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Helping Kids with Challenging Reading

Shakespeare iPad appOur daughter’s fourth grade class is reading “The Hobbit”.  Deemed a grade 6-level book, it quickly dawned on her teacher that only a handful of kids enjoyed reading it, and he has put in place new tactics to ensure all the kids learn the book: such as creating a play and letting them watch an animated movie, alongside reading the book.

In a similar vein, a professor from Notre Dame has co-created a new app for the iPad to help students be more engaged with Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”.  According to professor, Elliott Visconsi, the app helps accelerate student learning by allowing them to interact with each other through a social network, deepening their understanding of the play, more so than reading it on their own.  To paraphrase Visconsi, he said they found that most people learn best when they are in the role of “author, creator and collaborator”.

What other methodologies and technologies do you know of to help kids engage with challenging reading and get motivated to pick up the book?  Please share!