If you are finding it a struggle to get students to read, try asking them to write and publish their own books. This not provides obvious opportunities for writing practice, it inspires reading fluency and oral language as students work to perfect their books during the editing process.
Wixie makes it easy to support the writer and publisher in all of us. Built-in authoring, drawing and voice options provide multiple supports for student writing, and Wixie’s sharing options provide a variety of ways to publish the piece so that it will be right for your audience.
Wixie’s Book Layout
You have always been able to print Wixie projects and export to PDF and eBook format, but did you know that Wixie includes a new book layout?
Students can use the New button at their Wixie home page to write, illustrate, and narrate on a blank page or by using a Book template.
Wixie’s Book library includes a range of design styles, story ideas, and informational text starters.
Wixie also includes a book layout that uses a page-turn transition to create digital books that more closely resemble reading a printed book.
While printing is always a powerful option for publishing, displaying books for online reading means you can also include narration! Recording narration for their own books gives students an authentic opportunity to practice reading and build fluency. Recorded narration captures their oral language and storytelling skills that can often result in precious family heirlooms.
Go beyond narrative writing
With his amazing documentaries blending story and information, Ken Burns has helped us see the power of story to inform, raise awareness, and change minds.
Writing their own informational texts is a hallmark of elementary school projects. By using features of nonfiction texts, such as labeled images and a table of contents, students learn to more easily navigate this type of book to find information.
There are a range of nonfiction writing options that go beyond a report. Students can write a standard biography or develop a professional portfolio of an individual's accomplishments. You might also ask students to showcase their expertise and skills by creating how-to manuals that teach others.
Producing nonfiction books doesn't have to be a month-long project or need to result in an encyclopedia-sized tome. Try working to produce a book as an entire class. Not only will you save time while still creating information rich texts, you provide students with a real example of what can be accomplished when they collaborate. For example, you might have each student contribute a:
A note about publishing and sharing
To best motivate our students, we want to publish to the widest audience possible. But you also want to make sure you can reach your target audience. For example, if you want to share with parents, most phones are able to view a PDF easily, ensuring parents can see their child’s work. If students have tablets at home, you can export the eBook, but this often takes a little more expertise on the part of the parent, or user, to view in say an iBook library. If you want to share student books from a classroom or school web page, set them to the book format for book-style viewing.
A final note about copyright
Fair Use Guidelines give educators some leeway for using copyrighted images for the purposes of student learning. Uses covered by the Fair Use Guidelines do NOT extend beyond the walls of your classroom. So, if you plan to publish student work on your classroom website or if your library media center plans to post student books to its digital distribution system, such as Overdrive. Again, you will face copyright issues.
All media embedded in Wixie’s Stickers and Backgrounds are in the public domain and have no copyright issues. While your students can add images from their computer that they have found online, there is no guarantee these will be in the public domain or copyright free.
Writing in the digital age is not text-only! This is a great time to encourage your students to create original artwork using Wixie’s paint tools or take their own photographs to share their story visually as well. Recording narration of an original story or text is owned by the author. The Background sounds found inside Wixie are also copyright free.
Books are meant to be shared. Publishing their writing for an audience beyond the classroom tells students that you have confidence in their abilities and motivates them to work hard to improve their craft as they publish for an audience within and beyond the walls of school.