How to use Digital Book Companions to Guarantee Successful Read Alouds


How to use Digital Book Companions to Guarantee Successful Read Alouds

 What is a Digital Book Companion?

I’m so glad you asked! I LOVE read aloud books and my students do, too. Teaching in the technology lab doesn’t leave a lot of time to do read alouds because they are usually only used as a warm up or early finisher activity. NOT any more!
I want you to start using read alouds as the entire lesson in your tech lab or the library! This means you’re going to need some technology themed read aloud books and the corresponding digital book companions.
A digital book companion is similar to a regular book companion in that it asks students to identify things like the main idea, order or events, and make connections to the book. The main difference is that my students do these activities on a tablet or computer. This means that they can practice their technology skills right along with literacy skills! Win win.

Digital Book Companions

What makes a digital book companion an entire lesson?

I’m able to use these read aloud books and the digital companion activities as a whole lesson like this:
  • A little bit of teacher prep- get the book, get the digital book companion (split the activities into 3)
  • Read the book to your class at least one time
  • Have students access their digital book companion activities on a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer (or with the littlest students you could do it as a whole class on the interactive whiteboard)
  • Students complete 3 literacy activities and 1 creation tool activity, then do the early finisher stuff if they have time left.

I design my digital book activities with 12 total activities (9 literacy and 3 tech creation tools) so that I can use 3 literacy activities and 1 tech creation tool with each grade level (grades 3, 4, and 5, for example). I am able to use the same read aloud book 3 years in a row with my students because they have different digital activities to complete each year.

Digital Book Companions

What makes a good book for a read aloud when doing digital activities?

I generally choose books with a technology theme so that they can meet the technology standards I teach. Think Internet Safety, screen time, computer troubleshooting, etc. This way I can pull in literacy standards with my technology standards and everyone is happy!

Check out my recommendations list on Amazon
OR read this blog post for my favorites:

I’ve started a line of Digital Book Companions and plan to add about 12 more books to it. Most of them will have options for grades K-2 and for grades 3-5.

Thanks for reading! Do you have any books to request for digital book companions? Leave your ideas in the comments and I will put them on my to do list!

Here is a basic lesson plan you can use with Digital Book Companions:

Lesson Title: Reading and Responding to a Picture Book with Google Slides


  • Students will listen to a picture book read aloud.
  • Students will analyze the book’s main idea.
  • Students will demonstrate their understanding of the book by completing a digital activity on Google Slides.
  • Students will practice using technology tools and following digital citizenship guidelines.


  • Picture book
  • Projector or interactive whiteboard
  • Computer with internet access
  • Google Slides (or similar presentation software)
  • Student worksheet with activity instructions and links to the Google Slides activity


  1. Make sure you have a copy of the book and access to the Google Slides activity.
  2. Introduce the lesson by explaining that you will be reading a picture book together and then completing a digital activity on Google Slides.
  3. Display the book on the projector or interactive whiteboard and read it aloud to the class. Pause at key moments to ask questions and encourage discussion.
  4. After reading the book, ask students to reflect on what they learned about the main idea. You may want to use a graphic organizer or chart to help students organize their thoughts.
  5. Introduce the Google Slides activity and model how to navigate the digital tool. Make sure students understand the purpose of each slide and the instructions for completing the activity.
  6. Provide time for students to work independently or in pairs to complete the activities.
  7. As students work on their digital slides, circulate around the room and provide support as needed. Monitor student progress and behavior to ensure that they are following digital citizenship guidelines and using technology tools appropriately.
  8. After students have completed the activities, allow them to explore the early finisher activities.
  9. Conclude the lesson by reflecting on the learning objectives and reviewing the ISTE Standards that were addressed during the lesson.

Assessment: Assessment for this lesson may include:

  • Observation of student participation during the read-aloud and digital activity.
  • Review of completed Google Slides activities to evaluate student understanding of the book’s main idea.
  • Reflection on how well students followed digital citizenship guidelines and used technology tools effectively.

ISTE Standards: This lesson addresses the following ISTE Standards for students:

  1. Empowered Learner
  2. Digital Citizen
  3. Knowledge Constructor
  4. Creative Communicator
  5. Global Collaborator (if done in groups)
Brittany Washburn

Brittany Washburn

Hi, I'm Brittany. I'm an educator obsessed with technology and passionate about teaching students 21st century skills. I'm so glad you came to visit my website.

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Hi, I’m Brittany! I’m an educator obsessed with teaching with technology. Check out my free PD for technology teachers!

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