Smart Brief | July 18, 2017
By: Dr. Tim Webb
Journaling is a great way to measure students’ reading comprehension. When I first began teaching seven years ago, I had students record their thoughts about what they read in traditional composition books. It was simple and effective.
We recently transitioned to a digital format and it’s been a positive experience. Our school uses digital-library software myON for reading and journaling. Here are the benefits I’ve seen:
More meaningful responses. Today’s students are digital natives. They grew up with a device in their hands. As such, when they record their reflections in their journals, they are comfortable and their responses are more thoughtful and meaningful.
Personalized goals. My class and I use the dashboard in myON to make groups based on the students’ literacy goals. Those who wish to focus on reading fluency or vocabulary can personalize their project to reflect that and emphasize those skills in their journal responses.
More ways to be creative. Digital journaling is a good way for students to flex their creative muscle. Most journaling platforms support the use of images, video, and audio. Some allow users to draw and color. These are all fun ways for students to reflect and personalize insights from their reading.
Improved confidence. Some students read at a lower level than others. The privacy and autonomy of the digital platform has helped these students grow. I see it in their journal entries. Their responses show a boost in confidence and deeper comprehension of the content.
Reduced grading time. Digital journaling has improved not only my students’ learning experience, but it has also improved assessments and grading. I can now look at everyone’s work without having to bring home 15 journals a night.
Francesca Perrone-Britt is a fifth-grade teacher at Mort Elementary School in the Hillsborough County Public School district of Tampa, Florida. She’s a member of the Mort Teacher Leader Academy and earned her M.A in Reading Education from the University of South Florida. She can be reached at: email.