Work Smarter: Using Tech Tools to Promote Reading and Writing Workshops

To many educators, personalizing reading and writing instruction sounds like an impossible and, oftentimes, lofty dream. But with our culture’s ever-increasing dependency on text, especially as we transition to digital media, online reading, and electronic communication, it’s more important than ever to help our children become fluent readers and writers.

Reading and Writing Workshop (or RWW) has taken education by storm over the past twenty years. While it offers a student-driven, personalized approach to literacy, the task of managing such complexity can be overwhelming for even the most experienced educators. Fortunately, tech tools and applications are here to help.

Not to worry–no one’s suggesting that technology do the teaching. Instead, leveraging technology can remove some of the mundane tasks associated with Reading and Writing Workshop, helping you and your students work smarter… not necessarily harder. Check out these two tips for implementing Reading and Writing Workshops with your kiddos.

Choose a Versatile App to Promote Your Students’ Thinking

It’s really easy to fall into a trap when looking for apps. So many apps are content-specific, but that’s not what you need for an effective Reading and Writing Workshop. Instead, what you need are apps that promote thinking, not content. These three apps will be sure to give you a lot of “bang for your buck.”

iCardSort: One of the best ways to help kids construct their own understanding of content is through sorting. By sorting, students are able to identify examples and non-examples of items within categories like spelling patterns, parts of speech, or other groups of related information, building their own context for the content. iCardSort, an app that creates movable electronic cards, allows students to sift through and sort information. Most simply, it can be used for categorizing, but the possibilities are endless! It can also be used for building sentences, research, or even learning how to write paragraphs.

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