How often in your daily life do you read aloud? Unless you have small children, the answer is probably “not often”. For most of us, the vast majority of the oral reading we did was back in the early years of elementary school, when we were still learning to read. At that stage, it was important to read aloud in order for teachers to grasp our strengths and deficits as developing readers. With this information, they could provide the assistance needed to address the issues preventing fluent reading.
As we grow older, and the mechanics of reading are presumed to have been mastered, reading is assessed through comprehension. We read a passage, and then answer questions to demonstrate that we have read well. Assessing comprehension can alert teachers to reading problems, but it cannot shed much light on the nature of the problems. In other words, while teachers might know that their students are not reading well, with only comprehension scores to go on, they are none the wiser as to why. Read More »
My son was less than two years old when our family moved to Japan. Now, there are many things to be concerned about with a child that age, but we were particularly eager that he learn to speak Japanese. After all, this wasn’t an extended holiday. We intended to settle down.
Fast forward a year and we found ourselves worrying that our son might not be able to speak English, the language we’d assumed would be native to him. We did our best to talk and read to him in English, but we sometimes worried that we weren’t doing enough. We didn’t want to turn our home into a cram school, but thankfully we discovered an activity that could entertain us all and provide our son with some much needed English input, watching movies.
I like documentaries and my wife is partial to romantic comedies, but we were pretty sure that neither of these would go down well with a three-year-old. Thankfully, the school where I was working at the time had a great selection of English animation movies. We probably watched 50 or more of these over the next few years. Some had a greater effect on my son’s language development than others. Read More »
One of our most popular tools, ReadAloud, has received a set of new features, many of them requested by the community of Poodll Net users. Since it first appeared more than five years ago, this oral reading tool has steadily attracted a band of loyal followers. With these followers has come a steady stream of requests for added functionality that would take the plugin from “useful” to “indispensable”. Here’s a roundup of what’s included in the latest version (for video summary, click here).
Even from the earliest days of ReadAloud, users were searching for ways to add a model audio to the activity to help familiarize learners with the text they were about to read. Although the workarounds invented by teachers were often creative, we knew we had to find a way to make it easier to provide this kind of support to learners. Preview Reading enables teachers to provide learners with an audio recording of the text (self-recorded, uploaded, or auto-generated using text-to-speech). As the audio plays, portions of the text are highlighted to help the learners follow along. Read More »