Word Work and iPads

Teaching reading IS rocket science! -Louisa Moats

I’ve probably used this quote before…but it certainly bears repeating.  We are immersed in literacy activities all day long in our classroom and it is starting to bear some fruit.  Nearly all students are reading and we are 75 days into our school year.

Since we follow the Reading and Writing Workshop Models daily, we spend a lot of time doing word work activities.  We have been working diligently on word families and rhyming words.  We have used our iPads quite a bit to do this word work. The Magnetic ABC app has worked well in making words together in small groups.  We have also done a little app smashing with Drawing Pad and Pic Collage.  Here are a few samples from that:

photo 3photo 2-2


At the risk of being Captain Obvious, we were working on the -an word family.  They were able to choose 2 words in that family to illustrate in Drawing Pad.  They saved those drawings to the camera roll then uploaded them into Pic Collage where they typed a sentence with each word.  After saving the Pic Collage, they uploaded it to Showbie for their portfolio.

This relatively quick activity ( 30 minutes start to finish) will be a building block for when the children move into planning their own day and they have vocabulary words for their word work.  These 2 frames will eventually become 4 in Pic Collage.

What are the challenging parts right now?  We are still working on using the space bar between words when typing.  Back spacing and starting again provides an almost miraculous cure to that!  A few still need guidance in saving their Pic Collages to their camera roll.  Other than that, they are rock stars!

Word work is an important part of early skill building in literacy.  We play many quick games daily both on the iPad and in small skill groups.  Word Work helps them become better readers and writers.  If you are unfamiliar with the components of the workshop approach, I encourage you to read Lucy Calkins’ books.  These are easily found online and are great resources for the Reading and Writing Workshop models.

The difficulty of teaching reading has been greatly underestimated.  It is a complex process and requires a repertoire of strategies.  The iPads are providing me with another tool in my toolbox to reach all of my young readers!

Today we will do exciting new things.  Let’s get to it!

8 thoughts on “Word Work and iPads

  1. Hi Kristi- re: woodwork with iPads: when you mention the apps you use- such as magnetic ABC- there are several versions of this on the App Store. Do you generally use the free version or pay for the full version for class? And which developer do you prefer? Thank so much- I’m learning so much from your blog!! Cathy
    kinder in FREEZING Michigan cathy.edington@gmail.com

    • Cathy
      The version I have is Magnetic Alphabet by Dot Next which has a free and paid version. I got the paid version but free is fine also.
      Glad the blog is helpful and sorry you are freezing. My husband is from Michigan. He definitely prefers southern winters! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Hi Kristi.. I’m starting to use the iPad in my Grade 1 classroom and enjoy reading about your experience in using it with your class. I’m just curious, which Drawing Pad app are you using? There are several ones so I was just wondering which one you’ve been using.

    Thanks! And happy new year!

    • Eunice,
      How exciting that you are using iPads! The Drawing Pad app I use is $1.99 by Darren Murtha Design. I’ve tried several free apps, and loved Doodle Buddy but with the upgrade to iOS7, Doodle Buddy didn’t work right anymore. We love the Drawing Pad app and the versatility it gives. Good luck!

  3. Love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing! I am going to try it with my Kindergarteners in PA. Is there a place that gives simple instructions for my students to start using Drawing Pad?

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