As many students and families are taking advantage of Kindle Unlimited subscriptions for pleasure reading, the Kindle App can also be used to develop close reading skills. Close reading is more than just annotating or highlighting a text. Close reading is active learning. Many kinesthetic learners struggle with reading because they are not involved in the reading. These learners thrive with printed texted where they have the freedom to doodle, circle, underline and highlight. However, as we move to digital age and paperless learning, where does that leave these students?
To assist these students and all students, let’s take a look at a few solutions for digital close reading. Blog writer, Dave Stuart, Jr. addresses the need for purposeful annotations. Students should have a reason for annotating their reading. As they read, the goal is for them to be learning from the reading during the process, asking questions, such as “what else was happening during this period in History?” or “What does action say about the person’s character?’ Perhaps students do not understand a word or phrase, or wonder why the author included a specific detail. Furthermore, as students are reading a text, they should know what is expected after the reading. Will they be analyzing the character, comparing a written piece to a multimedia presentation? Is the purpose to find connections between two historical accounts or compare a historical event to a current event?
Given a purpose for reading, students will engage more effectively. By using active reading strategies, students are writing down their ideas, questions and thoughts. According to research in the science of learning by Richard Mayer, it is important to limit cognitive load. Which means that the brain can only focus on a limited concepts at a time. By annotating during the reading process, their minds are free to think about the next part of the text. When students have completed the reading, they should have a few thoughts from each page to guide their thinking, reflection, or response to the reading, These notes do not need to be lengthy, just enough to spark their memory.
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