SSR. Sustained silent reading. They talk about the importance of teachers modeling reading during those periods and modeling that love of reading. Sometimes teachers are correcting work and things like that, and they say that's not what we wanna do. We really wanna model a love of reading for our students. So let's think about a minute when Daniel Willingham talks about the importance of brief read reading comprehension strategy instruction. One of the tools that we can use is this website called Into the Book. Does anyone familiar with that website? I can't see the chat, but I am curious to know if anyone is aware of that, of this website. So I will take you there for a minute and we can sign in so you can see. It really is an educational website for elementary students and teachers. You can go into the educator's area, but I want you to see what is available for students. And I'm going to type in my name and do my Feel free. So I'm going to go in with my key and here it looks. Here we go. So I want you to see what's available. If I scroll around, you can see that this is an interactive site that looks like questioning, visualizing, summarizing, inferring, making connections, synthesizing prior knowledge and evaluating. And if we go to the center, it brings all of the strategies together. So you could, we could go into the visualizing and it's a completely interactive website that can serve to provide some extension activities to help students understand.
- [Narrator] Visualizing is like creating a movie in your mind--
- [Karen] And it does have audio feedback which is great and you can watch the video. The students can try it for themselves. Every one of those reading comprehension strategy has an interactive tool just like this. So again, this can reinforce what you're teaching in the classroom in terms of the explicit strategy instruction. So that's one thing you may want to explore. Let me close that link and continue on. So what we talked about, first of all, teaching students the strategies, now, we want them into the book. We want them reading. So let's remove those obstacles. Sarah Wood's research has shown that using text-to-speech does enhance the development of reading comprehension. So this time, webinar is not looking at text-to-speech tools 'cause there are other ones around that. But I do wanna make sure that you are aware of many of the text-to-speech options that are freely available for our students.
Because what we see here in the upper right hand corner, we want children to be happy once they are in those books. So the reader like the Google Chrome extension is text-to-speech. Capti does text-to-speech of articles, screen reader, and Capti both work with Bookshare and they offer highlighting and a variety of that I assume most of you know them. The Reading pen. I have to say the C-Pen Reader pen has really improved the quality and of on-the-fly immediate OCR and text-to-speech. It's really worth it looking at. And then Kindle, if you buy the Kindle Whispersync, it does offer text-to-speech, it does offer some audio tools as well. So always think in terms of making sure your students have access to the content at grade level independently. These tools allow that.
Tomorrow I'll be attending an IUP team meeting for our third-grade student who is essentially a non-reader. And as a result, it's coming through that he has attentional and focusing issues when in actuality the student is really, really struggling with decoding grade-level text. He's really only at a pre-primary level and so I'm strongly recommending the use of a variety of text-to-speech tools to help him access the content which he can then better understand. So one of the ones that was mentioned that somebody is already using is reading comprehension booster. It is an IOSF. It's $3 and 99 cents. When you open it up, it allows you to take a picture of the cover of the book, and then you could open it up and what you get are all of these different areas to explore. Patterns, story sequence, big ideas, predictions, connections, story feeds, and then make your own. If you click on the characters link, what it opens up to is the ability to draw your character, bring in a character and thentheir features, their attributes, and it gives you, you would click on these links and it will give you a list of characteristics.
Some students need that kind of linear support to help them then better visualize and understand what they're reading. One of the things too the reason why I love this as a UDL tool is you can type information about the character, you can draw information, you can record, which to me is such an important UDL quality. The ability to bypass all those challenges of output and just do oral recording. And then you can also bring pictures. So this can help you, when you bring in the pictures, when you describe the characters, that can then help you to better understand. It also has a prediction tool which is very cool. A lot of students really like this. So based on the cover, based on back cover, whatever it is, students can then make predictions and then come back and evaluate their predictions.
Again, you can have multiple students recording their voice making that prediction. If we go back here, if you look at the setting and you explore the setting areas, it really does help you. It has a lot of symbol and picture support for when, where, and whether was. So it help students who have difficulty with visualizing and developing that gestalt in their mind of imagery. This really does help them. It has a story sequence. It makes connections to self you get the big ideas. So again, a really inexpensive way to engage students in an innovative manner around helping them better understand what they're reading and better visualizing it using a very linear approach. It's an awesome, definitely worth exploring. So once we are starting to explore those areas, we definitely want to think about building background knowledge. So how do we do that? No better way than looking at videos. YouTube videos. There's a YouTube video for everything. Having students watch videos, having them create their own videos.
There is such a valuable way to build background knowledge depending on what it is you are about to read. Another way that you can build background knowledge is to use tools like readworks.org for reading passages and common lists. So I'm gonna take a minute to explore readworks.org with you. Is anyone using ReadWorks already? I hope so. I have found that that seems to be a popular tool that teachers are using. So I'm logged in already and I'm going in as an educator. What's really cool about this website is it has passages for all different lexile levels, grade levels. It also does human voice audio and also does something called StepReads which if you're familiar with Newsela that it automatically adjusts the lexile level, this one does as well, and they call them StepReads. So if we wanna pull up, we can pull up, so we've got Abraham Lincoln. We've got President's Day left next week. So let's look up an article about Abraham Lincoln. And so here's one. They say it's ready for the first grade, but, yeah, I'll put off this one, US president's fourth grade. So students do not have to struggle with decoding the article. There is, you can see right here, it has human narration of the article itself--
- [Narrator] My ReadWorks. Abraham Lincoln was America's 16th president.
- [Karen] So I'm going to just pause that. So it's high quality human narration. So this lexile level, they're saying it's 770 and its fourth grade level worth of 448. Now if we need to simplify that, but have all students read the same basic article, we can go to this area called StepReads. And StepReads one is a little easier than the main article and you could see the lexile level is adjusted as well as the number of words. We can also check out StepReads two which even takes the lexile level even lower. So again, it's building in that scaffold to support that our students need. It's still exposes them to the vocabulary and the content, but independently with scaffold to support. So there is a lot of really wonderful things, wonderful background knowledge that can be shared through assigning articles to particular students and pairing it with whatever content areas you are exploring. So that's ReadWorks.
I want to also have you take a look at CommonLit. So we'll check out CommonLit, and CommonLit used to just be fiction and nonfiction text for fifth through 12th grade. They actually just recently within the past month added in third and fourth grade as well. Actually, let me go back for a second because I want you to see some of these features. You can choose a lesson, you can assign it with your students, then you can also track your student's progress and to analyze how they're doing. So it's being used all over the country. And they have said that they will always ensure that it is free. So the log in. One of the differences between this and ReadWork is CommonLit doesn't have human narration, but it does have, we could browse the library, it does have text-to-speech built. And same thing with ReadWorks, you could always open up the purple puzzle piece Read & Write for Goggle Chrome extension and listen to articles. So we could hear, we'll look at this article. And it has take the tour.
We can then increase the font size. This is the largest, so we can assign this. Here are the text-to-speech tools, and they have some highlighting tools, they have high quality text-to-speech, they have guided reading mode, which again, can help your students better understand as they are reading. It has an assessment and it also does, when you initially assign it, it does have some, have lexile levels as well. And the other thing too that's kind of nice, so we assign books to our students. With this particular tool, with CommonLit, it allows us to pair a text. So they call them book pairings. So if I look at book pairings, so they've got 86 book pairings. So for example if you're reading the Booksie, they have done the work for you. This can help our students build their background knowledge. Who's Adolf Hitler? So this is, they tell you, introduce this informational text before students begin reading the Booksie. Then they have some other passages. So this passage, you have students read this text after reading part one of the novel, and then they give you some guiding question. So they do book pairings. They do the work for you, which again, can help enhance your student's understanding of what they read. It's taking it to a whole new level in building their background knowledge and their vocabulary as well. So really something very cool things in both CommonLit and ReadWorks if you aren't already using those tools. So we'll continue on, any question so far? Okay. Oh, good. Let's talk before we move on. It is a free website, yeah. It's been available, okay,
- [Anna Maria] We do have some questions. Karen, you hear me?
- [Karen] Using Into the Book. You are only logging in with your first name. There's no other identical and identifiable information about you. And the other thing too is you could continue, every time you go in, you could log in for the very first time with your first name. Nothing is identifiable about you with using Into the Book. Any other question? How to build vocabulary? Well, again, when you are pairing information and using text-to-speech to help students bypass their decoding challenges, the reason the text-to-speech tools some of them have vocab tools built in, but actually this is a good time to take a little, little detour. One of our options if I open up a Google Doc or an article is to open up my Read&Write for Google Chrome extension. One of the really great tool to help build vocabulary, and I guess let me just see, open to a website. Here I'll just open up my Google Doc. This is one that I use often, so I scroll down. So I hope people are familiar with the Read&Write for Google Chrome extension.
I'm just waiting for it to open up. Sorry, it's doing the blue spin. There is a vocab list tool in the Read&Write for Google Chrome extension. Sorry, it's really taking some time to load and, here it is. So if I click on this, and again, this works in Google Docs. It works online on any article. But one of the things I can, for example, I can click on the word goal and open up my dictionary, and there is the definition. And because I have this clue here, I can now listen to that definition read back to me with dual color highlighting. Another thing that I couldn't do because of the Read&Write for Google Chrome extension is I also get a picture dictionary. So here, that's built right into the premium version of Read&Write for Google Chrome extension which is free for all teachers.
Finally, another thing I can do is combine the two of those. One of the tools that they have is called vocabulary and it creates a vocab list. So what I wanna do is I'll highlight particular word in different colors, so here is professional, here is product. And then if I click on this tool of vocabulary, what it's doing is it's generating a new Google document and it will have those words that I have highlighted with a dictionary definition and with symbol support, and it instantly creates a table. So that's a quick and easy way to help build vocabulary and help students to then customize. They can look at the definitions and determine which definition they want to use depending on what the context is. So that's part of the Read&Write for Google Chrome extension, the premium version. You can learn more about that through the Texthelp website. But that's one way to expand student's understanding of vocabulary. Continuing on.
So there are two tools that help activate prior knowledge and help students make connections for engagement. One of them is called Shmoop, the other one is called LitCharts. And one of the things that I love about Shmoop is that it has, unfortunately it has a ton of ads. That's unfortunately. You can pay for it, but I'm all about free. Don't we love free? I'm the queen of free. So one of the things that it does do is at the top is it has in a nutshell. A quick just introduction to the story, to the novel. And it also often times has a video, but this one takes a really long time so I'm not gonna wait for it to open up. So in a nutshell, it does a very quick brief summary, but then if you scroll down, I love this part, why should I care? How many times have we assigned books to students, especially, sorry if there are any Shakespeare lovers out there, but Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, some of those classic, A Tale of Two Cities. Why should I care?
What's really nice about this particular website is it make, helps kids make connections to the text and helps them to understand and it has a very kid-friendly language. Like if I scroll in, you'll see, this actually says WTF. Well, that's gonna grab a kid's attention, right? But it's not what you think. It's called Why is This Funny? Again, it's a very kid-friendly language, it tries to help students make connections even before they are introduced to the content. If we go over here on the left side, it has the summary of every chapter. It does the themes. It does quotes. It does a character. It does a character breakdown. I was just working with some students today and they're reading To Kill a Mockingbird and they've read the first three chapters, but to kind of better understand who the characters are 'cause they were kind of missing the point, we actually use the other link, which I'll show you, but it does there something very similar. So who are the characters? It does an analysis. It does a quiz. And helps even students write an essay about it. So this is a free option.
My suggestion to you is they do have hundreds of books. They have all Shakespeare, but they have plenty of common fiction and commonly assigned middle school and high school text. When you go to the Shmoop website, Google Shmoop and the title of the book. Otherwise it can take you a very long time to find what you are searching for. So what I did when I searched the giver, I did Shmoop and the giver, and it takes me right to this. So if we look at LitCharts, so I'm going to take us to LitCharts, it does something very similar. It doesn't have all of the ads that Shmoop has. So it does an introduction, it does a plot summary, it does a detailed summary and analysis chapter by chapter, it looks at the theme. This is the site we went to. So we looked at who are the characters. Who are the main characters we were looking at, he was reading To Kill a Mockingbird, so we looked at that. You can read the full character analysis.
One of the things that teachers really like about this website is it has something called a Theme Wheel. So they describe the themes in the book here and they color code them. If you go to this Theme Wheel, here are your theme colors. What it does is it goes by chapter and it shows you what themes were occurring in that particular chapter. I've shown this to many teachers and they are like blown away that this is possible. So here, you can zoom in on it and you can get a better understanding down here at the chapter eight, what's going on, what the theme is. So you can click on different links and it takes you right to a better understanding. So themes are often an area or a part of the book that is very difficult for kids to understand. So if we give them tools like this, this can help them bypass their struggle with understanding the theme of totalitarianism. And so here it is. It helps them to better understand. I did talk to an English teacher once.
There are many English teachers who share these websites. But I did talk to an English teacher once who said, yeah, but if I show them those links, then they won't even bother reading it. And I said where were they reading it anyway? This way now, they can at least engage in the conversations that you're having in the classroom. They can participate. If they're just overwhelmed and not reading the book at all, then they aren't just sitting back not getting anything out of it. The other thing too is you can use these websites as learning tools. Do we agree with what they've added on the Shmoop website? Do we agree with the most important points that they've summarized? Because that can, again, be used as an extension activity. Do we wanna rewrite the Shmoop website? Do we wanna rewrite their history chapter two summary? We can do all of that when we have something like this to use. So LitCharts is free, and it has a paid version that you can upgrade. But all of the features that I showed you, they are all free. It's all free and it's part of it. But when you upgrade, what it allows you is you can download PDFs of the information.
With Shmoop, they have a premium version that gets rid of the ads and gives you a few more features. But use with free, think about how you're extending your student's learning by using these kinds of tools. Now I wanna move to another type of tool. InsertLearning and Actively Learn. So what are we currently doing when we are assessing for understanding? We'll often assign an article or assign a chapter to a student to read. Then when we're done or then when we come back the next day, we'll talk about it in class. I think about my son who has dyslexia. He would read the assigned summer books and then the first day when they return to cool, they were given a test to determine did the student in fact read the book and it was all factual information. And he said, "Why should I even bother reading them? "I don't remember that kind of information." But he had been able to talk about what he read and the most important point that resonated with him, he might have felt more excited about doing the assigned summer reading.
Our students have a hard time, especially with working memory issues holding on to that information to then share what they've learned, share what they know, show that they're understanding the content. So this is really awesome tool called InsertLearning, is a Chrome extension. What's really great about it, it was developed by a high school and a middle school teacher and they are still both teaching. It syncs with Google Classroom, and I wanna show you a couple of the features. So it's right here. Actually what I need to do is I'm going to open up, here, we'll open up this article that I just post about this particle theme. So here is the theme. And this is not a lengthy article, but I just want you to understand the point. Actually we could do a class summary of this that's a little bit longer. So here is the plot summary. So it's a little bit lengthier. So when I use the InsertLearning Chrome extension which I have installed right here, when I click on it, it opens up a toolbar on the left side of my screen.
What I can do now is I can insert a discussion or insert a question. So maybe after this particular, even the very first paragraph, instead of students having to hold on to that what they've just read because we oftentimes will have them read the whole article and then say find the evidence in what you've read, now what we can do is stop them, embed the question right here and ensure that they are understanding what they're reading. So we can create any type of question. But because they are teachers, they want to save teacher's time. So one of the options if you go here under Help and Support, they have a lot of ideas. You can see what other teachers are doing. But if you go to this quick lesson ideas and topics, if I click on it, this is really cool. So they've added text-dependent questions. 10 unGoogleable text-dependent questions. If I click on it, so here, these are not yes no. So for example, we can select this one, I'll highlight it, copy it, and I will close out of this and put my question right there, and now I'm going to hit Create.
So then the students will see this because it syncs with the Google Classroom and we can assign it. We can add multiple questions throughout the article to promote student's understanding. To stop them, to help them assess. Am I understanding what I'm reading? Because good comprehenders are always evaluating what they are reading and they're self-checking their own understanding. They'll go back. But many of our students who are struggling in this area don't know their executive function, metacognitive strategies aren't in place for them to then know that that is the best way to self-check for understanding. The thing that I want you to see about this too is they have something called insert sticky note. So if I click on that and I click on this particular paragraph, so here, often times I recommend doing this at the beginning of the article because you can insert YouTube videos for background knowledge, embed code. But the thing that I love about this is it has this tool right here where if we click on it, now it allows us to either embed an authentic question, or have our students respond to us authentically so we can record our instruction or they can record their responses which is a really cool feature because some students will struggle with written output. And the ability to input video in the article can be really freeing for them.
What do you think about that? Is it just me that it's super excited about this? I've actually been in touch with the developer and I said, can you please add that video commenting capability to the questions as well as the discussions? Now, the free part of this, yeah? Yeah? So great question. So here at the top, choice allows you to assign it. So you can click Assign. So here you can create and share at your Google Classroom. You think create a New class. So that's one way if you've already got your classroom setup. If I go here to more options, here is where I can go to my dashboard. Or I can assign it here. So one of the things that I want you to know is this is free, but you can only store five lessons at a time. So I'm going to delete this one 'cause I show this tool all the time and I don't want it to come up. So now I've got four and I can still add one more. So here's where I can assign my lessons. I can grade, I can check my classes. If you are really excited about this tool because, again, it is developed by teachers and you wanna assign more than five articles at a time, it does cost $40 for a yearly subscription. So this is where you would assign it. And again, easy to do. And they want you to, here I'll delete this one as well. They want you to be successful. So the first time when you go to the website, it'll even say try it now right on their website so you can get a sense of it. They've also been adding some examples so you can see how other teachers are using it and you can get ideas from them. Because, again, they are teachers. They know what teachers' need and want.
So here you can see, so here is one. An InsertLearning that someone else already created about Romeo and Juliet. So you can see what other people have done. So what do you think? Is that another way to help ensure that students are understanding what they're reading? That it's an opportunity to implement active reading strategies as they are reading? So InsertLearning is one option. Let me show you another option that's called Actively Learn. So this is the dashboard for Actively Learn and I'm going to go, I wanna, oh, I didn't, let me just go there Actively Learn and I will log in. And again, this is another tool that link with Google Classroom. 'Cause again, we don't wanna give teachers more work to do. Many schools now are using Google Classroom. Thank goodness. So the fact that you could easily integrate with both InsertLearning and Actively Learn is wonderful for teachers. Okay, so here is my dashboard.
One of the things that we can do is add content. So we can go to their catalog and I want you to see this. They keep adding new articles. Again, fiction and nonfiction articles. They have 5,300 and growing articles. You can also rent books and things as well. They have it divided up by grade level as well. So we can add a new article. So let's say we wanna add novels with pre-created. So I want free article, so I'm going to put that filter in place and, so kids miss their parents reading to them. Let's check that one out. Well, again, we can preview it. Get a sense that is an article that we want to add to our workspace. We can add as many articles to our workspace from their catalog as we want to. So here is the article. So somebody else has already embedded the question and embedded the point. So here, you can see this. This is what they've highlighted. The comment is, here the reporter introduces scientific evidence from a radio interview to claim some of the benefits of parents and children reading together.
So again, it's just drawing students' attention to different things. Here is pediatrics. So the teacher has even defined what pediatrics is. You can do all of that. There is comments and notes on the side, and then here is an embedded question. A few of them, in fact. So you can embed them throughout the article. So you can choose to use this article or not. I just wanna give you an idea. Now, also what's really nice is every article can be customized. So we can add more white space. Research shows that for some students who struggle with decoding and reading fluency, that adding the white space can make a difference. We can also change the text size. We have three different font choices. Some of our kids who are dyslexic do like the open dyslexic font. Some of say absolutely not.
So again, show your students the choices and help them to use the font that works the best for them. We'll focus out of that. We can change our colors, whatever. So I'm not going to add that one to the workspace, but I could. Now instead I'm going to go back to my workspace and open up this. So The Most Dangerous Game. So again, what we can do? Add directions for students. Add a pre-reading question. Here is a short story, The Most Dangerous Game. So this is something that somebody else has created. What does the information reveal on this paragraph? So again, to add a question, and I'll show you how to do that. It's very easy. We highlight the text, and now it'll say insert question, insert a note, insert a link, or even white it out. So again, this can be scaffold to support. Let's say you're assigning all of your students an article about the rainforest and you've got students a different reading levels and different cognitive levels. So one of the options that's really cool about Actively Learn is it allows you to whiteout content and your students don't realize that they are reading something different from their peers.
But again, you provided the scaffold to support that they need. If you wanna bring it back, you just restore it. So again, you could assign different article to different students, the same article to different students with a different scaffold built in. So again, you're embedding the question throughout the article instead of requiring your students to hold on to the information that they're reading and actively manipulate it, they no longer have to do that. So you're bypassing any working memory and processing speed issues. Now in the student view, it does also offer text-to-speech. And so again, this allows you, like I put one of my options as assign. So again, I can select what I want to assign and it takes me step by step through the process, I can assign to my classes and I can also upload right here. I'll hit cancel. When I see here add classes, this is where import classes from Google Classroom is possible. And again, they want you to be successful with this tool so they had some instructional tutorials and it takes you step by step. Now this tool is free. It's also very expensive. So the part that's free is you can add any of the articles that are free to your workspace from their catalog.
But if you want to import all the articles, you can import three a month. Now there are 12 months in a year, so that's 36 articles. And once you have them there, you'll see I have many, many articles. Once you've uploaded them and added them online, they will always be available to you. So really cool tool to help bypass, I'm sorry? Yeah. Yeah. So again, it's using the dyslexic font. It's changing the spacing. Again, to me, just because it says it has that setting, it doesn't mean that that is what a student will prefer to use. Show them the customization and allow them to customize it for themselves. And some students won't care, but others they need to change the visual setting and the visual presentation to customize it for what works best for them. So this is the reason why I feel so strongly about these two particular tools because they activate prior knowledge, they help build background knowledge because you can build in some pre-reading questions. You can link to YouTube videos. You can embed articles that they can read ahead of time. So you're using active reading strategies.
This is the big thing. you're bypassing those working memory issues, you're providing that scaffold to support, and hopefully you're building engagement. So the final tool. Probably everyone has heard of her Kahoot! I hope you've all will look at Quizizz as an alternative to Kahoot! And the reason why I recommend Quizizz, you know how when you use Kahoot! as a tool for whole class checking for understanding. The students have to look at what you've projected on the board to then know we are to cap on the device that they're using. With Quizizz, they will see on their own screen the four possible choices. The other thing that's really great about Kahoot! is it offers text-to-speech for the questions and the answers. Many of our students need that kind of support. So I know we're just about running out of time and I wanna leave a couple minutes for our questions.
But I want you to think about many of our teachers feel like, oh, my goodness, you're adding even more to my plate. I'm already overwhelmed. So I really hope that you don't think this is in addition to what you're already doing, but just replace something that is less effective. So reflect on all the students in your classroom, are their need being met by the tools that you are currently using? So replace something that is less effective with one of these tools. So thank you for this. Again, if we go back to the beginning, I hope that you were excited about at least one new tool and I would love for you. I'm gonna stop sharing my screen. I would love for you to put it in the chat box what one new thing you can't wait to explore further and try with your students. So I'm gonna stop sharing my screen, but I do thank you all. So let's stop sharing.
Okay, here we go. Yeah, definitely. Quizizz is better for those with visual processing disorders. Absolutely. Yeah, somebody asked, Read&Write will work with any of these tools. But what's nice is that Actively Learn does have the text-to-speech built in so that you don't necessarily have to open up the Read&Write for Google tool. Oh, good. Somebody's excited to try Shmoop. Let's see what people are excited, oh, somebody's excited to try ReadWorks, Into the Book. Oh, good. Yeah, Jennifer, I'm all about free. But you also, you can pay for the premium features and especially that one that's developed by the teachers, InsertLearning, it's only $40 for the year. Anyone else? Oh, good. So Jennifer wants to definitely check Quizizz, Into the Book, Shmoop, and LitCharts as well. You're a high achiever. Oh, good, somebody said Google vocab built with a vocabulary list. That's great. So did you learn at least one new thing, I hope? So Abby, definitely reading comprehension booster. The Actively Learn does work, because it's a website, it does work on the iPad. The Padlet has apps as well. It has an iPad app. Quizizz works on iPad. Just because, when they're websites they can still be used on iPad.
When I think about reading comprehension, so I would think about that, but I would definitely depending on what grade you're working with, Abbie, definitely look into reading comprehension booster. Jennifer, that's great. Definitely share with your colleagues. Because once we start sharing this information with the gen ed teachers, what they will do, we'll get fewer referrals for those assistive technology consultations and evaluations because what they're doing is they've building a UDL and scaffold to support for all students. So any questions before we end? Oh, look at this. Right on time. Any final questions or thoughts? So the SurveyMonkey link should be rejected right now. I'm seeing it. Oh, thank you, Anna Maria. Any thoughts? Well, thank you. I can't thank you enough for being part of this for participating and I hope that the rest of the week is great for you. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I hope it's a fun day for many of you. Good things could potentially be happening. Thank you all. Yeah, Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. Thanks, Anna Maria. This was really fun. I hope people got some new ideas out of it.
- [Anna Maria] Karen, that was definitely great webinar. Thank you.
- [Karen] Thank you all.
- [Anna Maria] Yes, they did. Absolutely. So we'll get the recording posted probably tomorrow and we'll send out a link with the PowerPoint.
- [Karen] Oh, one more thing actually. Let me just post my email address in case anyone does have any follow up questions. And it is also.