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Yesterday, I gave my 7th graders a short, on-line reading assignment. To guide them in their reading, I also included 6 fairly uninspired comprehension questions. They are currently working in groups to learn about the evolution debate in schools and then create a credible media story about it.
Most of the students complained about the length of the article. Some asked if they could print it so that they could actively read – as they do in English class. One student, who has dyslexia, reached around to the back of the computer, picked up her headset, sat back, and let Fred (the Apple voice) read the article to her. As she listened, she started typing in her answers to the questions. Of the 17 students in the class, she was the only one to finish the assignment.
Maybe, in addition to reconsidering the act of reading in the digital environment, we also have to reconsider who we think of as readers….