Tech BFF: Addressing Reading Challenges With Qwiki

BFF is an acronym for “Best Friend Forever.” These websites and tips are so good that they will become your technology BFFs!

In the rush and crush of the daily classroom schedule, it helps to have customizable strategies for the myriad of reading challenges that may arise in the classroom.

Do you think reading difficulty is confined just to certain students or, should we be ready for it to emerge, at least periodically in every student on our class list? Can it be triggered, say, by sudden trauma at home? Could it be triggered by something new and unfamiliar?

I remember one student who moved to our San Diego school. She had strong reading scores in her home state school in Kansas, but after a few weeks, her teacher noticed a sudden change. After exhausting many diagnostic avenues, we looked more closely at the curriculum. The class was studying “boats” which are very common in San Diego, California, but not so much in Kansas! A hugely unfamiliar unit with odd new words (yacht, skiff, rudder, hull) that everyone seemed extremely familiar with, left her, well, “adrift”. When we realized this disconnect, we were able to scaffold the appropriate supports very quickly.

I wonder…can observation play a key role in helping students who suddenly struggle with episodic reading difficulties such as the one mentioned above in the San Diego school?

One of my online course students named Mary agrees. “We see incidences of environment vs literature/standardized test questions disconnects ALL the time. {For example,} “People in south Louisiana don’t have a clue what a basement is! They don’t know that snow boots should be worn in the wintertime. Boots to them are something the women wear with their skinny jeans when they dress up. The swamps are only 50 miles away but many of the 2nd graders have never seen them.”

An interactive new website, now in alpha will address these dis-fluent disconnects. It is called Qwiki.

It passed our classroom tryout test – we asked students to put in unique search strings and Qwiki delivered on almost all of them. It also allows publicizing to social media sites and embedding code.

Check it out –