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Teaching Reading with GoodNotes- using PDFs on the iPad!

I am newly loving this free app for the iPad called GoodNotes!* It acts as a bookshelf for your PDF files and allows you to download them right from your Dropbox account (there are other options also if you don’t use Dropbox).  You can then take notes, mark up the document, etc right on your iPad.  This has been an amazing app for my little friends to use in literacy centers.  I use it for a variety of activities- for example: making words, matching words with pictures, reading Reading A-Z stories and highlighting specific words, etc. The options are pretty much endless!
*There is also a paid version so that there is no limit to your amount of files on your bookshelf, but the free one works out well for us because you can easily delete a PDF and add a new one after you’ve reached the 2 file limit…and we rarely need more than two files at once, so it’s just fine!
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I usually create something in Keynote (or PowerPoint) and then save it as a PDF in my Dropbox account and then add it into my GoodNotes app.  All you have to do is click the + sign in GoodNotes and then a new box pops up that says “copy from…” and Dropbox is one of the options.  You then find your file and click select- then it appears on your GoodNotes bookshelf! The students can then open the document and manipulate it by highlighting words, writing sentences, etc. 
Also, like I mentioned above I like to use GoodNotes during our Guided Reading groups with our Reading A-Z books.  Since Reading A-Z books can be saved as PDF’s, GoodNotes is another spot where each child can read the book in GoodNotes and then highlight specific words (sight words, phonics patterns, digraphs, etc.) or identify parts of a story- the characters, setting, etc.  It helps get the students more involved in their reading when they can really study the text for specific information! 

Common Core Alignment:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.1 Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.1a Recognize the distinguishing features of a sentence (e.g., first word, capitalization, ending punctuation).
I’ve been doing my “Read and Identify” activity on a weekly basis with my little kindergartners to help them really grasp the concept that each sentence needs to begin with a capital letter and end with a period. I made basic sentences that they can read with simple sight words and CVC words/words with blends/digraphs. They first read the sentence and then use the highlighter tool in GoodNotes to highlight the capital letter and period in each sentence.  On the last page, they then create their own sentences while making sure to include the features of a sentence! (I modeled this the first time we did it for my friends on our Apple TV!) 🙂
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I love creating new activities for my little friends in Keynote/Powerpoint and it is SO very nice to be able to still do those same activities on the iPads just by simply exporting the documents as PDFs and opening them in GoodNotes.  It has really made our use of the iPads even more engaging which I love!
In the upper grades I imagine you could easily use this as a research tool where students are highlighting important information from text– I even plan to use it with my little friends as an extension to our “identifying important details” activities where they will actually highlight the important ideas before writing those ideas in their graphic organizers! 
Have a great day!

Picture of Aylin Claahsen

Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

0 Responses

  1. Hi Aylin! So I was so excited to share with you that I got to use the GoodNotes app today! I had remembered all the way back from when you wrote this post and was finally able to get this app "approved" to be put on our ipads! I had students use a math graphic organizer to teach 3 digit + 3 digit numbers with regrouping! Thanks so much for sharing this simple, yet engaging and effective tool! I also love that you save paper!!

    Table Talk with C & C

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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