Best Practices – Playaways

This is a great best practice implemented in a 7th grade reading class.

As a former reading teacher, I was always cognizant of my reading to a class. Specifically, I was leary about always reading to the class because I didn’t want their internal reading voice to be my voice and I wanted them to hear how others read well and appreciate a diversity of abilities. Visiting Mr. Sweeney’s class brought a lot of that back. You will see him use a Playaway to help move his class along their novel, ‘Lord of the Flies.’

The @Playaway is a digitally recorded book on a small device that gives the reader/listener ability determine his/her own pace and placement in the book. Its not complicated tech but great for students. We have several playaways and often use them for individual students but this is a great, broader application. Mr Sweeney, 7th grade reading teacher, has attached the Playaway to his classroom speakers and allows the class to hear a very distinct voice read this classic. Again, this experience is not about whether Mr Sweeney can read a book aloud [even though he will never have the British accent in this video], its about implementing a strategy that facilitates him focusing his efforts on the next step while adding another experience for the readers.

There was some trepidation to bring ‘Lord of the Flies’ into 7th grade reading [I remember reading it in high school]. This divergent thinking helps us support kids in unique ways. After the large class read, individual students can take the @Playaway and go back to individual or small group reading to review and reinforce any material they would like to.

This is a creative way to bring challenging material into the class and support kids in reading a great book! [Piggy!!]

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