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Jan 11, 2016

How to Improve Reading Comprehension with "Whooo's Reading"

How "Whooo’s Reading" Improves Reading Comprehension

There are many factors that influence a student’s reading comprehension, including:

·       Vocabulary skills
·       Being able to connect the text to the reader’s own experiences
·       Being able to draw inferences
·       Fluency; retaining the information
·       Being able to use critical thinking to understand plot, supporting details, etc.

While all of these skills can be improved with guidance from you, the teacher, there are a variety of other things you can do to help students improve reading comprehension, such as:

·       Suggesting the right books, books that they’re interested in and that are within their reading level. 
·       Talking about books, giving students a chance to talk about what they’re reading, what they like and what they understand.

Whooo’s Reading, an online reading log that motivates students to read more every day, helps you accomplish all these things, and in turn, improves your students’ reading comprehension skills. Learn more about this new reading tool to decide if it’s the right fit for your classroom.

Social Environment

Another important factor in reading comprehension is giving students a chance to talk about the books they’re reading; what they like, what they don’t like, what they think will happen next.

Whooo’s Reading creates the most nurturing environment for this, with social features that allow students to “like” and comment on the answers their peers’ write to the comprehension questions and blog posts. Teachers find that their students are having extended conversations about books within the platform.

It was the first time that I actually saw my students having meaningful conversations about reading, on your site AND in school—every teacher's dream,” said Chelsea W., teacher.




A Desire to Read More

Whooo’s Reading is a gamified platform, which motivates students to read more. When students log reading, they earn “Wisdom Coins.” They also earn Coins for “liking” their peers’ posts and answering comprehension questions. These Coins are then spent in the “Owl Shop,” within the platform. Here they can purchase virtual accessories for their Owlvatar.

While the incentives are simple, and not even physical, many teachers have seen this motivation turn struggling readers into bookworms. In fact, a survey of more than 2,700 students in grades one through five, found that within just six months of consistently using the platform, students were choosing books with significantly increased text complexity, as determined by Lexile measures.

What’s more, the books read by struggling third-grade readers increased in text complexity by more than 300L on average, while books chosen by normal to strong readers in that grade level increased by an average of 120L.

As of October 27, 2015, students using this platform logged more than one million books, a feat the company was thrilled to announce.





Comprehension Questions

Whooo’s Reading comes with 76 pre-loaded comprehension questions. All of these are grade-specific, aligned with Common Core and open-ended. Rather than students answering multiple-choice questions, students are encouraged to think deeper and connect with the text.

“We can write about our books throughout the reading process. We can work on critical thinking, expression and writing techniques through authentic questions,” said Traci Becker, teacher. A few of the most popular comprehension questions include:

·       Based only on how the book's characters communicate with each other, which character would you turn to for help if you were in trouble? Why do you trust this character?

·       Tell us about a point in this text that you think might be an exaggeration. Why do you think the author chose to exaggerate this point?

·       Look at one of the conversations in this book. Based on the words the two characters are saying, what are they feeling?

As of Fall 2015, students can now write “blog posts” as well, which promote long-form writing and are also CCSS-aligned.

Data

The data section within Whooo’s Reading not only gives you insight into what your students are reading, who’s excelling and who’s falling behind, but it allows you to personalize your book recommendations.

All books logged are assigned a Lexile Level, so you can see what level each student is reading at and suggest books within that range. You’ll also start to understand the type of books each student likes as you see what reading they’ve logged.

Note that the platform is compatible with a number of reading level types, including Reading Recovery, DRA, and Fountas and Pinnell.




Is It Right For Your Class?

Whooo’s Reading was built to motivate every student to read more, and has grown into a platform that teachers can use to get kids excited about reading while improving their reading comprehension.

The basic version is free, while the Premium version, which hosts a variety of other features, is just $5/month. Many schools have implemented the tool school-wide to replace Accelerated Reader, and other expensive reading tools that are not as effective. You can find information about the school-wide subscription here.


Bio: Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Whooo’s Reading, a San Diego-based education organization that offers Read-A-Thon fundraisers and reading motivation tools for teachers and schools. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and check out their new ebook, How to Bring Technology Into the Classroom, just $2.99 on Amazon.com.

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