As I have stressed in previous blogs, there are certain features that I believe all apps should encompass. The following information explains how One Minute Reader has a variety of features that speak to the digital learner and enhance traditional literacy skills.
Choice: A great feature about this app is how students can choose from a variety of book pages in the Book Store (as seen in the first picture at the bottom right). Students can choose book packages based on a theme they are interested in. All stories are non-fiction.
Curriculum Connections: One Minute Reader has three different components that align with the Ontario Language Arts Curriculum. Once students select a story, they practice this story throughout the app to build fluency (speed & accuracy). The app times students' at the beginning, then reads the story with the student, and finally times the study again to determine if their fluency has improved. One Minute Reader also has a vocabulary component. After students read the story for the first time, they are able to click on the highlighted vocabulary words to hear how it sounds and a definition for what it means. Students also hear the word within another sentence. As students work through their book packages, they can continuously fill in the crossword puzzle with all the vocabulary words from that package. The last component of Language Arts that One Minute Reader focuses on is comprehension. At the end of every story, the app has students complete 3-4 comprehension questions. Usually, I have found these questions focus on the big idea of the text. Some questions are also about the meaning of a particular word in the story, which is usually challenging for students because the words chosen always have multiple meanings depending on the context.
Immediate Feedback- Immediate feedback happens continuously throughout One Minute Reader. Right after students complete the 'cold read,' students are given their fluency score immediately after. This cold timing score is calculated by timing students for one minute and having the student tap the last word they read. The only issue with this app is that it does not account for accuracy. It does not deduct the words students missed or read incorrectly. This is something you may want to keep track of yourself. After the fluency number is calculated, the app visually depicts the number as a thermometer for students to see how many words they initially could read (this is the blue part of the thermometer in the last picture above). After some scaffolding to practice the story, students are then told to read the story again while they get timed for one minute. Students can time themselves as many times as they would like until they are pleased with their score. Once the student has selected the score (hot timing) they are happy with, the app immediately shows the difference between the cold timing and hot timing. This is done by showing the thermometer again and increasing the difference with red (as shown in the picture above). This immediately shows students how they have progressed after working on their fluency throughout the app.
Scaffolding: My favourite component to the app is how it scaffolds students to practice fluency. After the initial cold read, the app practices the story with students by reading the story out loud. This section is called Read Along because students are expected to read along with the app. To support students with keeping up and not loosing their place, the app highlights what sentence the app is currently reading so that students can still see the words they are trying to read along with (see middle picture above). It is a fantastic feature and has really supported my own students' fluency development. After reading along a few times, my students' fluency scores go up about 20 words. It is a great way for students to hear how to fluently read and to practice many high frequency words within the story. This feature also supports independent work since the teacher does not have to be the one reading the story with a student. The app has a voice built in and programmed to read the story.
Reward System: One Minute Reader has a unique reward system. Students can first earn some points throughout the app, but I have not yet discovered what students can use these points towards. I am assuming they are just to encourage students. On top of these points, students are working to earn letters towards a joke jumble. This reward system is just for the comprehension component. Each book package has a joke question and whenever students get a comprehension question correct, they earn another letter towards the joke's answer. I have found this reward system to be really engaging and motivating. It also gives students a good laugh at the end of their package!
Assessment: One Minute Reader further provides a lot of data that can be used to assess students on the spot or assess students' reading progress over time. Each story ends with immediate feedback for students and teachers to view. It shows the cold timing, hot timing, and other scores students received while practicing. It further shows the score students received for comprehension. This is shown in the last picture above. After a whole book package is complete, the teacher can then see the data analytics from all five stories to compare how students progressed throughout the package (as shown below). I found this chart to be extremely helpful to see how my students were improving between their cold timings (the initial read without practice). Both of the students I tutor jumped about 10 words between their first cold read and their last cold read in the book package. I also compared these numbers from the whole book package to the numbers from a previous book package that one of my student had completed. I discovered that this student had jumped about 25 words from the very first cold timing to their most recent cold timing! I have only been using this app for about 4 months, and this is the fastest improvement I have ever seen with my student.
Overall, I highly recommend using the One Minute Reader app to build your students' reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. You can also purchase this app based on individual levels if you know you are only working with students at that one level. However, I recommend downloading the general One Minute Reader app so that you can differentiate and easily move students between different levels. Click the icon below to discover more about the One Minute Reader App!