What Inspired this Project?
Reading is one of the most important skills that everyone need to have in order to be successful in life. If students don’t have a strong foundation in reading, it will affect them throughout their education, and in their workplace as adults. Every student should be successful and leave classrooms with a love for reading and a strong understanding why reading is so important for their success. According to brain researcher, Laura Masters, (2016, personal comunication), “Silent Reading is better for retaining information than reading out loud.” This is why giving students time to read silently and write a reflection on what they have read is one way that students can process the information.
Reading has always been one of my passions. As a student, one of my favorite parts of the school day was when the teacher would assign Sustained Silent Reading (SSR). I really enjoyed this time because it was a time where I could pick any book and read for the pure pleaseure and enjoyment of reading. It wasn't assigned content reading. As a teacher, I want to give all students an opportunity during the school day to also pick up a book and read for pleasure. That is why, three days out of the week, I set aside some time for students to read. The problem that I have seen with this practice is that not all students are fully engaged during this time. Students who are avid readers, take advantage of this time and immerse themslves in their reading. However, there are some students that don't enjoy reading, and are often disengaged. This became a problem that I wanted to find a solution for...or at least try.
That's when I came up with the question of What is the Effect of Digital Tools on Student Engagement in Reading?
My goal was to have all of my students become more engaged in their reading. However, one of the problems with doing SSR is that there is no accountablity, and perhaps that is why students are not as engaged because they know that there won't be any work attached to their reading. That's how I came up with the idea of having students not only read, but they had to write a response to their reading in a digital journal using Google Docs. Aside from doing their jounal entries, they also had to comment on a classmates' journal entry.
The driving questions this study explored was the effect of digital tools on student reading and journaling. The qualitative data analyzed were student journal entries completed using technology. Data revealed the following: