Research studies have shown that the use of technology has a direct positive relationship with students’ engagement and self-directed learning (Rashid, T,. 2016) I wanted to see if that was true in my own classroom. That lead me to conduct my own research about increasing student engagement during silent reading by using technology. I found that, in fact, technology does increase their engagement. My students became engaged in their reading and they liked writing in their digital journals, as well as responding to their classmates.
Keywords: silent reading, engagement, interactive journals, SSR, literacy, technology
One of the major problems that one finds in a classroom is that students that are reading below grade level lack some kind of accountability for their reading practice. Often, students are asked to read with no work to be done afterwards. This lack of structure and accountability often leads to disengagement. Additionally, some of these same students lack reading resources outside of school. These students don’t always have easy access to books outside of school, they have parents who lack formal education, and reading is something that might not encouraged at home. One of the solutions to this problem is to provide ample opportunities for these students to work on their reading skills during the school day. By giving them time to read books at their level and their own interest, and a way to process information through journal entries, might be one way in which students can increase their reading literacy and engagement.
The purpose of this study was to increase reading engagement during silent reading in a fifth grade class. As mentioned before, students are not always held accountable during this practice of reading silently. Students in the study were held accountable for their reading through the use of interactive digital journals where they wrote a response to what they had read. Additionally, students shared their digital journals with classmates so that they could respond to each other.
The Effect of Digital Tools on Student Engagement During Reading: Here you will find out more on the process and the positive results about using digital journals to engage students in reading.
This data was gathered from students using a google form. In this survey, students were asked questions about their thoughts about SSR, about having to write in their digital journals, responding to clasmates' entries, and their overall engagement when using digital tools. The results show that they did enjoy reading, even before implementing the use of digital tools. However, what is interesting about this data is that they liked responding to a classmates' journal, rather than writing in their own journal. Finally, students felt like the digital journals helped them in becoming more engaged during their reading period. One can conclude that digital tools can in fact have a positive effect on student engagement during silent reading.
For more information on similar research on student engagement during silent reading and the use of technology tools, you can visit my Literature Review Table.
Research Poster: Click on the image for more information on my action research.