Reading Doors

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Digital Reading Ch. 3-5 Reflection - #CyberPD

In Chapters 3-5 of Digital Reading: What's Essential in Grades 3-8 by William L. Bass II and Franki Sibberson the focus is on authenticity, intentionality, and connectedness. These three concepts must be present in order to develop students who have a deep understanding of the intricacies of digital reading. (I also found these chapters very engaging and wrote a lot more than I intended, for which I apologize.)

Chapter 3: What Really Matters? Authenticity

Authenticity means making it real, and something students may encounter or choose to do outside the classroom. It means giving students a choice in their reading work, because every student finds meaning from their reading in different ways, even in a digital world. Achieving true authenticity within the classroom can be a challenge when there are 20-30 students who all have different ways of absorbing, synthesizing, and sharing information. However, within our ever changing technological world, authenticity is so important to helping students become truly capable and productive members of society.

We need to remember that, although we may be comfortable with many different forms of technology and the tools that go with them, our students may not be. We can not assume they know what we know, simply because these tools have always been present in these students' worlds. 

"It is also easy to assume—erroneously—that our students have these skills and can easily transfer them to school." (pg. 29)

My favorite line in this chapter is one that I need to always have in mind in order to bring authentic digital learning into my classroom. "As we focus more on authentic digital reading, we must continue

to ask ourselves questions about our own reading lives so that we can make sure the things we are teaching our students are relevant in and out of school." (pg. 30)

In last weeks reflection I stated that "As I plan my teaching and instruction, I need to ask myself, 'Am I sharing my own process and consumption of digital texts with my students? Am I making this authentic and real?'" This chapter reaffirmed this thought. Am I sharing my own thought process and why I do what I do with technology and with my reading?

"Authenticity is what connects the work of school to the work of being a reader, helping students learn to embrace their reading lives." (pg. 43)

Chapter 4: What Really Matters? Becoming Intentional Decision Makers

In this chapter I really thought a lot about the opportunities that I can and do provide for my students. Simply sharing the available types of digital reading and tools with my students is not enough. They must have time to use these tools and texts in authentic ways of their choosing. I can not simply think they will learn just from watching me or that they will learn if I ask them all to do the same thing with the same tools at the same time. 

I must be intentional in my choice of texts and tools for the classroom, both in print and digitally, but I must also be intentional in providing time for authentic use of these text and tools. On page 51 there is a list of questions we should consider when planning how to use our time wisely. The ones that struck me the most stated, "How are learning tasks assigned? Are most assignments pencil and paper, or are digital tools part of the expectation? Are all students expected to do the same tasks on digital tools, or are they given choices in how to complete their assignments?" These are the questions that I need to remember and need to be intentional about considering when planning.

This chapter was choked full of ideas I want to try in my classroom:
I loved the Voices from the Classroom section on Wonderopolis and it's uses in Maria Caplin's classroom on pages 53-55. I have added several of her ideas to my notes for the upcoming school year.

I also found the Voices from the Classroom section on Learning to Read Critically incredibly powerful and useful. I also teach 4th grade students, and I can't wait to try this with them in the coming year!

"In the digital age, it’s not important for the teacher or the students to be familiar with every tool available. What’s important is the collective knowledge of the class and the power of each student bringing his or her own strategies, understanding, and reading experience to the classroom community." (pg. 64)

Chapter 5: What Really Matters? Connectedness

I really felt that this chapter piggy-backed off of Chapter 4 so well! It seemed to be an extension of the conversation about making intentional choices, but simply added in the specific intentional choices educators must make when helping to build a connected classroom. I especially appreciated the many, many resources that were provided and explained (explained being the big help for me). I have such a long list of ideas I want to learn more about and hopefully implement or try as the year progresses.

I love the statement that when educators provide several different ways for our classes to connect, students "begin to see connecting as a natural part of their reading, writing, and learning, and they begin to expect to learn with the world and not just about it." (pg. 76) This statement was a reminder and call to action for me to include the authentic, intentional, and connected digital experiences for my students simply because it is what is best for them.

This connectedness must also extend from simply connecting our classrooms to connecting various texts. This part of the connectedness focus I have had more experience and exposure with, as it is a big focus of the Common Core Standards that my district transitioned to a few years ago. I often use videos and text with Scholastic News articles throughout the year, both to initiate writing activities as well as simply having class discussions. However, I will need to work on expanding the ways I connect various types of texts within these digital literacy experiences. 

"Community and connectedness are bigger than a group of people. Rather, they are a way of thinking and being active in all that we consume and create." (pg. 79)


  1. You've made so many of the same points I enjoyed in the readings too, but that one statement about learning with the world instead of about it is the most powerful lesson we might all remember. It pulls every part together, don't you think? The authenticity, the intentionality, & the connectedness are all parts of the whole. Great to hear you share your main thoughts!

  2. I liked the way you included favorite quotes from the text. Your point about this all being a call to action is so true for me as well. I love that all this learning and growing reinforces our role as learners as well.

  3. These were three powerful chapters, weren't they? Lots to think about and try out.

  4. Stephanie,
    As you said, there is a link between authenticity, intention and connectedness that seems to be evident as we read. I think one of the points that has been discussed across blogs is the need for us to talk more about the ways we are intentional as digital citizens to help students to understand new possibilities and work with greater intention.