Teachers can use the free version of Serial Reader to engage students in a serial reading assignment of a literary classic. You're probably always looking for ways to help students use technology appropriately and with purpose. Have students download Serial Reader and then subscribe to the same book. For instance, Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd is a popular title for high school, but the writing style can be tough for students -- and yet the themes are easily translated. By breaking this book up over time, students might get less discouraged, and teachers, who can keep up with the book's issues, can facilitate short discussions for each issue in-class or online. Since there are no teaching supports, teachers may want to read the books first and design guiding questions or provide some contextual readings and resources for each issue or week's worth of issues.
Serial Reader can also be a great tool for teachers during the school year (or summer) to manageably screen potential titles that'll help meet some standard or be a great addition to a course of study.Continue reading Show less
Serial Reader is a reading app focused on chunking out classic literature in 20-minute, daily "issues." New users create a quick profile and then begin curating their book subscriptions (which are free). Once subscribed, users receive chapter/issue at the same time every day (which can be adjusted in Settings). The Premium version ($2.99 in-app purchase) unlocks the ability to access all issues without waiting. The home page displays recently released and upcoming issues as well as the Serial Streak, which shows users how they've read and for how long (this can also lead to badges).
Click on +New in the top right corner of the app to browse all available titles (449 as of the time of this review, with more to be added over time). Through the app's menu, users can also access completed books, highlights and notes (available with a Premium purchase), and books that have been saved for later. There's also Goodreads integration that shows whether a user's Goodreads favorites and wishlists are available in Serial Reader. Goodreads is also updated based on your Serial Reader progress.
Serial Reader's primary value is in giving students and teachers extensive access to a library of classics in a clever, daily format that makes otherwise intimidating books feel inviting. For students, Serial Reader can be just the supplement they need to dig into challenging texts. For teachers, the daily subscriptions can be a way to explore potential titles or just brush up on themes and storylines of a set of texts for the upcoming semester or year. The big drawback is that Serial Reader wasn't designed for classrooms, so there are no lesson plans or study guides to aid students' comprehension. There are some built-in features like a dictionary and Wikipedia, but teachers will need to do lots of planning and preparation to effectively integrate Serial Reader. Adding some of these supports, as well as more accessibility features like reading levels or text-to-speech, could make this an impressive tool for teachers. As it stands, though, it would be a wonderful way to engage reluctant readers in a process that they have complete control over.
Key Standards Supported
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).
Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).
Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)
Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.
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