Our hashtag #snapreading trended on Twitter!!

Wednesday’s SNAP Twitter Party was a fabulous success! We were joined by teachers, homeschoolers and parents who interacted with each other and learnt a lot about Close reading and the SNAP reading products. A Big Shout Out to everyone who participated to help us get #snapreading trending!

SNAP Trending

Thanks again Angela Watson and Heidi Morgan for hosting the party for us.

The winners of the party were announced on Twitter at 10 pm EST.

The $25 amazon gift cards were won by @stephan94848598, @lorene4too, @dalichwer and @MrsLowhorn. The winners of the SNAP Lunch boxes were @mykidsloveme2 and @Triciateach. The grand prize was won by @RLSD333.

Thanks everyone for joining our party and sharing your tips on close reading.

If you missed, don’t worry! We will definitely be having another party soon. Keep tuned to our twitter feed!

Close Reading: An Interview With Dave Stuart Jr

We interviewed Dave Stuart Jr, a full-time teacher at Cedar Springs High School on how he implements close reading in his classroom. Dave Stuart Jr is a full-time teacher at Cedar Springs High School and founder of Teaching the Core. He advocates a non-freaked out, focused approach to literacy and character, and his approach perfectly aligns with everything from the Common Core to, well… common sense.

dave-stuart-jr-headshot-300x300SNAP: How do you incorporate close reading into your instruction?

Dave: I teach my students to read closely for a purpose — that’s the key. For example, if they’ll be writing an open-ended response to a text, they should closely read for things the author says that they have something to say about.

SNAP: How do you choose texts for close reading?

Dave: I look for texts that connect to what we’re currently studying in class. My goal is texts that are appropriately complex for 9th graders — I then scaffold as needed for my struggling readers.

SNAP: Where do you find texts for close reading?

Dave: Kelly Gallagher’s articles of the week page, Newsela.com, TheWeek.com, my short story anthologies from college, our world history textbook — it depends on the kind of text I’m looking for.

SNAP: What kinds of annotation marks do you have students use?

Dave: I tell my students to give 1-2 thoughtful annotations per page, and those annotations should align with their purpose for reading. I explain the “purposeful annotation” concept, in-depth, right here. So I guess my answer to the question is that I don’t give specific marks; instead, I want intelligible thoughts that students can expand upon in post-reading writing or discussion.

SNAP: How do you assess students’ close reading skills?

Dave: I quickly skim their annotations while walking around and checking to ensure they are understanding the assignment and the text.

SNAP: Do you follow up with a constructed response after a close reading activity? If so, how do you plan the question?

Dave: I often do — I try to pick questions that can be dealt with in 1-2 paragraphs and that are provocative. The ideal question engages my students and is informed by a careful reading of the text.

SNAP: How often do you close read?

Dave: Several times per week.

SNAP: What are the benefits of close reading?  

Dave: Having students read a text closely helps them to have something to say about a text and to based conclusions drawn from the text on textual evidence.

My goal is and always will be to have kids reading as much as possible. Reading a variety of shorter texts closely is one way that we do that.

You can follow Dave on Twitter @davestuartjr

Performing in Education: SNAP Close Reading Portfolio Reviewed

My sixth grade students have been using the Snap! learning close reading portfolio for the last few weeks, and they LOVE it. I’m not sure if I can get them to close read using paper or pencil again after using such a fun, interactive program.
Setup for teachers is super easy. I copied & pasted my student’s names into an Excel spreadsheet from my roster, and then I assigned them the same username we use for our school Google accounts. Many programs assign usernames to the students, or make the students sign up individually, but I much prefer this system!
Once you have the students setup, you can assign them one or more books based on their individual reading level. I assigned several at a time so that I don’t have to reassign every time a student is finished.

5 Entertaining Ways to Read Aloud this March

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Another international event, another great excuse to snuggle down with a book! Snap Learning is thrilled to partner with LitWorld and help readers around the world celebrate Read Aloud Day.

As publishers of leveled readers, we truly believe in the impact that reading aloud (and along) can have on a young reader’s literacy skills.

So in order to encourage readers both young and old to read aloud this March 5th, we’ve listed out ways in which you can have fun doing so:

  1. Sing aloud! Take your favorite poem, verse or child’s book and read to a song tune you already know. It won’t take more than a few tries to find to the right tune to fit your new words, but it can be remarkably exciting when it does!
  2. Give a speech. Find a famous speech, new or old, politician or pop-star and read it aloud for your friends, class or family. Points for dressing up.
  3. It’s the sound of love: Choose a romantic paragraph or love letter from a period book, place one hand on your heart, locate the nearest person of the opposite sex and start reading. Don’t forget to sigh and pause for dramatic emphasis and if you are really committed, pull a long soulful face, flutter your eyelashes or get down on one knee.
  4. Do the accent: Y’all ever eyeball a para or two that looks like English, but just ain’t? Mebbe that feller just got an accent, y’know? Learn the accent and then see if you can give that dialogue a whirl!
  5. Sound/Act the Word: Pick a section you are going to read and then choose a frequently occurring word or person in that passage.  For example, if you are reading about Elephants in Africa, you could choose the word ‘safari’ or ‘elephant’. Then you decide what action you will make to accompany the word. The elephants (trumpet like an elephant) walked slowly across the dusty plains. Most of the elephants (trumpeting noise) would stay together till they reached the watering hole, but Josey elephant (trumpeting noise) was different.

We hope you have a great Read Aloud Day, and to help you spread the reading fun, you can download a free copy of a published Snap Learning Fiction Book here.

 

 

 

iPad Curriculum: Snap! Digital Reading Program Reviewed

What it is: Snap! Digital Reading Program is a set of interactive leveled books that can be printed, viewed on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, interactive whiteboards or classroom computer.  All of the books in the program have been developed to help teachers meet requirements in the Common Core Standards in vocabulary and comprehension through the use of direct instruction, close reading, modeling, guided and independent practice, and text-dependent questioning.

Built-in Teacher Lesson Plans

Built-in Teacher Lesson Plans

Each leveled reader has a digital interactive version that includes fluency exercises, comprehension and multiple-choice type assessments.  As your students read, you can track what they are reading, view the digital assessments and performance reports.  These reports include information about CLOZE scores, multiple choice scores, and fluency.  You can also see information about the  last book they read (word counts, difficulty, words read correctly, etc.).  Snap! Digital Reading Program also includes lesson plans associated with each book.  While the program isn’t a free one, a year-long subscription to all materials (interactive ebooks for student, printable PDF versions of the books/lessons/other materials, and the data analytics for all of your students is just $89.  Pretty reasonable for access for every student in your class!

How to use the Snap! Digital Reading Program in your classroom: I’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating: when you have a limited classroom library (due to space, as a new teacher, budget, etc.) ebooks are such a great way to instantly expand that library exponentially!  Snap! helps you do that and more.  Not only are you able to offer your students additional access to reading material, they have the added benefit of getting interactive books that give you data so that you can better guide students in choosing books that will help them fall in love with reading.  The readers can also be used for reading interventions, guided reading, shared reading and tutoring.  The leveled readers are for students in grades k-8, so even if you have a super advanced second grade student, you can continually challenge them.

Snap! Digital Reader Library iLearn TechnologyRead the Full Review here: http://www.ipadcurriculum.com/2013/08/snap-digital-reading-program-for-ipad/