This academic year, 3 primary schools were chosen to participate in a program to support the development of reading. The pupils involved were from Year 2, Year 1 and Reception.
After initial training with Innovation Centre staff on how to use the iPads, purchase apps and share content, the staff allowed the iPads to be readily available for a group of targeted children to use in the classroom.
The project ran for a term and the staff allowed the children to use various apps and interactive reading books available on the device to help engage and motivate pupils who often found reading challenging. Key to developing the fundamentals, phonics apps in particular were used to support the children.
There was a wide range of pupils selected by the schools to participate in the targeted group, including pupils who were new to English and disengaged by reading.
Below are 3 case studies relating to the project written by the teaching staff. It is clear that one of the main positives from the project shows the independent learning the pupils have whilst using the devices. Accelerated learning for some children also is apparent.
Using iPads to promote reading and phonics in Reception Spring Term 2012
Target group of 6 Reception boys
42 Reception children in the class
The iPads were used to try to engage 6 selected boys who were disengaged with reading. The aim was to use iPad applications to try to improve their phoneme recognition as well as their blending and segmenting skills to help them improve their independent reading skills. The iPads also enabled children to work independently on targeted phonic sounds that they were struggling with.
What we did
Children were given a reading questionnaire at the start of the project and the responses to these enabled us to select a group of boys who were not enjoying participating in reading as much as the other children. These children were then given priority on to the iPads at the start of each literacy session and a second time given to them in the afternoon. We selected iPad applications that covered phoneme – grapheme correspondence, letter formations and blending and segmenting. We also used interactive books on the iPads to engage the children in guided reading sessions.
The pocket phonics application had the most impact with the boys disengaged with reading, the app ensured the children formed letters correctly, selected the correct phoneme through recognition from sound and then got them to blend and segment words related to the phonemes being specifically targeted The most success we have experienced is with the lower ability children increasing their phoneme correspondence from single to double figures.
Another huge impact has been with a boy who is new to English, he joined the school the week before we got the iPads on loan and was immediately able to access the phonics app. Within less than a term he can now segment and blend, form letters correctly and write his name. He has gained confidence and will now attempt to answer questions and join in with phonics sessions without hesitation.
We also downloaded an addition and subtraction application that was at the correct level for EYFS2 children and this app enabled the children to practice addition and subtraction independently and provided visual clues for the less able e.g. crossing out items for subtraction sums.
The applications we used were all fast paced, colourful and engaging and the children were always keen to use them.
The levels for the 6 children in Linking Sounds and Letters and Reading were:
Child 1 – LSL remained the same, Reading point 4 to 6
Child 2 – LSL point 4 to 7, Reading 4 to 7
Child 3 – LSL point 3 to 6, Reading 3 to 7
Child 4 – LSL point 1 to 3, Reading 1 to 4 (NTE child)
Child 5 – LSL point 3 to 5, Reading 3 to 5
Child 6 – LSL point 5 to 7, Reading 4 to 7
(At this time of year, 3 would be representative of Below Age Related Expectations, 5 would be inline and around 6 would be above)
The original 6 targeted boys are now showing a lot more interest in both reading and phonics. They access stories from the iPads independently, and their interest has progressed through to the reading area.
The pocket phonics application was successful because it allowed children to log on as themselves so they were having personalised phonics sessions that covered the phonemes in repetition until children were confident with them before moving on to the next set following the letters and sounds program.
Using iPads to support reading in Year 1 including N2E and SEND children
Year 1 class of 30 children
In this school all learners are EAL learners. A number of children in the classroom were not independent learners and had low confidence levels. These were chosen as a target group throughout the project. Reading and writing are key priorities in the school.
One of the girls chosen was NTE and joined the class in January.
One boy was SEND
One of the girls in particular had real struggles with reading and writing and would cry when she was asked to do any pieces of work.
The iPads were introduced in guided reading sessions. Generally Phonics and reading activites were used.
What we did
Initial reading questionnaires were given to the children to ask their opinions and attitudes to reading. After selecting the 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls were targeted throughout a term.
Apps were used to support the delivery in various ways. Doodle Cast was in guided reading especially for the NTE as this allowed story making, speaking and listening activities and drawing. ABC tracer app was used to allow children to practice formations and numbers. Montessori words was another key app used to promote phonics.
In order to try and promote reading and engagement on the devices, Writers Hat and Puppet Pals were other apps that were used by the children. A variety of Disney books were used with the children. These were useful as they allowed the text to be read to the children if they initially needed it. After that, the children could then read the story themselves or record their own voices reading the story as narrators.
From the 6 children chosen as a target group:
5 children made 1 APS progress in 1 term
1 child made 3 APS points in 1 term
The iPads allowed all the children to become fully engaged in the learning they were doing. Tasks were completed independently without adult support. The child who had difficulties with writing became more confident and applies her knowledge eg phonics. The children were confident in selecting the apps that they enjoyed after initially working on the focus app.
The children also were very respectful when using the equipment and made sure that they were held correctly.
Finding the apps is often something that can take time to find. We initially had a selection of apps suggested by the Innovation Centre team, but we wanted to purchase other appropriate apps.
Overall ,if the choice is having iPads or not in the classroom, there is an overwhelming yes. The school already has some of it’s own iPads, but we would like to get more.
Using iPads to promote reading and phonics in Year 2.
Our school worked with the ICT Consultant using iPads on loan from the Innovation Centre. The iPads were to be used for independent activities as part of our guided reading sessions.
We downloaded Disney books and Traditional Tales as well How to make lemonade to use in guided reading sessions supported by the Teacher or TA. We also downloaded Mr Thorne does Phonics, ABC Phonics and Puppet pals.
What we did
The interactive books we used were great as part of a guided or independent reading session. The children were involved in the story and were engaged with the text regardless of their ability. This improved their ability to answer both AF2 and AF3 questions.
During independent activities all children were making progress across many areas of Literacy depending on their individual targets. Some children practiced their letter formation and letter recognition using ABC phonics which as well as showing the letter and giving children the opportunity to practice formation and fine motor skills it repeats the letter sound for the child to hear.
Mr Thorne does Phonics was used for developing reading and learning new sounds as well as reinforcing sounds already learnt.
During our superhero topic we downloaded comics that the children, especially the boys, loved reading.
Word searches were great for all levels as you can choose the level of the words and the amount of letters displayed. The children were able to complete these independently and even though they were just simple word searches the children were still engaged for the whole session.
Puppet Pals is one of the children’s favourite apps. They have loved creating stories with pictures of characters and settings of stories they are familiar with, taken using the iPad cameras. They improved the children’s creativity which was evident in their writing of these stories. We also used this app in Guided Reading to retell stories they have read by taking pictures of characters from the books and retelling the story in their own words as well as changing parts of the story by changing characters or settings.
Child 1 = 2 points progress
Child 2 = 4 points progress
Child 3 = 2 points progress
Child 4 = 5 points progress
Child 5 = 1 point progress
Child 6 = 4 points progress
Child 7 = 2 points progress
Child 8 = 2 points progress
All children were motivated no matter what the activity was on the iPads. They were constantly engaged and children found them easy to use so were able to work independently and unaided by an adult.
The children also were responsible for the iPads and were always willing to help each other with any problems they were having. Every child wanted to be the expert!
We invited our headteacher to attend a session to see the children using the iPads. We are now looking at purchasing these devices as permanent pieces of New Technology to support learning in the classroom.