Digital Reading Tools inform and guide kids up the accomplishment staircase, displayed at 50% of viewport width.
November 2020 by Terry Verduin


Learn how to get kids reading with digital reading tools, reading games, learning apps and information in blogs, social media and websites.

Beyond Watching

Island Prime? Digital reading tools can help students of every grade level with critical thinking, analysis and research skills. They compel kids to consume information, which remains a ticket to success in the digital world.

Path forward? Tech innovations are designed to help with challenges or disabilities. For example, some controllers are designed for individuals with limited mobility. Adults should guide use of electronic devices by children.

Getting Personal? Parents can use tools to cull information. Age-appropriate and personally relevant topics can be selected. These will supply information tailored to their children's needs for assessment and enjoyable discussion.

Ahead of the Curve? Standard school technology generated interest in interactive platforms. With phones, tablets or laptops, students use apps as learning aids. They make flash cards, write content and originate ideas.

Virtual Instruction? Schools use learning tools, like Google Classroom. Google has made this app available to individuals at no charge. Connectivity is accomplished with virtual meeting apps, like Zoom, also for free.

Performing Arts

Clean Slate? Pod-casting equipment and subscriptions are entering classrooms. As schools block popular audio or video content, students are routed to pod-cast feeds. Schools also monitor student-created information.

Podcast? This digital audio file is recorded for upload to the Internet. With a microphone and free audio recording software, students can produce, edit, then publish shareable content through existing or original RSS feeds.

Why RSS? This standardized system for website, blog or other online media content allows publishers to readily update information. Files distributed to subscribers arrive in the latest version. The format is easy to read.

ILE? This software-driven support aids teaching and learning. Discovery Education's Streaming Plus subscription is popular. Web cams, digital cameras and projection screens facilitate world-wide interactions.

Party Line? Tech disruptors challenge existing educational styles with alternative approaches, services and products. Many tools may be upgraded for added features. They can link motivated students to teachers and mentors.

Night on the Town? Parental guidance ensures materials are child-friendly. Feedback facilitates progress adjustments to learning. Technology paired with manual practice may aid handwriting of numbers, letters and words.

How to Get Kids Reading

What a Trip! Digital reading has affected how teaching activities are conducted. Word-processing and computer-related technologies have overtaken pen, paper and books in schools, at work and at home.

Perfect Getaway? Educational programs can be used at home. Some apps have portals. Parents can track children's reading rates. Other apps let kids publish their own books, make voice recordings and showcase performances.

Scratch-and-Sniff? Digital tools may be free of charge or purchased online and in retail stores. They have instructions to advise parents and educators. Tools may help reluctant beginning readers learn the joys behind storytelling.

Pops of Color? Play-like devices, audio and interactive books, learning games and apps go beyond entertainment. Engaging voices and sounds guide the acquisition of alphabet sounds, rhyming patterns and vocabulary.

Fishing Style? Children are attracted to tech action and interaction. Animations, magical experiences and user choices offered by technology lure them. Subtle game-like victories build confidence for the reading process.

Engage the Senses

Crossing Over? Interesting sounds may spark interest. Audio books are especially useful when disability prevents turning physical books pages. A child, who is not ready to read a book, can listen to one being read aloud.

Back from the Future? Kids savor hot subjects and favorite characters. Readiness and interest improve with pleasurable activities. They learn how to hold books, read texts left to right, right to left, vertically or horizontally.

Line of Duty? State-of-the art advancements put ongoing responsibility on students, parents and educators. Teams can stay abreast of trending hardware, software and applications. Students, parents and educators can collaborate.

All the Moves? Hands-on activities involving group sharing of resources and information are contagious. With or without technology, they invite participation and collaboration. Encouraging feedback creates a buzz.

Play Along? Reading Mentoring expands teamwork into the academic territory. Most children have access to cell phones for remote participation. Tablets or computers are not needed for most learning apps.

Reading Games and Learning Apps

Combat Zone? Tool users must exercise caution. The Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics released a study raising serious ethical and consumer protection issues involving apps for young children.

Fool's Game? Advertising in Young Children's Apps research from University of Michigan C. S. Mott Children's Hospital found hidden ads in 95% of free or paid apps reviewed for children age 5 or younger.

Life's a Picnic? The apps reviewed by researchers from the University of Michigan C. S. Mott Children's were from popular tech giants. The backlash expanded to apps in Google Play Store labeled “educational”.

Fired Up? Apps trick kids into buying things. A team led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Center for Digital Democracy sent a letter to the FTC about these “deceptive marketing tactics”.

Bold School? Commercial data collection, assessment and monitoring fuel data-driven schools. The Department of Education funds outside adaptive learning platforms to analyze test performance, grades and behaviors.

Don't Be Sorry

Wild at Heart? Suspecting falsehood, skepticism is aimed at Silicon Valley by default. Parents, students and teachers reject digital interaction. Under-performing schools often put licenses and permissions under fire.

Moving On? Entertaining and creative alternatives include printed books. Book reading is not tracked online. A combined approach is preferable. Accelerated reader answers on websites for this author's books are private.

Custom Solutions? Screencastify is a free digital reading tool extension for Chrome. Chromebook gives verbal feedback on presentations, instructions or assignments from captured website video and recorded screen content.

In the Middle? AnswerGarden is from Apple Inc. This learning app facilitates brainstorming, feedback and audience participation. Students, teachers and other users can participate in a question-and-answer process.

Paws Up? Here are 18 Digital Tools and Strategies that Support Students' Reading and Writing from progressive teachers in Littleton, Colorado. These may be worth downloading to help everyone get started with digital tools.