Electronic books (“eBooks”), which have become more and more popular in classrooms with each passing year, offer students unique experiences with texts. In some cases the eBook simply serves as 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 eBooks afford interactivity, such as links to vetted websites. Some eBooks 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. When designing the Core Knowledge American History and Geography™ (CKHG) Student Reader eBooks, we set out to offer students all of these options and much more.
Access through Audio
For children who struggle with reading grade-level texts or those with visual impairments, eBooks with audio supports can provide access to text content. The CKHG eBooks not 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 CKHG eBook to read aloud the vocabulary and questions in the callouts.
Some eBooks offer a text in multiple languages. CKHG eBooks 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 eBooks 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 CKHG eBooks 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 eBooks deepen students’ engagement with text content.
eBooks that offer built-in assessments enable students to self-assess their learning and teachers to monitor their progress. At the end of each chapter, CKHG eBooks offer students the option of responding to “checks for understanding” writing prompts. Each CKHG eBook also includes a digital assessment. This assessment has both standard response questions, such as multiple choice, which are automatically graded by the eBook software, as well as free written response questions, which allow students to provide an open-ended response. A criteria for success is provided (on the backend) to the assist the teacher in the scoring of the written responses.
Flexibility in Use
While eBooks 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. In the short time since their release, CKHG eBooks have been reported to be used as a 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 a whole group setting via a projector.
Through the flexibility and accessibility they afford, eBooks deliver many benefits to teachers and students. Core Knowledge is very pleased to now offer eBooks 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 eBooks, contact us.
Both school and parent annual licenses are now available. Check out our bookstore for more details.
Current List of CKHG Student Reader eBooks in Grades 3–5:
• The Earliest Americans
• Exploration of North America
• The Thirteen Colonies
• The American Revolution
Click to explore the new Student eBook for The American Revolution for FREE,
and learn about the founding of our country.
• The United States Constitution
• Early Presidents and Social Reformers
• The Geography of the United States
• Westward Expansion Before the Civil War
• The Civil War
• Native Americans and Westward Expansion: Cultures and Conflicts