Post-pandemic testing results in English reflected a significant drop in scores across the nation. It has been the source of alarm for some districts, with reading engagement seeming to be at an all-time low. Districts rely on testing scores in part for some of their funding; the scores are used as a benchmark for measuring the success of literacy and ESL programs. However, as districts take action on low reading engagement in their schools, there is a great opportunity to implement tools that improve literacy, promote reading engagement, and give teachers and administrators more insight about what students are reading.
Why Is Reading Engagement Low?
The pandemic certainly had an impact on student reading engagement. Not only did they have access to fewer materials when they were learning from home, but for some students, it was difficult to stay engaged in learning in any manner. But it is also possible that reading engagement is lower because of the materials available, as well as the platform. And it’s also possible we’re not capturing all of the reading these students are doing.
Technology Improves Literacy
Today’s students are digital natives. They’ve been using digital devices or exposed to adults in their lives using digital devices since they were born. Using technology to improve reading literacy is not a huge stretch. From audiobooks and augmented reality to immersive reading, technology offers students new ways to engage with materials that not only improve literacy rates but keep them more engaged in the material.
In an article for EdTech K-12, Karina Quilantán Library Media Specialist, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, expressed how important audiobooks have been: “I have witnessed firsthand how audiobooks or read-to-me books paired with print material can increase a student’s understanding of the text they are reading.”
How to Promote Reading Engagement
There are a number of edtech solutions available that help students engage more readily with reading. As schools return to science-based reading, including a focus on phonics, keeping students engaged can be a challenge. Immersive reading, providing access to more engaging content, and gamification of literacy can all engage students more effectively.
Using Data to Understand and Improve Reading Engagement
You can’t measure what you can’t see, and these digitally native students are doing more reading online – websites for research, ebooks, even online comic books – that may not be being captured in their overall reading but may contribute to the level of reading engagement they exhibit. Having the ability to measure online reading, including the reading level and topic area the students are accomplishing, is an essential way to understand what students are actually accomplishing – and customize their educational experience to accommodate their interests and further improve engagement.
School Passport Engagement Opens a Window into Student Reading Engagement
School Passport Engagement‘s patented technology measures when students are actually reading and engaged with high accuracy, and calculates the reading level and subject area of every webpage. Educators can assign and monitor learning across the web by reading level, subject area, or website. Students get rewarded for learning and engaging in content that interests them.
To learn more about how School Passport Engagement can benefit your school, request more information.