Teacher Review For Subtext

Interactive book club/literature circle app that allows for in-class and at-home collaboration

Andy T.
Classroom teacher
The Hamlin School
San Francisco, CA, CA
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My Grades 6, 7
My Subjects English Language Arts
My Rating 5
Learning Scores
Engagement 5
Pedagogy 5
Support 5
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time More than 15 minutes
Great for Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It
I use this app for whole class novels and book club/literature selections. E-books purchased through Google are read in the app, and students join teacher-created groups. For class novels, each class section was part of one group. For literature circles, each group had its own separate group code. Once students are in groups, they can annotate in the text, ask and answer questions, discuss important points with each other, and write book blogs at the end of chapters. Teachers can also place questions in the text for students to answer. (Students cannot see other students' answers until they have submitted their own.) Teachers can also create multiple choice quizzes, polls, and other interactive features. Teachers can also monitor student activity, including their progress in the book. Accessibility/differentiation is addressed through a read-aloud function (premium subscription required as of this submission), as well as variable text size, font, and color/background color.
My Take
Subtext is a useful teaching tool and is a great way to make book club/literature circle activities a viable homework option, since students can interact and collaborate from home (as long as they have wi-fi). I have had several technical glitches with Subtext, but their tech support has been pretty responsive in fixing them. Students sometimes have had issues seeing other students' notes and questions, but as long as teachers help students set up settings and preferences at the beginning of the project, there aren't too many issues. One thing that would significantly improve Subtext would be to allow for flat PDFs to be annotated with questions and comments. Currently, teachers can only annotate using books or articles from websites; if you use a flat PDF, students can read it but cannot use many of the interactive functions. UPDATE: Over the past couple of years, I have had several glitches suing Subtext for whole-class novels. Subtext tech support has been responsive, but it is frustrating to have a book malfunction.