Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Subtext is another Web 2.0 iPad app I have been dying to dive into. I've played around with it a little, but this blog assignment is a great reason to really get to know the "ins" and "outs" of the app. So far, my research is telling me I like this app a lot and will start to use it in my classes as well as help other teachers at LEMS use it in their lessons.

To get started, here's a little Intro video--call it a sales pitch if you like.

Subtext is a way to interact with digital content and to differentiate learning for all the levels of readers you have in your classes. Subtext is aligned with the Common Core Standards and has the standards embedded within the assignments navigation screens. 

When you first download the Subtext app on the iPad, I strongly suggest that you spend time first reading over the "Welcome to Subtext for Teachers" resource located in My Library. It is only 4 pages long and page 3 is really the where the meat of the information lies. 

After that, you MUST watch the video  by Markette Pierce. Just click on the link. The actual video would not embed. Technology is sweet, isn't it? The video is 17 minutes long, but it will become the go-to video when you need to remember either how to do something on Subtext or what different activities are possible!

Subtext is such a great literacy tool not just for ELA teachers but really for any content teacher who is asking students to read a piece of text as a part of the lesson. It allows teachers to read publicly and actively with their students. Even greater, it embeds data collection that both teachers and students can access. Teachers can look at group  as well as individual progress

One of the best features is the teacher's ability to lead discussions via annotations in the text and to embed Thinking Points where students are stopped in their reading and asked to respond to a question the teacher has purposefully placed at that point in the reading. 

The app will also read the entire text in a computer-like voice, but that's great for those struggling readers. And, last, but not least, the app has an embedded dictionary/Google/Wikipedia resource that is available for immediate access. Not only can students look up unknown words, but they can immediately read background information on something in the text that they are not familiar with.

So now you've had a sales pitch about Subtext and have access to a great how-to video. Watch Liz Sheehan, classroom teacher, as she shows you how she is using Subtext in her classes. Not the most technically savvy video, but it brings home the point that using Subtext needs to become a part of your lessons. If your students read in your class, you need Subtext.

Stay posted for my own Subtext adventure with writing an argument piece using "Millennials are Right. Voice Mails are Terrible" from the Washington Post. 


  1. I really like this concept. However, I teach in an elementary school and I teach special education students so they are typically reading significantly below their peers. Do you know if Subtext has text below grade level 5? I signed up for an account because I really like the idea. When I started browsing the content/text available the only options for grade level equivalency text was grade 5 and above. I could not find any younger grade level text. Did I miss it?

  2. Hum, good question! I'm with you on needing lower-level reading materials. I know you can import text and books so I would imagine you could import lower level books. Probably costs though. I wonder if they have preloaded the CCSSs for elementary? If you go to the Educreations website and find a link to ask questions, I'm sure they'll answer. They were at EdSurge and were a nice group of folks. You can always "google" your question too. If I have time, I'll do some looking around also.