Tag Archives: Literacy

Alternatives to Round Robin & Popcorn Reading


Help students become better readers


Wondering if Round Robin and Popcorn styles are really the best practice when it comes to working on reading in the classroom? This article from Edutopia takes a look at the traditional Round Robin style of reading out loud and offers some alternative practices.

Round Robin reading is defined in the same article as students reading “orally from a common text, one child after another, while the rest of the class follows along in their copies of the text.” Popcorn style is a type of Round Robin reading, where one student is reading aloud, then says “Popcorn” before choosing another student to continue reading.

Author Todd Finley makes the argument that when it comes to improving literacy and encouraging kids to read, the Round Robin style may not be the best approach. He shares several studies and their findings that Round Robin may have a negative effect on students and their reading progress.

Happily, the article includes 11 better approaches for you to try instead! A few of them include:

  • Choral reading: The teacher and class read passages or paragraphs out loud together, which reduces potential embarassment for struggling readers
  • Teacher read-aloud: The teacher shows how proper pronunciation and inflection are used while reading
  • Buddy reading: Students read out loud to prepare for reading to children in a younger grade

Do you use Round Robin or Popcorn style reading? How about any of the 11 alternatives? What have you found works the best in your library or classroom?


New Monthly Research Center Workshops: Stearns History Museum

Information provided by the Stearns History Museum

Research Center Workshops

Have you ever wondered what resources are available in the Research Center and Archives of the Stearns History Museum? Come and find out! The Stearns History Museum is offering workshops, on the third Wednesday of every month, to highlight the many resources available and show you how easy they are to access.

This month, on December 18th, at 9:30 a.m., our archivists will teach an Introduction to the Research Center and Archives.  Whether you are a seasoned research veteran interested in genealogy, or you are researching town histories or the history of a local business, or just a beginner, this class is for you!

Please RSVP to (320) 253-8424 or email swarmka@stearns-museum.org.

Image retrieved online from the Stearns History Museum 12/10/13.
Image retrieved online from the Stearns History Museum 12/10/13.

Founded in 1936, the Stearns History Museum has focused on preserving and interpreting the history of the region for 77 years. The mission of the museum is to engage people in the exploration of the County’s diverse heritage by providing connections to the past, perspectives on the present, and inspiration for the future. The Stearns History Museum is nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Blogging Helps Reluctant Writers

Image by Maria Reyes-McDavis. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons' licensing.
Image by Maria Reyes-McDavis. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons’ licensing.

The best writers are able to adjust the style of writing to fit the intended audience. Blogging is a web-based, log of information generated by a user(s.) It is often reflective and a less formal medium for writers to share content and deliberate.

In an article by Edudemic,  talks about how blogging helps improve general writing and critical thinking skills at any age. Fioriello encourages this medium to engage reluctant writers stating, “Blogging helps students find their voice.” She further discusses the positive influences it has on writing in the article, How Blogging Can Help Reluctant Writers (August, 2013.)

Blogging facts according to Social Media Today;

  • John Barger coined the term “blog” in 1997
  • 12 million people blog via social media networks
  • 77% of internet users read blogs
  • The Blogger has over 46 million unique visitors each month

Tip: Check out this year’s top ranked blog for school libraries, Blue Skunk.

Don’t forget, about the 23 Mobile Things Program starting soon. Participants from the library profession will be asked to blog about their experiences testing new apps. Click here to learn more about this program.

I-Pad Apps Used to Create Books

Image retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons' licensing.
Image retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons’ licensing.

This week, CMLE links members to an online resource that combines technology, literacy and learning by capturing simple stories. TeachThought developed a list you can use to create books with apps including; Story Buddy 2, Book Creator and Scribble Press. Follow the link to review the complete list of 15 Literacy Apps to Create Books on the iPad (July 2013.)

Tips: Incorporate one of these apps with a community activity in the public library. Collect stories from a classroom instruction to share with parents as they stop by during conferences. Capture success stories to help demonstrate value added programming.

Teaching Competencies

Image by Tatadbb. Retrieved from Flickr.  Used under Creative Commons' licensing.
Image by Tatadbb. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons’ licensing.

Minnesota Educational and Media Organization (MEMO) has developed a list of Information and Technology Literacy Standards highlighting 21st century skills necessary to bridge K-12 and higher education expectations for students.  The standards for grades 9-12 include;

  • Inquiry, Research, and Problem Solving:  The student will learn a continuous cycle of questioning, gathering, synthesizing, evaluating, and using information individually and collaboratively to create new knowledge and apply it to real world situations.
  • Expanding Literacies: Read, view, listen and communicate in any format for a variety of purposes.
  • Technology Use and Concepts: Students will explore multiple technologies, evaluate their suitability for the desired educational or personal task, and apply the tools needed.
  • Ethical Participation in a Global Society:  The student will participate productively in the global learning community and demonstrate safe, ethical, legal and responsible behavior in the use of information and technology.

As a library media specialist, how do you effectively teach these skills? This November, author Terry Heick shares several approaches to frame and effectively delivery content.  The article, 11 Brilliant Ways To Frame Critical Content: A Complexities Chart discusses patterns, cultural trends, themes and more.  At the bottom of the post Heick notes, “This isn’t an either/or proposition…take a standard–or concept behind a standard–and “refract” it through whichever of the following Depth or Complexity made the most sense according to that student’s knowledge-level.”

As an additional resource, TeachThought also published a visual information graphic on how to gauge understanding between a teacher and the learner(s.) Click here to view 27 Simple Ways To Check For Understanding, November 2013.