Blogs About Reading
Connected: Digital Literacy for Gen Z
Dr. Julie Wood
Julie M. Wood, a former public school teacher and reading specialist, is a nationally recognized educational consultant with a special interest in digital learning tools. Join Julie in 2012 as she shares best practices in using educational technology and media in the classroom and at home.
Greetings Friends and Colleagues,
Please allow me to introduce myself as a new blogger on one of my favorite websites, Reading Rockets.
I'm a former elementary school teacher, reading specialist, editor of children's books, faculty member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and contributor to digital projects for young children. That's a lot of careers, but when you figure that I've been an educator for several decades (let's just say that bellbottoms and love beads were part of my early teaching wardrobe and warm sweaters, since I taught in New Hampshire), it makes more sense.
I love anything that has to do with teaching and learning, especially when it comes to struggling readers and writers. I truly believe that all children can learn and it's up to us to do whatever we can to help them succeed.
Through this blog I hope to reach out to you as teachers and parents of young children. We can think through some of the biggest questions "out there" in the digital age, given that we have no official guidebook or roadmap. The world as we known it is changing too rapidly for the research to keep up with the trends and innovations! How much screen time is okay? Which apps have the most educational value? Is the time children spend reading a book that glows in the dark any less valuable than the time they would spend reading traditional books with you? And if it's not quite as beneficial, is it okay for children to read e-books once in a while when you're really, really busy?
Let's put our heads together and come up with a few guideposts for the educating children who some refer to as Generation Z (or Gen Z), meaning children born between 1995 and the present. (Believe it or not Gen Z is 46 million strong!) I've been thinking about this subject quite a bit lately for the book I'm coauthoring with Nicole Ponsford, an award-winning teacher in the U.K., called "TechnoTeaching: The Ultimate Guide to Taking Control of the Global Classroom." But more on that later.
For now, we'll tell of our experiences and give our own thumbs ups and thumbs down about digital tools as well as more traditional ways to get children excited about reading and writing.
E-Books are great! I-Books, meaning those that are "i" for interactive, can be even better, especially if the activities deepen the plot or mood of the story. Often children can opt to have the books read aloud to them, with the text highlighted as they go. And while children can experience digital books on their own, a shared reading is so much richer. A shared reading allows you to ask "What do you think will happen next?" "What kind of a bear is a persnickety bear?" "Did anything like that ever happen to you?" Questions like these help children understand and interpret what they read, as well as give them extra practice with language. They also make reading even more fun.
What experiences have you had with children and digital books? Write back and tell us what you think!