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Facilitate Close Reading with the iPad

Close Reading Meets Technology

Putting high quality, authentic text into the hands of students and providing them with opportunities to engage in a close reading of the text is a challenge now presented to educators. Close reading is the process of reading whereby the students are not simply consuming the text, but rather, re-reading and evaluating the text.  When students are close reading, they are engaged with the text and considering the author's perspective, main idea, what the text really says AND what the words mean. Undoubtedly, if you have familiarized yourself with the expectations of the Common Core Curriculum, the term close reading has been mentioned.

Close Reading Strategy
After perusing several articles regarding the concept of close reading, several keywords surfaced:

Naturally, my mind migrated towards the potential of technology to facilitate close reading.  

The purpose of this blog is not to outline how to instruct students on close reading, it is primarily to instruct the educator on how to incorporate technology into the close reading process.  

Below I demonstrate how to download a .pdf file onto your iPad to allow students to annotate that text thus providing students an opportunity to digitally 'close' read.

The Tools

  • PC/Mac
  • iPad
  • Dropbox
  • GoodNotesFree
  • Stylus

Step #1:  Locate/Identify a .pdf file (on your pc) that you would like to house on your iPad.  If you need something for the purposes of this trial, here is a link to a reading passage that you can download:

Step #2:  Download and install Dropbox onto your pc.  (FREE)

Step #3:  Locate the file that you would like to eventually place on the iPad for students to annotate.  

Step #4:  (There are 3 ways to upload your .pdf file)

  • Copy and paste the file to Dropbox on your desktop. 
  • Drag the file onto the Dropbox icon on your desktop.
  • Go to Dropbox and Upload the file 

Step #5:  Download GoodNotes Free or GoodNotes $4.99

Step #6:  Open the GoodNote App on your iPad.  Click on the + icon at the top left hand corner.  You will see the drop box icon.  Click on that an scroll until you find the preferred .pdf file.

Step #7:  You will see a small thumbnail image of the .pdf that you just downloaded.  Tap on that and the .pdf will open allowing you to annotate directly on the document.  

Step #8:  You can use your finger to annotate, but a stylus works beautifully!  (Make FREE ones!)

A Quick Tutorial


Cross-Curricular Possibilities

Although the focus of this blog entry is close reading, this strategy can be employed with ANY worksheet that you currently use and wish to place on an iPad for students to complete.   Converting a traditional word file into a .pdf isn't a challenging process.  To convert, you can use an online converter, use your photocopying machine (many photocopy machines now allow you to copy and send yourself a .pdf file through e-mail).  Also, many versions of word allow you to save your file as a .pdf (under Save As).

Ideas (Not NEARLY an exhaustive list)

  • Concept circles
  • Diagrams
  • Maps
  • Math Problems
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Fill in the blank sheets
  • Handwriting sheets
  • Crossword Puzzles
  • Word Search Activities
  • Matching

Save paper, integrate technology, and use quality materials that you already THAT'S using your Smarticles!!