Saturday, August 11, 2018

Reading Strategies for a Digital Age

Post was also shared on FTEdTech

Some time last Spring, I heard the podcast "Digital Readers Read in an F-Pattern" by Teach Thought. This episode, hosted by Ryan Schaaf, marked the beginning of my newest journey to understand how our students are processing information in a digital environment and how we might help them focus their attention in a world of distractions.

Because of the podcast, I was inspired to pick up my own (digital) copy of Reinventing Learning for the Always On Generation: Strategies and Apps that Work by Ian Jukes and Ryan Schaaf. The considerations and research they explore are fascinating to me and there are many implications for classroom practice that I think are worth time to discuss and study.

The F-Pattern

In the podcast and through the book, I was introduced to the idea of F-Pattern reading and research conducted by the Nielsen Normal Group on Eye Tracking

What does this mean for the classroom?

I have a lot of questions about what I'm learning. One of the biggest things I find myself wondering about is how do our digital natives transition skills and habits between print and digital texts? 

For myself, this information has helped me to pause periodically and ask myself if I'm reading to the right side of the screen and getting all the content I need. I miss so much information in email and in digital reading because I'm not setting reading expectations for myself.

One of my big take-aways is that we must be mindful of teaching students how to slow down and engage in digital texts in meaningful ways.

Reading Strategies for the Digital Age

It is really important to model effective digital reading strategies for students. Show them how to look for embedded dictionaries, highlighters, note taking tools. 

Encourage your students to read with purpose and demonstrate that they have by using a note taking strategy or graphic organizer - either digital or paper/pen.

Students can simplify and customize their reading experience to eliminate distractions, use mark up features embedded in their device and make use of Chrome Extensions like Read&Write. Kasey Bell, in her post "How to Create a Dynamic Reading Experience" has some excellent instructions for how to make that work.

Digital Natives are what Jukes and Shaaf refer to as "Transfluent", which means they are fluent in multiple modes of of media and find it natural to communicate with images then mix in text and color. As teachers, we can capitalize on that by challenging students to be creators not just consumers of information. Give students the opportunity to make use of transfluency skills through the use of activities like Booksnaps and Sketchnoting.

Get some more details and ideas here: