Middle school and high school students today have never known a world in which they couldn’t look something up on the internet, or use a cell phone, or download a book for reference. It makes sense to use the tools of modern technology as much as possible to teach speed reading and to promote good reading habits – they’re tools that students are familiar with, and comfortable with. What’s more, because it’s so easy to create interactive and fun games with technology, students are more likely to use those tools willingly, and might even forget that they’re working hard and studying! Here are some ways that teachers around the world are using high tech to help students get high scores on reading tests:
By making text messaging a valid way for kids to respond in the classroom, teachers are encouraging full participation, even from students who are normally too shy to speak up, or who don’t want to “feel stupid” if they give a wrong answer. By linking an overhead display to the message chain, everyone can see all of the answers, but not who sent them. The fast pace of messaging and response boosts the reading speed of all students.
While students might complain about having to write an essay on paper, they’ll probably not object to using a blogging tool to do the same amount of writing – or more. Reading and writing go hand in hand when developing the ability to speed read, because the more you do one, the better you’ll be at the other. When students can write their own texts as well as reading what other students have written, they’ll advance faster than by doing everything on their own.
When students are using online resources they’re exposed to many areas of learning, including visual arts. When teachers encourage exploration and research into online databases and stored texts, students will quickly learn how to scan documents for the information they need, which is a key technique for increasing reading speed.
Outside the classroom, there are lots of games and apps out there (many of them free) that focus on reading skills and promote speed reading. If you’re a parent or teacher, encourage children to download and use them. And remember that it’s never to late to learn new technology – get a few apps for yourself while you’re at it!