On a recent post I shared a few ideas on the use of e-readers in students’ cell phones. Steven Krashen has discussed the advantages of SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) in the improvement of students’ literacy. When students read whatever book they wish at their own pace, during a few minutes everyday over a period of several weeks or months, they seem to benefit more compared to students who read mandatory standarized texts provided by teachers. I do believe that choosing your own reading materials can at least be more pleasant than simply reading for the sake of a passing grade. It can encourage students to become readers for life, and it can be an unvaluable source of general knowledge and vocabulary. On the other hand, I think it is important to practice production skills through fun involving writing processes.

Epub Bud is a free website which allows users to create new e-books, upload any sort of document and convert it into an e-book, and even sell their own texts through Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.  It contains a beautiful section of free books for children (and some for adults as well), many of them created of course by the website users.

I think that conceiving and publishing a book provides students with a set of writing activities which are real and meaningful. There is an excellent example of collaborative writing and epublishing among middle school students who decided to make their book available through itunes. Over the huge number of writing activities at hand, this one stands out because of the feeling of belonging and peer support which it may enhance on students. It is purposeful and students may feel proud of being able to share their creations through the web. As mentioned by Kelly Tenkely, this tool can prove useful to have students share their books with other students, parents, and different schools thus it is highly motivating.

There is this nice idea of using Google Docs to have students collaborate on a story and then convert their work to an e-book using this tool. Personally, I would like to use this tool to have students work in teams in a communicative writing task such as “A Guide to Improve Speaking Skills in a Foreing Language”, publish it online, share it with their peers, and exchange ideas on the subject as a set of follow-up speaking class activities.

Advertisements