This fall I offered to help out in my child’s Kindergarten classroom. At first I came just once a week to offer support to the teacher during their ‘literacy hour’. I began paper assessments of the basic literacy skills of the kids in class. This was time consuming but did give me some immediate information about the children’s learning needs. Like many Kindergarten classes, this one has a wide range of skill levels, including some kids who cannot identify a single letter of the alphabet as well as kids who are already reading on their own.
Yet, the individual instruction that would help these students on either end of the literacy spectrum is in short supply. How can one adult, even with a very well-behaved class of 20 five-year-olds possibly give any one child more than a few minutes of individual help? I immediately began imagining how thoughtful use of the iPad and early literacy apps might both engage and keep on task some of the lowest functioning kids … not to mention the ways iPad apps might help gifted kids keep expanding their love of the written word.
I was so energized about what some of the iPad apps I’ve used with my child could do for his classmates that I talked the teacher into letting me bring my two iPads into class. I began working with the highest and lowest functioning kids regularly, bringing my volunteering up to 4 days a week for one hour/day. This will be the first post of many updates I’ll make this school year about that experience.
Often we hear about iPad programs in various school districts … but what happens when your own child’s school district is nowhere near rolling out a cutting edge technology? I decided the children in my own child’s class didn’t have to wait for the district to ‘catch up’ technologically. With just two iPads, a dozen programs costing less than $10 total and the willingness of my child’s amazing Kindergarten teacher, I have embarked on my own mini-research project to see if one parent can make a difference with less than 4 hours a week volunteering.
Wish me luck! And if you have any suggestions for early literacy apps I should consider for this project, please let me know. Currently I am using the following apps:
I will be adding in regular book apps (with word-by-word highlighting) later on in the school year and will list my favorites in future posts …