Teaching children to read…it’s never been an easy task, and there are more than a few new wrinkles that have been added for 21st century educators. (Understatement of the year–or of the century!) Literacy and technology do coexist in our world and in our classrooms. It’s our job to use digital technology to help us teach students to become 21st century readers. If it seems like a daunting task, don’t sweat it. It’s a BIG job, but I’ve got you covered–just keep reading!
Teaching strategies may change. Standards may be updated. Best practices may be modified. But one thing will never change: children will always come into our primary classroom needing to learn to read.
How can we use technology to support and scaffold our students and to enhance our literacy instruction? You don’t have to be a techie to understand the importance of providing your students with quality digital texts and learning apps. In the 21st century, literacy and technology go hand in hand.
It can sometimes seem complicated; however, everyday use of technology in the classroom should be simple and practical. Keep an iPad handy during a read aloud and use it to help clarify the definition of a difficult vocabulary word. Pull up a picture or short video clip to explain a new and unfamiliar word or concept. Allow students to build phonics skills and word solving strategies by using engaging learning apps and fun educational games.
Merging Literacy and Technology: An Uncommonly Important Task
We owe it to our students to prepare them to read, write and effectively communicate in a world where digital media rules. We know the importance of incorporating technology as part of our classroom instructional approach. In fact, for most of us, it’s a requirement. Common Core state standards require the integration of technology within classroom instruction. Take for example the following Common Core state literacy standard:
Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
Yes, we want our kiddos to get the feel of “real” books with spines and paper pages; however, we owe it to them to provide access to quality, engaging digital texts, too. On the page or on the screen – a good story is a good story, with our without a spine! Even with digital books, young readers still breathlessly follow plot twists and fall in love with the written word. The screen comes alive with fun and fascinating stories and vivid, colorful illustrations. Character, setting and plot? They’re all still there on the screen, ready to captivate the imaginations and engage the minds of your little readers.
Spineless Books for Courageous Readers
A digital book may not have an actual spine, but it has a lot of other positive features going for it! There are numerous possibilities for how you can use technology to scaffold students and differentiate your instruction. While I will ALWAYS recommend keeping your class library shelves stocked with good books, I also encourage you to use the technology to benefit you and your students. The integration of technology through digital texts will allow you to monitor and assess your readers with convenience and accuracy. Not only that, but it can engage your students and spark an interest in reading.
There are so many effective and engaging apps available for teaching reading in today’s classroom! They help make learning fun as well as allow us to provide essential practice time. Best of all, most of them allow you to differentiate activities for individual students’ reading levels. There are easily accessible teaching materials that allow teachers to quickly and efficiently differentiate their instruction for all their readers with the click of a button. (Much more about that below. You’re gonna LOVE this–just keep reading!)
Literacy and Technology: The Future of Guided Reading is Here!
Your job is to use digital tools effectively to light the fire of literacy in the mind of a young reader. That’s why I’m SO excited to introduce to you a highly effective tool for your Guided Reading instruction! Guided Readers helps you address 21st century literacy skills with your students. The Digital Interactive Reader helps students with decoding and comprehension skills as they listen to and engage with stories. With Guided Readers, students can listen to the stories being read aloud. They can also record their own reading to improve their oral comprehension, decoding and fluency. In addition, the Teacher Portal allows you as the teacher to listen to and assess student recordings. You can also access quiz scores to assess student comprehension.
All Guided Readers leveled books are published by Laprea Publishing and are professionally leveled through our partnership with Fountas & Pinnell and Lexile.com. There are already hundreds of leveled readers already on the site, with 20-30 books being added reach week! Books ranging from levels A- Q are currently on the site, and levels R-Z will be added in the upcoming months. There are 3 affordable program plans, now at special introductory prices!
Are you ready to merge literacy and technology and rock your Guided Reading instruction? Get Guided Readers!
I love thinking about the future of education and the bright possibilities that exist for our students and teachers. I believe in you, and I’m cheering you on! If you’re interested in joining a community of teachers just like you, then check out my private Facebook Community where I share teaching ideas, fun tips and helpful strategies, as well as some yummy freebies! Click the link below to join!
Have an amazing day!