It has been a fascinating process to begin a Research Action project for my masters program. The first thing we were asked to do was a Literature Review, to find other researchers scholarly papers and see what others have done so far to answer similar questions to mine. After spending quite a bit of time researching and reading what seems like a TON of scholarly papers, I've decided to change my original question from "How can I foster reading stamina in my classroom?" to "What affect does the use of digital tools in the classroom have on reading comprehension, engagement and stamina?"
My Game Design class is about to embark on the reading of a book by Ernest Cline called "Ready, Player One!" Interestingly enough, it is the class themselves who requested that we read this book, so I believe that there is already a bias toward engagement by using this book. However, isn't that what we want in a classroom? I'll go with that bias any day of the week!
Interestingly, when I put together the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) scores for each of my students in that class, totalling 38 students, I found that most of my students in this class are reading at proficient or advanced levels already. I wonder if the content of the class "Game Design and Visual Effects" has anything to do with this class self-selecting and attracting those students who already have a love of reading. I also wonder if students with lower SRI scores can not gain access to my upper level Digital Media classes because they are busy in support classes or credit recovery for other classes in order to graduate. I also wonder if there is a common theme here. Are gamers also readers? That's a great question for another Action Research project!
In my study, I am going to use the book we have chosen as a means for trying different digital tools to help the students further engage with the text, either before we read, or after we read a chapter. I will use video, online chatting and podcasts to extend the reading and then test the students on comprehension and reading speed. I will have to figure out a separate way to test stamina. A baseline survey will be done about reading aptitude and attitudes as well as how often and for how long students access reading texts through social media, online articles, texting, online and printed books, magazines, and newspapers. I will ask students to self-asses with regards to reading and compare that to existing SRI data about each student.
I'm really excited to implement this action research and have the box of books ready and waiting for an unveiling tomorrow! We will be begin reading silently this week, with no data collected as I collect parent permission slips and put together the tests for comprehension. The amazing thing is that there are quite a few resources online for the book, including pre-done comprehension and discussion questions. And the great thing about this book is that there is NO MOVIE yet, which allows us to really explore this novel, without the influence of other media!
Lisa Gottfried is a CTE teacher with 20 years experience as CEO of her own Video and Motion Graphics Production house. She currently teaches Intro to Digital Media, Video Production and Game/3D Design. She loves her job and her students!