Monday, March 06, 2006

iTunes and Classroom Read-Alouds

This week I will be starting The Giver by Lowis Lowery with my sixth graders so this weekend I downloaded the audiobook from iTunes. With my busy schedule (four subjects at school and three two year-olds at home), I have an extremely difficult time reading the books from our reading list.

After listening to the first few chapters I began to think of the potential these mp3 audiobooks have for the classroom. Having students listen to books on tape has always been a strategy that teachers have employed to assist struggling readers. Times have changed and tape recorders and books on tape have mostly been replaced by CD players and books on CD.

Ideas for mp3 Audiobooks

Well, time is still marching on and although CD books still dominate the audiobook market in schools, I'd like to propose a change. For The Giver, I have a few ideas for how I'd like to use the mp3 version of the book:
  • Keep a copy on my home computer and one on my school computer. This way, I can listen while I work, wherever I might be.
  • Play certain chapters aloud through my computer for my students. (Side note: Imagine playing the book through the Logitech mm50 compact speaker system. Okay, so the speakers may add no value to the lesson; but the kids would think it was the coolest thing ever.) For the reading teachers among us, we're well aware of the benefits of read-alouds, particularly those coming from highly fluent readers.
  • I will burn CDs for those students who would like to listen to it on their own. This would especially be helpful to students with reading difficulties. Of course, the same thing can be done with iPods. I am lucky to teach in a pretty affluent school district where a few kids own iPods. Since I am allowed to put the mp3's I download onto as many iPods as I want, I'll simply offer my students the mp3 version of the book to listen to whenever they want.
Any other ideas? Drop me a comment and let me know.

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