Kids Connect with Kindles
The Sherwood Education Foundation (SEF) funded a classroom full of Kindles (e-readers) for Maria Grant, a fourth grade teacher at Archer Glen Elementary, and the kids are crazy about them. Grant applied to SEF for a grant to purchase the Kindles because of the flexibility that they provide. The low cost and immediate availability of e-books lets her choose books for literature circles or novel studies based on student interest rather than on the titles that the district happens to possess in large quantity.
For example, one week her class was reading an article in the Scholastic Storyworks magazine written by Tommy Greenwald, author of a “Battle of the Books” title. Prior to reading the article, Grant showed the book to the class and read an excerpt. Following that, three students asked Grant if she could purchase and download the title onto their Kindles. Within minutes they all had the book on their Kindles and were reading it. “In the past, if I did that same demonstration with a paper book, chances would have been slim that students would have taken it upon themselves to locate and purchase and/or check out the book,” Grant says. “The immediate availability of e-books is key to the success of the Kindles and thus to promoting reading.”
Costs are also much lower. While an e-book costs about the same as a paper book—$6 to $7—it can be downloaded on up to six devices, reducing the per-book/per-student cost to about $1. Also, once the book is read it can be removed from the device for another student to enjoy.
Grant feels that while reading literature on a digital device does not in and of itself improve reading, it does pique student interest more and provide a convenience that students are drawn to. “Despite the allegiance that many adults today have to paper books, kids today are accustomed to digital media and prefer it,” she says.
Grant primarily uses the Kindles for novel studies and independent reading, but she also uses them during writing, to take advantage of the built-in dictionary. She has also downloaded logic games and puzzles that her students enjoy. Grant is investigating the ability to download Adobe PDF files, which she can use to share educational articles with her students.
“With school budgets getting pinched, SEF continues to play a key role in our schools,” Grant says. “The materials and programs that SEF funds are relevant, diverse, and key to student success. It is wonderful to see how the community supports education through donations to SEF. I know of a particular fourth grade class that is very thankful!”