I don’t know about you, but many of my older students have comprehension goals and it can be a challenge to find appropriate materials. Stories can be too short or too long. There are either not enough questions or the questions are not appropriate for my kids. I have made some of my own in the past and gotten some wonderful products from TpT, but few things can hold a fifth graders attention like and iPad. The creative minds at Smarty Ears have developed Reading Comprehension Camp to help students address their comprehension goals in a fun and engaging way.
I work with students in grades K-5 and just about all of my 2-5 kiddos have some type of comprehension goal. This app allows me to target those goals at an appropriate reading level. Reading Comprehension Camp uses Flesch-Kincaid levels ( click here for more Flesch-Kincaid info ) to create readability ranges for their stories. The levels range from early 2nd grade to 6th -7th grades, hear that Jr. High! There really isn’t much of a learning curve when it comes to this app which is really nice. There is information about the app and a video tutorial you can watch if you choose.
To get started you simply click on Read in the lower right corner and set up your students. All this app needs is their name and you can let them choose an avatar to represent themselves. There are sooo many pictures to choose from. As you can see, you have avatars that can closely resemble your students and some that have a bit more character to them. Once you have your students entered you can pick up to 4 students at once to play.
After you choose your students, you can pick a story at the reading level you want your students work at. To get perspective, level one is an early 2nd grade reading level and level 5 is about 6th-7th grade. There are 10 stories for each level, that is a total of 50 stories! We chose the story, ” The Perfect Pet “, in a session. It is about a girl looking for a pet and decides she wants a pet pig. One of my students thought this was just about the coolest pet ever and decided he was going to ask his parents for a pig when he got home. I would say he was definitely into the story 🙂
Each story has a picture that shows an event from a point in the story. I felt like the length of the story was appropriate for the level. The time we have with our students is limited so trying to get as many attempts for practice in as we can is important. I was able to get in about two stories, with quizzes, in my 30 minute sessions. It was really nice that I could use the same app with different grade level groups. There is the option to have the stories read to the students ( click the green arrow ) or to allow the students to read the story themselves ( a little artic practice perhaps ).
There is a feature in this app that allows you to adjust the size of the font or picture depending on students needs. I have a student who has vision issues and requires large print. I was able to adjust the font in this app so that he was able to read the story, most of the time I read it to him because the font it to small. He was so excited that he could read it! He looked at the story after I adjusted the font, said, ” I got this “. When you make the font bigger, it will decrease the size of the picture and vise versa.
|Screen shot of large print option|
After the story, students can take a quiz. There are 11 questions for each story.
You can adjust the settings for the questions depending on the level and modifications your students may need. You can choose which questions you want the student to answer, how many answer choices you want presented, what will happen if they answer incorrectly, and if you want there to be hints ( awesome feature, more on that in a minute ).
This is were your kids can show off how well they where listening. You can choose to have the questions presented without the picture, without the text, or without both. The question can also be read to them. The answers do not have an option to be read. It would have been nice if they had audio, but the choices are not that long and I don’t mind reading them to my kids. For each question, the students can have a ‘Hint’ if they need it. This option will highlight the area in the story where that question’s answer is located. This is a fantastic feature! It allows students to utilize context clues for information gathering. I teach this strategy to my students anyway, but this just reinforces the skill even more! You can switch which student can answer the question by tapping on their avatar. This was really helpful for me. I could make sure that certain students had particular questions that were related to their goals.
When the quiz is done you can view their results in the Student Lounge. This gives a graph ( YAY for visuals!) of their correct and incorrect responses. There is the option to import these results in to Therapy Report Center app from Smarty Ears or you are able to email, copy, or print the results yourself.
CREATE AND CUSTOMIZE YOUR OWN STORY! Can you tell I am just a little excited about this feature? You can use a picture provided by the app or import one of your own. Students can record themselves or type in their story. You are also able to create custom quizzes for these new stories too. The ability to create a custom story would be a great way to have students address other goals like pronouns, subject/verb agreement, verb tenses, irregular verbs, syntax, etc. in an applicable setting. You could also make a custom story to specifically target certain areas of comprehension for a student. Or you may even choose to use them to create social stories if needed. So many possibilities!
This app has a lot of variety and it very user friendly. It has 5 levels and 50 stories that can engage and accommodate many readers. There is an 11 question quiz with each story. You can modify which questions you want, the amount of answer choices, and the presentation of the quiz. This app has lots of options to customize the stories and quizzes to meet the needs of your students. The one draw back with the quizzes is that the answers cannot be read. To me this is pretty minor and the positives far out way the negatives with this app. The ability to create your own story and quizzes provides a vast amount of opportunities for students to target not only comprehension but other areas of need. This is one camp I will definitely be going back to, I might even make some s’mores 🙂
You can add Reading Comprehension Camp to your resources by going to iTunes, it is currently $19.99
* Smarty Ears generously provided a copy of Reading Comprehension Camp, no other compensation was provided.