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8 Lessons in amplifying literacy with technology

Teachers often feel as if they’re competing with technology for the attention of students. The presence of devices and apps in their students’ lives seems to be in the way of instilling a love of reading. However, at the same time, the online book community seems to be thriving, with booktube channels, book blogs, and online book clubs.

Instead of seeing technology in terms of distractors or positive factors, teachers can amplify literacy through the use of technology. That’s why you'll benefit from looking at the ways in which the online book community has engaged millions of readers. Here are some tips to “steal” for your classroom or school:

  1. Have a dedicated space for discussing reading

    There are many options available to teachers, such as starting a blog or YouTube channel for student book reviews. If you want to keep reviews private, you can use the school’s LMS to store videos and use the online forum and blog features.

  2. Video reviews and trailers

    Making your own video review takes a lot of hard work - actually, students have to work harder than they do when writing a book report. With some help, they can also create book trailers, which require more editing, but you can use cheap methods such as green screen to make books come alive in their imaginations.

  3. Retellings and pairing books with movies

    The idea of pairing books and movies is nothing new, but it’s still a great way to increase comprehension. Plus, interesting things happen when students reimagine classics in their own context, such as discussing what it would be like to have a character as a friend or what they would do if tomorrow they found themselves in the book they are reading.

  4. Introducing audiobooks and ebooks

    It seems that children prefer ebooks for the sake of familiarity. If you have students that struggle to read or simply need an extra incentive in their environment to do so, then audiobooks and ebooks can be a good place to start or simply get in the habit of reading. It just shows that reading is as accessible as playing games or watching videos on their phone.

  5. Organizing read-alongs

    Similar to book clubs, read-alongs are fun ways in which people can discuss a text in an online forum, group, or via chat. If this seems challenging, students can read books in smaller groups or in pairs. The main point is for them to share ideas as they read and increase their understanding of a text by reflecting on what they’ve just read.

  6. Reading challenges

    Mandatory reading comes more naturally for more advanced readers. For others, however, it can feel like a big challenge. In contrast, thematic reading challenges use the power of community for motivation. They can also be kept as a separate section, for example, by creating a separate group in your LMS for challenges, you won’t disrupt the normal flow of lessons.

  7. Chat with authors

    Some authors might be happy to read to your students. For finding an author, Google is your friend and so is social media. If distance is a problem, video calls prove to be more accessible, save time, and are not restricted by location so you could be teaching anywhere and still bring an author into your classroom.

  8. Make it an event

    Schools have even partnered with other institutions to create international film festivals for book trailers, but you don’t need to organize a festival to have an impact. Finding a name for your community of student readers, a visual identity and maybe a hashtag for Twitter updates can be enough to get things started.

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