Kids and Kindles Part 3: the No-Budget Kindle

Amazon’s e-reader, the Kindle, can be a wonderful classroom tool, and it’s something parents can easily make available for their students at home.  The Kindle is so wonderful, in fact, that I can’t do it justice in just one blog post. Hence the Kids and Kindles series.

Part three: the no-budget Kindle

The Kindle is great for teaching reading, but it’s not cheap.  However, you can download a free Kindle reader to your classroom computer or computer lab workstations.  Then you can let your students use a no-budget Kindle.

Your no-budget Kindle doesn’t have bells and whistles, but it’s enough to get your class started.  You can teach speed reading.  You can motivate reluctant readers to read.  You can get some results and build a case for buying actual Kindles in the classroom.  (Document results, get some students to write testimonials, and submit to administration or charitable organizations that might give you a grant.)

For your no-budget Kindle startup, you’ll mostly stick to free classic books available through Amazon, Internet Archive, Open Library, Project Gutenberg, and other free e-book sites.  (They all have directions on how to download).  If you teach older students, many will be able to read classic stories like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  For younger students, there are still options, like classic Beatrix Potter stories.

If you are lucky enough to have a projector in the classroom, you can teach students about the Kindle app before you turn them loose in the computer lab.  Load a free e-book, then project your screen as you show students how to play with features that enhance readability.

Click on the Aa at the top of your screen to adjust the text display.  You can increase the font size, making any book seem easier.  Adjust the brightness so the background is gray rather than white.

What really helps speed-reading is to decrease the words per line (an option found by clicking the Aa).  This helps because students’ eyes don’t have to travel so far across the screen, so there is less opportunity for the eyes to lose their way, so to speak.  Check out my blog posts on Speed Reading and Kindle Speed Reading for more information.

Click on the blocks to format your Kindle text in columns.  Students will see how the narrow band of text enhances their ability to read quickly—just like in a newspaper.

Click here for Amazon’s free Kindle apps for a multitude of platforms: PC, Mac, iPod, and various smart phones.

Don’t miss Part 1 about how the Kindle will read any book out loud to you, or Part 2 about how to use the Kindle to teach speed reading.

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Posted in Academics,Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Jan 3, 2012


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