August 25, 2022
While students decidedly still need access to books, you may depend heavily on computers for literacy activities in your program. Here are some reminders about partnering with the school day to share resources, teaching internet safety to even your youngest students, and thinking critically about the websites they’ll visit.
Centering on Centers?
If your data tell you that literacy needs to be a high priority in your program, literacy centers can be a great approach. What’s more, devices can be a way to address lower-than-ideal staff-to-student ratios when you want to keep groups small.
- Start with Y4Y’s Literacy Activity Center Planner tool. It will help you think about how you’ll design centers to accommodate some use of computers or tablets for students to independently build literacy skills.
- Check out the Y4Y Literacy course and its full list of tools for more guidance on developing your specific activity goals.
- What familiar websites are going to be comfortable and user friendly for students? Has your district already done its due diligence in identifying the best literacy sources? Are they willing to share online subscriptions, given that you’re all serving the same students? Consult Y4Y’s Continuous Education course and its full list of tools if your leadership needs to get up to speed on forging and maintaining that partnership with school-day professionals.
- Y4Y also has developed a list of reputable online education sources, available in the Quality Online Education Resources tool.
Y4Y offers an entire Click & Go on digital literacy to further guide decisions about what online activities to offer and how to train students to use the internet safely and wisely.
- Leadership can use the Curriculum Resources tool to find important methods for improving digital literacy among students and staff.
- Be sure students understand two key aspects of using the internet wisely: Make sure the information source is reliable and protect yourself from bad actors. The Y4Y tools Guide for Spotting Misinformation and Disinformation and Digital Privacy Self-Assessment, respectively, are a place to start. But remember that for younger students, screening needs to be up to staff!
The Future of Using the Internet to Strengthen Literacy
The pandemic meant hitting the “fast forward” button on virtual learning. The planet was headed in that direction already, but my how that process sped up! Y4Y developed The Virtual Edge course to help 21st CCLC professionals continue to use virtual learning to their students’ advantage. But here’s a thinker: did you notice how many celebrities began to do online BOOK read-alouds during that time? Storyline Online is a great example. This was in recognition that when it comes to literacy, almost nothing compares to reading, or being read, a good old-fashioned book. So, as you continue to offer literacy activities on devices in your program, never forget the value of sitting in front of your students with a picture book in hand, doing all the funny voices and gestures that you can muster, and foster a lifelong love of reading.