How I Use It
As a Digital Learning Coach, I recommend this as a wonderful way to encourage reluctant readers. I use the free version, so I do not have access to the premium features like the argument building tool for writing. However, I have found that it's often challenging for Science, Math, and Social Studies teachers to support writing but our district is encouraging writing across the curriculum. This is a great tool for helping accomplish that goal, since they have put many high-interest articles on a variety of topics and it even includes the prompt or question stem that students will prepare a written response. So, it's likely that there is a topic for the concept the Social Studies, Science, and Math teachers may be working on. I also like that it provides a variety of informational media: videos like TED talks, infographics, and short articles! The topics are so interesting for students, that I've seen students immediately want to discuss the issues after reading one of the texts, before taking the short quiz to review. My only concern with ThinkCerca is that it requires students to have an email address. That may be an issue for some schools.
The FREE version of ThinkCerca is a great way to support writing across the curriculum for students in grades 4-12. Teachers in all content areas will see this as a great way to support writing and save time looking through a myriad of informational sources. First, teachers can have students read or view information, and then write their argumentative response around that topic. Students can even participate in debates or Socratic Seminars on the topics.
They offer a variety of high interest articles that students will actually want to talk about. After discussing the content with the whole class or in small groups, students will be more motivated and empowered to write about it. Taking the short quiz after viewing the content, will help gauge students comprehension and inform instruction for teachers. I liked the variety of informational media provided for students to interact with as it allows students to build their research and information fluency. I recommended it for a wide variety of students because even for students with low reading comprehension or for students new to learning the English language it will read the text aloud for them. I think ThinkCerca will engage even the most reluctant readers!