Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2016

Listening Reading

I find it interesting how many times I have discussions with others about what classifies as "reading". So many don't include other forms, such as audio although they get very hesitant when I ask about braille. I do understand that with print, such as you are reading now, it is the combination of the saccades and fixations to combine the elements into a whole word, and the words into sentences, and on and on. But if part of that "literacy" is the understanding, then listening to the words, or feeling the letters and words should also count. In one of my classes the students are required to "read" a book by listening. One good thing that I think that they experience is the struggle in "learning to read" as an adult. For most of us, learning to read occurred so long ago that you don't remember what it was like to learn that. Now as my students as adults are trying to read their audio book they talk about the fatigue they experiences throug…

Traveling with an Ebook - China

Teaching and traveling again this summer. This time to Kunming, China, with a stop off in Hong Kong. Ending up reading thirty books (including plane time) this trip and once again this was made easier by traveling with an ebook reader. Considering that the average paperback weighs between half and a pound, and the average hardback is about 1-1.5 pounds, that would have been a least an extra 20 pounds of books to carry, instead just carried a device that weighed less that one pound and fit in my pocket (and I can honestly tell you that the book stores in Kunming don't have books in English-nor did I expect them to).  One other great thing was I converted things that I needed, like maps of towns, subways, and other documents into PDFs, and then moved them into my e-reader, so that I always had them available that way, right in my pocket.

Reading with the Big Buddha :-)

Free Open Textbooks and Resources

If you are planning your next semester for your students, you might want to consider using some open source textbooks for them to use instead of purchasing or renting. I know that my students have commented on their appreciation of me providing them a free open source text over them having to purchase an additional book. I believe that the numbers that I read before were along the line of undergraduates having an ongoing credit card debt of over $5K, and graduate students of over $8K, a good portion of which was attributed to extra costs at college/university of which a big part was textbooks. I know that the college board estimates that the average student spends about $1200 on books and supplies and that a single book can cost as much as $200. I read that according to National Association of College Stores, the average price of a new textbook increased from $57 in 2007 to $65 in 2010 and to $79 in 2013, which would include some pretty low cost required reading like paperback novels,…

Writing for others beyond the classroom

Perhaps it is familiarity breeds contempt, or maybe it is just familiarity breeds a giving break. Either way, we do know that students will work harder on their writing when they know that what they are writing is going to be read by more than just their teacher, their parent, or the student next to them. So as the school year is ending and you are thinking about what to do next year, think about having your students produce and publish their work and put it out to the world. Below are two articles about how teachers have gotten their students to activity publish their work either as books or magazines. If you want to try some book publishing yourself (or with your students), you might want to start with a tool like StoryBird (, there you can write your story, then have it published into their digital library, and if you really want to you can even buy a printed (soft- or hard-cover) copy of the book for your shelves - or the school library's collection.


Vision and School Success

As a child who had print disabilities and did in fact need glasses, I can attest that I'm not surprised about this. While my own vision was good till about 6th grade, then I was involved in an accident that detached a retina and started deteriorating, giving me conflicting vision between my eyes, when in 7th grade led to failing spelling. Today, while the conflict is gone, I still use larger print as it is so much easier to read (than a size 10 or 12 font), which is a great thing about ebooks. I also now teach my own students about how they should check their students for things like both eyes tracking and convergence just by watching a student's eyes.

Data show link between students' eyesight, academic performance Just 15 states require that preschool students be screened for vision problems, according to a report released today by the National Center for Children's Vision and Eye Health. Research has shown that vision problems can affect students' academic perform…

StoryBots - free for early childhood teachers

Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers can have free access to StoryBots from .

StoryBots Classroom offers an expansive new suite of classroom-ready activities and resources,including:
Math Skills – Common Core-aligned kindergarten-level math games Learning Videos – a library of 110+ animated musical videos that explore a wide range of topics Starring You® and Learning Books – 90+ eBooks that help kids practice reading Starring You® Videos – offering fun, quick and personalized reward for the classroom and can be used for brain breaks Activity Sheets – 20 printable books and 350+ sheets for teachers to use in their classrooms Teacher Tools – including Class Roster, Lesson Planner, Group Builder — to help educators manage their classroom and create custom plans.

But, have they been reading?

Here is an interesting experiment that was done with ebooks, that would be very hard to do with print books and get good results. These publishers wanted to know if reading completion rates were the same for males and females. They added a bit of code, called candy.js, to the ebook that sent back information on the reader with the completion of each chapter the next time the reader device was online.  Then they found out that the completion rate was about the same for each gender. Instead, bigger issues for completion rates were things within the book like the writing style, characters, and topic were more influential on book completion. This trend held true across multiple genres including non-fiction, and literary fiction (including fantasy, science fiction, and crime).

Now as a research tool this is very interesting, as it eliminates the self-survey issues that have been commonly used to interview people - either the book was read or not, and there is specific data to show it. Thin…