Three years ago, I got my smartboard and had no clue how to use it. I WANTED to use it, but didn't know where to start. One of the very first stories in my reading series is about ants. I have paired lots of fiction and non-fiction with each theme. There is this ant book that I just LOVE! For five years in a row, I read this story to my class during "ant week". They DON'T like it! They wiggle and disrupt. It does not keep their attention AT ALL. Why do I keep reading it? I like it! I want them to like it too. I read about half the book and got mad about all the disruptions. I asked them, "Why don't you guys like this book?" Somebody said "because we can't see it". I sent them to recess and scanned every page in that darn book and put it together as a PowerPoint. The next day I read it again and the results were AMAZING! They LOVED my ant book! They said "Oh gross! He is eating trash!" "Look you can see his head, thorax and abdomen!" I was SHOCKED by the difference this made. I have read that book to about 150 six year-olds and they DON'T like it! Now this group LOVED it! It is like the ultimate BIG BOOKS! I began scanning every book I read! I scanned before school, at recess, and after school. That first year, I scanned 500 books! I currently have about 800 scanned. After I scan a book, I put a paper clip on the front cover to mark it as done. I have not even scanned 10% of the books in my classroom. I am such a hoarder!
|See my paperclips? These are DONE!|
I felt really guilty about all this scanning - like I am totally breaking some major copyright laws! I spoke to three police officers and one lawyer . They all told me that as long as I am not selling or sharing these images, I am okay. They compared it to buying a CD and then burning it onto your computer. It is alright as long as it is for your own use only. I never scan books that I do not own.
There is such a difference in the reading experience. I am not reading TO my kids, I am reading WITH my kids. It is a much more intimate way of reading - like when you read to your own child sitting on your lap. We really SHARE the books. I was also amazed by how much their print awareness increased. I can't get through a page without somebody noticing that the author used italics or bold words. We stop to talk about SO many more things reading this way. Somebody will say "oh, the mouse even looks worried". That would never happen if I was holding a book and that mouse was the size of a nickel. When the book is scanned, and the mouse is the size of a football we can see his little worried expression. We can talk about why the illustrator might have chosen to make him so worried or when we have felt worried. Reading this way opens the doors to think alouds. My kids are SUPER at text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to real world connections.
One of my proudest teacher moments happened at the end of the year that first year of scanning. Our school had a book drive - bring a book, take a book. One of my little guys (who really struggled academically) brought me a book and said "Look, Mrs. Morrison! It is Tomie dePaola!" It was an old basil reader with a Tomie dePaola picture on the cover. It did not say "Tomie dePaola" anywhere. I said, "How did you know this was Tomie dePaola?" He said "I recognized the illustrations." I do an author study with Tomie dePaola in the beginning of October. This kid was still able to recognize his work in May. My teacher heart grew three sizes that day! I knew that all my scanning was worth it!
I do not sit in a chair and read to them, I often sit on the floor WITH them. Sometimes, we lay on the floor and read. I have a clicker (bought from Target about $30) that I use to turn the pages. This is also GREAT for audio books. I scan the book, burn the disc, and attach the audio file. Kids just click to turn the page. I have also recorded many people reading. I bought a digital recorder from Target (about $70). I recorded our kindergarten teacher reading "The Night Before First Grade". On the first day of school, they hear their old teacher read them a story! I have my principal, janitor, and school secretary. When I teach them about re-reading, I tell them I always loved it when my mom read "Miss Suzie" to me when I was a little girl. We read it over and over. Then I put on the book with the audio of MY MOM reading it! There is a story in my reading series about grandmas. My grandma reads "What Grandmas Can't Do". The kids LOVE to hear new people. They are so impressed that I have a mom and a grandma! I have a local pediatrician read "Germs Make Me Sick". They can't believe it when THEIR doctor is reading them a story! I also have kids recorded. It is a great way to work on fluency and they love to hear themselves and their friends reading.
Another super thing about scanning books is that they are always there when you need them. I NEVER go to shelf and look for books. I type in the title and it comes right up. You can search by subject. If I type "pumpkin" 15 books appear about pumpkins. I also have folders for different authors and teaching themes. It took me a LONG time to scan my books (and I still have MANY more that I need to scan), but it was SO worth it! If I read a book that is not scanned, my kids will ALWAYS ask me to scan it after school and read it again tomorrow. They want to SEE it! Scanning books is one of the best things I have done in my classroom. When you invest all this time, you need to make sure that you BACK IT UP! I have suffered some severe losses with viruses and broken jump drives. I have my files saved in multiple places both at school and at home. I also use Dropbox.
Please leave any thoughts, comments, or questions below! Thanks for reading and have a happy week!