Have you ever had a student who was a very accurate reader but struggled to remember the key details in a story? I know we all have. We know that real reading is more than word solving. It is understanding, relating to, and responding to a story. It is reacting to what the author is saying, and as one of my first graders so aptly described this year, real reading is “when you melt into the book.” My hope is that all of my students experience what it feels like to melt into a book!

According to the Common Core standards for reading, first graders should “retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson (1.RL.2).” An engaging tool to facilitate this is the app “Puppet Pals HD Director’s Pass” for the iPad. I love the app because it allows students to create their own animated retellings of stories they are reading during independent reading time. Opting for director’s pass version gives my students access to a large variety of pre-designed characters and settings. It also allows you to crate your own characters and settings with your iPad’s camera. Students can even insert themselves into the story if they would like!

As a teacher, using this with my class enables me to differentiate my instruction and meet the diverse academic needs that students have. Students who have difficulty communicating their ideas effectively in writing benefit from the oral nature of the task. Retellings are also easily saved to be reviewed later and to document student growth. The whole process is engaging as well.

If you are interested in trying an exciting way to meet the Common Core Reading standards, give this a try! I think your students, and parents, will thank you!

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image credit: itunes.apple.com

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