Teaching Literacy Through Technology

While reading Selfe’s piece about technological literacy, I could only think of how much technology is shaping the modern day classroom. Yes, technology is now teaching young children how to read at earlier ages than we were able to as children. iPads are being used in schools across the country to help children learn how to read, write, learn math and even science. My cousin (who is 10 years old) says that every student in his school is given an iPad to use every year. I did a bit of research about popular apps used by children who are learning how to read and write. I concentrated on finding apps for younger students since those are the grade levels I am most interested in teaching.

One app I found is called abcPocketPhonics which costs $2.99 and allows beginning readers in pre-school and kindergarten to trace the letters using their fingers on the pad and plays a recording of the letter and has the child find the letter in a group of letters. Eventually as the child progresses, these letters become words and the app grows with the child’s progress.

Word Magic is even more affordable at only $.99 which shows the child of a picture and the corresponding word (with letters missing) and the child must try to solve the puzzle as to which letters are missing. As the child progresses, the game gets harder and letters can become missing from the beginning, middle, or end of the word.

iWriteWords is an app priced at $2.99 that focuses on handwriting and writing words. The app offers over 70 levels of tracing letters (upper and lower case), 20 levels of number tracing, and 26 levels of individual letter tracing. Children can and most often use their finger with this app but the pen for the iPad can be used to give children a better grasp at using writing utensils.

Finally, Learn to Read! is an app that shows children a word and pronounces it for them which in turn helps with memorization and takes away the need of making hundreds of flash cards by hand containing sight words. The app includes adjectives, prepositions, verbs, adverbs, etc. and can be used by pre-schoolers to second graders based on level.

Of course, once children master the art of reading and writing they can always use a Kindle or Nook to read full chapter books or access textbooks for class. Selfe’s essay shows that technology will only be continued to be used at a faster pace in the classroom in years to come. As future teachers, we must continue to learn about these new technologies because we we be using them in our classrooms.

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