Podcasting and the Five Big Ideas of Reading
My son is nine years old and has really benefited from using podcasting to improve his reading comprehension and motivation to read. The problem is that he only has access to podcasting at home. It's not that his school lacks resources, rather it has been that his teachers have trouble understanding how podcasting can be incorporated into reading instruction. In fairness to his teachers, my experience has been that the bells and whistles of podcasting are emphasized rather than podcasting as a specific curriculum integration tool. I started wondering how we might leverage podcasting to develop reading skills within all the five big ideas of reading.
The National Reading Panel concluded that quality literacy instruction encompasses Five Big Ideas.
- Phonemic Awareness: The ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words.
- Alphabetic Principle: The ability to associate sounds with letters and use these sounds to form words.
- Fluency with Text: The effortless, automatic ability to read words in connected text.
- Vocabulary: The ability to understand (receptive) and use (expressive) words to acquire and convey meaning.
- Comprehension: The complex cognitive process involving the intentional interaction between reader and text to convey meaning.
Retrieved [January 24, 2009] from Big Ideas in Beginning Reading from http://reading.uoregon.edu/big_ideas/trial_bi_index.php
Connections between reading and podcasting:
- Repeated Reading is a typical technique to develop fluency. Students read the same text several times to develop appropriate reading speed and accuracy. Not all students are motivated to read the same passage again and again. Add podcasting and suddenly a student is practicing with purpose.... rehearsing and recording their best reading. In fact all the digital recording programs I have used actually displays the cadence of speech. Students can visually see whether their reading is fluent or not providing instant feedback.
- Reading to children is an essential component of a reading program. What if older students recorded recorded themselves reading popular children's books and younger children could listen to them as they followed a long in the book? Checking out an iPod from the library? Downloading books from a school website? Add an RSS feed and audio books can be instantly pushed out to families.
- Retelling is a popular method for testing for comprehension. Instead of students "telling" the teacher, students can record their retelling in a podcast. Students can listen to each other's podcast to determine who captured the most complete retelling.
- Teachers could also use podcasting to have students create commercials or recommendations of their favorite books. Other students could listen to their commercial to decide if they want to read the book or not.
Click here to listen to a few examples of kid-created podcasts which augmented guided reading instruction.
It's clear to me that podcasting could be a wonderful tool to make reading and writing more relevant and motivating for students. Scenarios like the ones above can also make training sessions more relevant and motivating for teachers.
What are other ways podcasting could support reading instruction?
Podcasting photo courtesy of Dave Gray on Flickr.
Children's books photo courtesy of Heidi Blanton-Hansen on Flickr