Sunday, May 13, 2018

Enhancing Literacy Skills Through Online Resources

Literacy skills correlate with all subjects, behaviours, and daily operations within the school setting and our everyday lives. Without literacy skills we would struggle to perform basic operations, such as reading a stop sign, identifying a brand of cereal, and more. Along with these basic examples, without a strong literacy foundation we cannot develop as students and humans. Literacy allows us to problem solve, comprehend, decode, and simply read. Strong literature skills correlate to other subjects which allow us to interpret results in science, locate destinations on maps, and solve word problems in mathematics. Along with these examples Duboc 2011 explains "a highly literate individual has a long practice of reading, both online and off. This practice not only increases her knowledge, but allows her to scan pages and spot important information faster than someone who merely proceeds to decipher the signs on the page. This is a huge advantage in the digital world. Reading faster allows for better email processing, better information retrieval and sorting, which leads to better performances in an information-heavy world".

The reality is that literacy starts in the early years, although you can still improve your literacy skills once past early years. In order to enhance the foundation of literacy skills in early years, there are several programs to use such as Fountas and Pinnell, literature centres, and more. Although, when we think of 21st century learning and the relevance of technology in society, would a technologically assistive resource be more useful for students to enhance their literacy skills?
ReadingA-Z is an assistive technology resource that provides levelled reading for students through the use of a computer or handheld tablet (iPad). With readingA-Z students are given a profile which they work to acquire stars to build a spaceship. Aside from this attractive incentive for students, there are also hundreds of thousands non-fiction and fiction stories. Students can read the book or have the book read to them, comprehension questions are provided, and students can click on hard to read words. Aside from these great attributes, teachers can monitor students progress and set different levels for each student. As well, you can download the books as a pdf to print, put on your desktop, or for guided reading put on all the iPads in your class. The following video shows an introduction to ReadingA-Z which is known as Raz-Kids for students.

-Levelled reading from A-Z (and more)
-Fiction and Non-fiction
-Student award incentives
-Teachers can set students levels and assess their success or difficulty
-Variety of comprehension (main ideas, vocabulary, story sequences, synonyms, etc)
-Accessible at school and home
-Can Download the books
-Provides accommodations such as listening and pronouncing difficult words

-Dependent on Wifi
-Teacher must monitor students progress to change levels
-Must pay for subscription


Duboc J. R. (2011) Six Literacies The Importance of Strong Writing and Reading Skills in a Digital World. E-Learn Magazine. Volume 2010 Issue 11, November 2011 Article No. 1

Laurent-Prophete, V. (2017) The Effects of a Curriculum Sequence on the Emergence of Reading Comprehension Involving Derived Relations in First Grade Students. roQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

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