Read, Discuss, Interact – playful reading through SMART Board technology
SMART Board technology is widely used in the classroom for student instruction, but it also represents a dynamic tool in library settings for promoting reading in Kindergarten-5th grade level. Story Extension Activities are short activities that fit well with SMART Board. National Romanian Program – ”Scoala Altfel. Să ştii mai multe, să fii mai bun!” is a great opportunity for librarians and teachers to promote literacy learning and to develop short time reading programs for elementary students. At Central University Library in Cluj a “Story Extension Activities” instructional model was applied and we designed a program that promotes Romanian traditional stories in an interactive way using SMART Board technology for Kindergarten-5th grade elementary students.
Reading is fun and reading programs aims are to emphases love for literacy and to increase knowledge. It is well known that developing reading skills is a time process and should be address within early ages. Romanian school system offers different reading programs and reading instruction, with different curricula based on reading level, but libraries should extend them and connect children with literature in a new frame, with a different approach.
Typical children libraries from public libraries and schools libraries approach reading programs, based on theirs aim, expertise and collection, but reading for children and with children should not be limited to them. Academics libraries could also use their collection and expertise in specific reading programs to get in touch with elementary students. The Lucian Blaga Central University Library from Cluj – Napoca, Romania, is an academic library, with encyclopedic profile and an important component of the national education system. It supports the entire academic education system from Cluj Napoca’s university center and represents an important pillar in the formation and education process.
As a mission, library tours and collection presentation are promoted and supported. In this frame the National Romanian Program – ”Scoala Altfel. Să ştii mai multe, să fii mai bun!” is a good opportunity to bring in front of the school community the importance of the books as reading objects and knowledge source and the collections diversity of the library. Historical constitutes, the library own a wide variety of materials with patrimonial value. From special collection miniature books to newly children books and instructional supports organized in legal rights collection, school students and teachers discover the wealthiness of library collections.
In the absence of a reading room specially design for children, starting with 2015 Lucian Blaga Central University Library in partnership with Elementary and Secondary School ”Ioan Bob” developed a reading program for activities conducted during the school week entitled ”Școala Altfel. Să ştii mai multe, să fii mai bun!” Libraries tours followed by reading activities and Smart Board interactive playing based on story reading were used.
Reading program begins
We have started in 2015 with a pilot reading program that promotes reading of Romanian stories and fairy tales for children Kindergarten to 5th grade level, and continues for the school year 2015-2016 with more stories and more classes. Materials selection included Romanian children stories and comic books.
We followed a normal procedure to make the transfer from books to support materials for Smart Board. The stories were scanned in .tiff format at 300 DPI and converted in text using an OCR for Romanian language diacritics. We focused on Romanian traditional stories and fairy tales in order to be able in time to share the Smart Board notebook files to public domain platforms, for example this.
The electronic text of the story merges with graphic images that reflect short moments or sequences from the story. We used electronic images from public domain or scans from print images. A notebook file for Smart Board was created for every story. For instance for the writer Vladimir Colin we chose several short stories from the book Zece poveşti pitice ("Ten Dwarfish Stories", 1957). We also make a mirror story presentation Capra cu trei iezi (The Goat with Three Baby Goats) by Ion Creangă and Iedul cu trei capre (The Baby Goats with Three Goats) by Octav Pancu-Iași in order to increase vocabulary, attention and reading comprehension.
Every story notebook file includes the text of the story with images background followed by different activities created for Smart Board, but in close relation with it, as story extension activities, specially designed for children to participate in. Reading comprehension, rephrase, letter games, rime words, expression, vocabulary, story games are few of them.
Example of Smart Board activities
Diversity and variety of the activities is a key to success in working with elementary students.
How do we work with students?
The reading activity was adapted to the level of the students. Every story reading and expending activity was set for 50 minute period to ensure students attention and excitement. The story and the activity instruction were read by the teacher or by the librarian only for the first grade students or younger. For the others grade levels, students were asked to read a passage of the story. Every student took his turn and read at least one sentence. When appropriate the librarian or the teacher reinforces the text with corresponding background images for visual clues. Based on the story which has just been read, students continue to explore ideas and deepen knowledge through Smart Board activities. Print support was also provided for student in classes by the teacher following the Smart Board activities.
All the students enjoyed the activities and were actively involved in reading and following activities. The feedback was positive and they were asking teacher to reapply the literature setting.
What we recommend:
Choose short but interesting stories.
Choose folktales or fairy tales.
Ensure that every student from the group takes his turn to read and play with vocabulary and interact with Smart Board.
Recap every important sequence from the activity and emphasize the best, pleasure, funny moments and how reading supplies the basis for interaction.
Let students learn literacy when they’re enjoying themselves! Keep student reading interest and arousal!
We considered Smart Board technology as a useful tool for promoting reading in times when digital natives needs adopted materials to work with. The mix of old Romanian stories and fairy tails with new reading approach through Smart Board was a successful solution and a good opportunity for students, librarians and teachers to spend quality time with reading and increase love for literature.
Raluca Nicoleta Trifu
Librarian, Marketing Department at Lucian Blaga Central University Library
Associate assistant, Special Education Department, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences at Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca
PhD.Dorina Anca Talas
Resource teacher and associate lecturer, Special Education Department, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences at Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca