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New Generation of Apps Make Reading Assignments More Productive and Enjoyable for Students and Teachers

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These Reading Apps for Smartphones and Tablets are Ushering in big Changes in how we Read.

The modern reading landscape stretches beyond the limits of an actual book made of paper. We’re surrounded by technological advances that can change the way reading occurs in our daily lives. Online reading, virtual classrooms, apps to keep us updated with the most recent book releases, and more, are now at our fingertips. Can technology make reading experiences more worthwhile and fun? Definitely! Apps can do more than just entertain us, they can also help us learn. Here’s a few cool apps that can make reading more productive and engaging.

Instapaper example pic from Flicker

Readmill – Reading with a Social Twist

Readmill is an excellent free e-book reader (for iOS or Andriod devices) that allows you to share and read books, PDFs, and other electronic document types directly from your phone or tablet. It comes with an elegant typography, easy brightness, and nighttime reading abilities to make your experience as pleasant as possible. Try out the social feature of Readmill to share thoughts about the books you’ve just read with the Readmill community. The app also has the ability to store eBooks and maintain everything in-sync throughout your other technical devices. For example, uploading books from your personal computer on readmill.com can sync to your tablet or smartphone as well.

Teacher Gerald Lucas discusses how he uses this app in his Humanities class in this blog post. “A good classroom use of this feature is the two-minute response. Have students find a highlighted passage and spend a couple of minutes discussing it. Then, have students respond to the passage and discussion as a comment to the annotation. This activity gets everyone participating, even those reticent ones, and allows me to judge the class’ understanding of the particular passage when I review their comments.”

Subtext

Subtext is another free powerful reading app that brings social elements and more to reading in and out of the classroom. In her article, “The Necessity of the Connected Text – Why Just Switching to E-reading Isn’t Enough”, teacher Alison Edwards explains, “One app that is working for me in the high school English classroom is Subtext. Subtext (free on iTunes) is an e-reader that incorporates the benefits of social media into the classroom and amplifies, not diminishes, teachers’ abilities to do all of the things that encourage authentic learning. Teachers are no longer bound to the textbook and are able to bring in texts that they want to teach.  Students are no longer limited to a teacher’s knowledge to gain the appropriate context that is essential to understanding a text.”

This video provides a brief effective peek at what teachers can with the Subtext reader in the classroom.

Instapaper

Instapaper is a somewhat different kind of eReader – in addition to being an easy way to store and save web articles for reading, the inexpensive app (available for iOS or Android) creates perfectly formatted content from cluttered web pages. It works offline too, and it can be accessed anywhere at any time. Tablet and mobile-optimized, Instapaper makes reading this type of content more pleasant and productive because the experience is clean and uncluttered. If you’re not in the mood for reading an article now, save it and read it later even if you’re not connected to the internet. Some of the app’s main features:

  • Saves web pages as text
  • Stripes away full-size layouts and optimize it for your phone or tablet’s screen size
  • Offers a distraction-free environment

Audible

Audible is an audio app that allows users to listen to the books they want to read. Choose from over 150,000 titles available and enjoy the fun experience. Sometimes the audio approach is what some reluctant student readers need to get the ‘reading'. Of course, this can also be helpful in certain meeting certain assistive technology requirements as well.

With Audible, you can adjust reading pace, bookmark pages, and skip chapters, or set the reading timer and prepare for a good night sleep reading an interesting book. Some of Audible’s main features include:

  • Chapter navigation, sleep mode, bookmarking, variable narration speed
  • Background downloading and listening multi-tasking
  • Book transfer via Wi-Fi
  • Facebook and Twitter sharing and connecting
  • Access to a varied library with over 150,00 books

These are just a few of the new generation of reading apps that are changing the nature of what reading assignments can entail. Reading for school is definitely evolving with the times!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Collaborative Writing with BoomWriter, a Free Award-Winning App for Teaching and Learning
The Necessity of the Connected Text – Why Just Switching to E-reading Isn’t Enough
Collaborative Learning on Touchtables: Engaging Students with Group Work

12 COMMENTS

  1. […] These Reading Apps for Smartphones and Tablets are Ushering in big Changes in how we Read. The modern reading landscape stretches beyond the limits of an actual book made of paper. We’re surrounded by technological advances that can change the way reading occurs in our daily lives. Online reading, virtual classrooms, apps to keep us updated with the most recent book releases, and more, are now at our fingertips. Can technology make reading experiences more worthwhile and fun? Definitely! Apps can do more than just entertain us, they can also help us learn. Here’s a few cool apps that can make reading more productive and engaging.  […]

  2. […] "The modern reading landscape stretches beyond the limits of an actual book made of paper. We’re surrounded by technological advances that can change the way reading occurs in our daily lives. Online reading, virtual classrooms, apps to keep us updated with the most recent book releases, and more, are now at our fingertips. Can technology make reading experiences more worthwhile and fun? Definitely! Apps can do more than just entertain us, they can also help us learn. Here’s a few cool apps that can make reading more productive and engaging"  […]

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