Introducing the Weekly Reader Digital Edition

Weekly Reader is going digital! Starting this fall, teachers who subscribe to the grade 1 or grade 2 edition will have access to a new digital edition of the magazine, in addition to the familiar paper copies. That means teachers can display the issue on a computer screen or electronic whiteboard or use a projector to display it on a regular whiteboard.

The digital edition isn’t just an electronic copy of the magazine. Instead it has lots of added features, including embedded audio and video, slide shows, definitions of terms, and a feature that allows you to zoom in and enlarge the page. Plus with this version you can complete the activities multiple times with your students.

We asked Ira Wolfman, Senior Vice President for Editorial at Weekly Reader, to share more about the exciting developments at Weekly Reader.

How does the digital edition change the way teachers use Weekly Reader in their classrooms?

There’s one obvious change: The digital edition injects additional power and energy into Weekly Reader lessons because our publication is now wired for multisensory learning—and learners. These editions bring age-appropriate short films, sound effects, slide shows, and online interactivity right into the classroom. Weekly Reader kids now not only read grade-specific information about the power of hurricanes—they also hear howling winds, see trees bending, and watch teeming rain soak streets and people.

The Weekly Reader digital edition contains tools that make teachers’ lives easier. Instructors can preview the issue’s vocabulary and access prereading questions with the flick of their fingers. They’ll be better able to focus students’ attention with our simple online tools—such as the zoom feature that can blow up one detail, or the masking capability that enables them to isolate a particular word, image, or activity. And we’re confident that the interactive content will engage children who are primarily auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners.

The digital editions are very new, but we have already heard from more than 100 educators who have used them. One teacher told us, “This is an easy way to imbed technology into reading lessons, while offering differentiation to a variety of learners.”

Which of the new features is your favorite?
It’s hard to pick because there are so many neat ones. But I’d have to say that the short video clips are the coolest of all because they combine sound, motion, and a real “you are there” feel to the issues in a way that static material just can’t. Our managing editor Linda Ruggieri agrees; she picked the hurricane video in our first digital edition issue as her favorite: “It brings sound and movement to children who live in parts of the country that don’t get hurricanes, or who have never seen a hurricane. It gives students an authentic experience.”

What kinds of equipment or technical knowledge do teachers need to use these new features?
The great news about our digital editions is that no technical knowledge is required. The only equipment any Weekly Reader grade 1 or 2 subscriber needs is a computer and an Internet connection. If the class has a projector and screen, or an interactive whiteboard, it will be an even more exciting group experience. But we’ve built these editions to be extremely easy to use, and teachers who have sampled a digital edition—without any instructions on its features—not only used it without difficulty, but loved it.

At this point do you know if other levels will include digital editions in the future?

Right now, we are focused on getting our digital editions right for first- and second-grade classes, and for the special-education teachers interested in it. We are certainly interested in expanding to more grades, but we will have to see what the market tells us.

Digital editions are one of many improvements we’ve made to Weekly Reader publications over the past few years: We’ve paid a lot of attention to the changing needs of today’s teachers and students—so we’ve expanded our digital offerings, used many more visuals in our print publications, and added a deeper curriculum base to all of our products. We think these are important pieces of the future of educational publishing, and we’re excited to be on the cutting edge.

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Can’t wait to see a sample of the Weekly Reader digital issue? Click here! Enjoy!

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3 thoughts on “Introducing the Weekly Reader Digital Edition

  1. The past few years I was a subscriber to Weekly Reader and used their digital lessons for 7th grade students. Since Scholastic merged with Weekly Reader,I cannot find any of the digital activities for Shakespeare or Mark Twain etc. Where can I locate these?

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