This year, as schools are tasked with changing their modes of instruction delivery from face to face to a virtual or hybrid model, electronic books (“e-books”) can offer students unique experiences with texts. In some cases the e-book simply serves as a digital version of a curriculum text or trade book that students can access on a tablet at school or at home. In other situations, the e-books afford interactivity, such as links to vetted websites. Some e-books even have the ability to provide students with access to a text that otherwise would be beyond their grasp due to a language barrier or disability. The Core Knowledge Foundation accepted the challenge to create the option of an e-book format for our Core Knowledge History and Geography (CKHG) and Core Knowledge Science (CKSci) Student Readers, as well as Core Classics for our schools. When designing the Core Knowledge Library of Student Reader e-books in Partnership with Fathom Reads, we set out to offer students all of the options listed above and much more.
Access through Audio
For children who struggle with reading grade-level texts, or for those with visual impairments, e-books with audio supports can provide access to text content. The e-books in the Core Knowledge Library e-booknot only offer students the ability to listen to the pronunciation of select words, they also provide students the option of hearing the entire story read aloud. Students can also prompt the e-books to read aloud the vocabulary and questions in the callouts.
The Core Knowledge Library e-books provide students the option of reading (or listening) to the text in either English or Spanish. Offering Spanish-speaking students the opportunity to access the history and geography content through their native language serves as a crucial step in building their knowledge base around a topic.
Video and Interactive Experience
Adding interactivity to e-books transforms the experience with the text from passive to active. This can include embedded interactive content or links to outside sites that provide students with a closer look at a particular event or concept. The Core Knowledge Library of e-books are filled with interactive opportunities for the reader. Whether its third graders exploring a photo gallery of Native American pottery, fourth graders listening to the poem “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, or fifth graders “experiencing” the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter via video simulation, the supplemental activities made available through the e-books deepen students’ engagement with text content.
Flexibility in Use
While e-books can be used as part of the core instruction, if they incorporate a wide range of functionality they can serve as effective independent instructional tools. Since our initial release of ten CKHG American History titles in October of 2019, teachers and parents report that some of the ways they use the Core Knowledge interactive e-books include: as part of listening centers for students to review a previously taught chapter, for struggling readers as added support, as homework for additional exposures to the text and content, and even used in Zoom whole class discussions.
Through the flexibility and accessibility they afford, e-books deliver many benefits to teachers and students. Core Knowledge is very pleased to offer e-books that will not only enhance the students’ experience and engagement with content, but also build their knowledge base. If you are interested in learning more about our interactive e-books, please contact our partner, Fathom Reads.
Be sure you are signed up to receive future announcements by registering your email address at “Stay in the Know.”