The enormously popular Kindle e-reader has revolutionized the way we read books. Easy to use and lighter than paper tomes, the devices allow users to carry a virtual library of texts with them.
Not surprisingly, some schools are also experimenting with these e-readers in the classroom. If you’re thinking of allowing students to use Kindles, here are eight tips to help ensure a positive experience.
Project the text. Download the free KindleReadingApp for your computer or tablet. Then use your notebook, netbook, PC, Mac or tablet to display text on a whiteboard or projector. This enables whole-class reading, with students able to tune into the same text at the same time. Displaying the text also brings a visual element to read-alouds.
Take advantage of text-to-speech. Kindle readers have the added benefit of a text-to-speech function, which means students can hear and see the text at the same time. This tool can help reinforce the skills of struggling readers.
Adjust the text size. Students with vision problems can increase the size of the text to help them see and read better. Users can choose from eight different text sizes on the latest version of the Kindle reader.
Use smart Kindle management. Be sure to give each of your classroom Kindles a unique name. Then, mark them appropriately and keep a log of who has which device. This will ensure that you always know where your Kindle readers are—especially if you allow students to take them home.
Reinforce user rules. To ensure that the Kindles remain in good working order, it’s important that you create a set of rules for those borrowing the devices. Examples include “never leave a Kindle on the floor” and “no downloading books.”
Encourage dictionary use. Another useful feature of Kindle readers is the ability to highlight a word and look up its meaning. For students reading difficult texts, this can be an educational boon. Teach kids how to use this tool and encourage them to do so.
Take advantage of public-domain texts. Due to copyright expiration, many classics—such as works by Charles Dickens and Jane Austen—are now available for free on the Kindle. Students can read these masterful works for learning and pleasure.
Relish the anonymity. Different students read at different proficiency levels, but with the anonymity of the Kindle reader, no one will know who’s reading what. For below-level readers, this can remove the stigma of paper books with obvious level markings.