Tag Archives: narrative text

Effectiveness: Memory processes, multiple sensory channels

Title  Effectiveness: memory processes, multiple sensory channels
App Name Grimm’s Rapunzel
App Maker Story Toys Inc.
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General Description Grimm’s Rapunzel is an interactive pop-up story book. It is designed for children of all ages and is meant to entertain and engage readers. The interactive pop-up features, which appear at regular intervals through the e-book, may reinforce children’s understanding of the story because they permit readers to act out selected events.
Screenshot context This particular pop up feature appears after children have read this text: “The man’s wife was taken with the beautiful flowers growing in the garden. She wished for them so much that one day, her husband ventured into the garden to fetch some for her. He would have to be careful though, because the garden belonged to an evil witch. Who knows what might happen if the witch discovered him there!” In this pop-up feature, the reader assumes the role of the husband. Readers pick flowers and apples for the wife by touching and then dragging them into the basket.
Explanation and/or commentary For young readers, the multi-modal and kinesthetic interactivity that these pop-up features afford may allow them to develop an embodied (Glenberg, 1997; Glenberg, Brown & Levin, 2007) understanding of the narrative. By touching the flowers and dragging them to the basket, children engage their bodies in the act of picking which may activate and expand their schemas of understanding for “picking flowers” or “gardens”. Conversely, pop-up features may divert students’ attention from other key ideas in the narrative. With a focus on the act of picking flowers, students might forget that the garden is owned by a witch or that something bad could happen to the husband for having stolen the flowers (both rather important ideas in this story). Teachers who choose this app, should therefore know that pop-up activities could undermine students’ overall understanding of the Rapunzel story because they draw attention to some elements of the story over others.

Curricular considerations: Limited type/aspect of comprehension

Title Curricular considerations: Limited type/aspect of comprehension
App Name Reading Comprehension Level 1 Passages
App Maker Angela Reed
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General Description Readers choose from a “bookshelf” of short narrative and informational texts. They click to open the book and must read the text independently. There is no text-to-speech feature in this app. After reading the text, students answer 4 multiple choice questions about the text. The app is designed for early reader in Kindergarten or Grade 1.
Screenshot context This screenshot shows a MC question that requires students to identify a main idea in the text. When readers tap an option, a red circle or a green circle appears, depending on whether the choice is correct. Though it’s not shown in this image, an encouraging phrase such as “Good Job!” or “Well Done!” also appears when the answer is correct. If the answer is incorrect, “Sorry!” appears to prompt the reader to try again.
Explanation and/or commentary The name of this app suggests a specific focus on reading comprehension. However, the app includes very few features that would teach comprehension strategies or skills (Pressley & Afflerbach, 1995; Afflerbach, Pearson & Paris, 2008). Vocabulary words are not hyperlinked to a dictionary; students cannot hear difficult words read aloud. Texts are static. Questions are usually very literal and worded closely to the initial text. Students learn to identify and match key words in the story and in the questions but they are not required to make inferences about story meaning, or word meaning based on context. There is an image to support comprehension with each text, but there are no MC questions related to the images or how they connect to the story. This app does measure students’ ability to answer MC questions. Questions do focus on the main ideas in the text. Teachers can check students’ scores for each text but scores should be interpreted as a very limited measure of students’ emergent comprehension skills and strategies.