Literacy & Technology

Using New Literacies and Technologies in Elementary Reading

Background & Information

Academic Honesty Statement

I have read and understand the UTA Academic Honesty clause as follows. “Academic dishonesty is a completely unacceptable mode of conduct and will not be tolerated in any form at The University of Texas at Arlington. All persons involved in academic dishonesty will be disciplined in accordance with University regulations and procedures. Discipline may include suspension or expulsion from the University. “Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts.” (Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Part One, Chapter VI, Section 3, Subsection 3.2., Subdivision 3.22).”

My Background

I am currently teaching 2nd Grade ELAR and moving to 4th Grade ELAR the next school year. I am certified in the areas of EC-4th Generalist, ESL EC-12th, and SPED EC-12th. I would like to add Reading Specialist to my certifications once I have completed my course work.

This handout is based off an important topic in the literacy classroom today. Many teachers struggle with how to use technology to make it beneficial for all. It is important that we as teachers move forward with the times and that we use research based practices in our classrooms. This handout will show you what research says & how we can use technology in the literacy classroom.


  • After reading this hand-out, educators will be able to share with others the ways they use technology.

  • After reading this hand-out, educators will be able to understand why it is important to use technology as a teaching & learning tool in the classroom.

  • After reading this hand-out, educators will be able to create products in an app or website to share with students.

  • After reading this hand-out, educators will be able to explore different ways to use technology for student use.

  • After reading this hand-out, educators will be able to implement the use of technology in the classroom.

Section I: Research Suggests...

In an article by Kristin Ziemke, "Balancing Text and Tech" she suggest that, "we should give students’ both print and digital texts and teach them to navigate each effectively." We live in a world that is always evolving with technology. The word technology “refers to tools, equipment, or techniques” that go along with the changing times (Karen McLean, 2013). The technology of yesterday was a book and a pencil. Today we have computers, iPad's, e-readers and much more. The students’ of today are "digital natives" (Alexandra Gustad, 2014). In order for us to move forward we must be part of the learning that takes place when using technology. Research suggest that through the collaboration of student created "web pages, and projects that students are able to have a variety of sources, and share their learning with an audience" (Mary Kruel, 2011). Students are able to experience real-world learning. In order to allow our students’ to be ready for tomorrow’s careers, students’ need to learn and have real-world work experiences. These student-centered collaborative experiences allow students’ to see literacy in a different light. We can use the "tools" of today to create a more student-centered, collaborative literacy environment.

Small group instruction or collaboration groups are a hot topic today. In the literacy classroom we want students’ to talk about their reading in a meaningful way. We want their understanding of text to go much deeper than just reading a book

and skimming the surface in a whole-group discussion. Research suggest that "small-group, student directed discussions of literature can increase comprehension, engagement, and critical thinking skills." Small-group discussions is not without its problems. As teachers we know that we have the shy students, those who goof off, and those who avoid doing class work. The use of technology has changed the way that

students’ are able to collaborate and respond to literature. Teachers have been using e-texts, electronic journals, threaded discussion groups, and real-time online chats. Scholars cite, "increased engagement and motivation" because technology was integrated (Genya Coffey, 2011). As educators and parents we can make use of technology to create a positive literacy environment. Through the use of technology as a tool, we are able to reach students’ who are shy, or tend to goof off during “old school” small-group discussions about literature.

Teacher Tips

1. Use online read alouds like storylineonline.

2. Read from a Kendal or book on an iPad.

3. Have students use an iPad app in a work station to create summaries (educreations app).

4. Have Students create presentations on a text they read using technology.

5. Use Epic for student research.

6. Do not lose sight on teaching objective.

7. Use technology as a tool to aid learning

8. In cooperate the old tools with the new.

9. Teach digital responsibility.

10. Allow students to share their work on social media. This gives them an audience.

Parent Tips

1. Use an iPad or Kendal to read at bedtime.

2. Ask your child's teacher what apps or technology they are using in the classroom.

3. Connect with other parents who know how to use technology.

4. Monitor your child when using technology.

5. Teach online safety.

Section II: Useful Links

Further Reading

In the March/April 2016 journal The Reading Teacher, there is an article, Unite For Literacy by Marla Mallette & Diane Barone that I would suggest reading. It is an interview with Mark Condon. Mark is the vice president of Unite for Literacy. He discusses how they work hard to create access to "relevant books in the home" in order to create a love of reading. This is a great resource for the digital age.

In the same journal listed above I found another article, Personal Inquiry and Online Research by Coiro, Castek, David J. Quinn. This article supports how a teacher can go about using technology to connect learners to inquire, collaborate, create, and reflect. There is a framework that is put in place called Personal Digital Inquiry or PDI. This is great for any teacher who is getting started with online collaborative tools and inquiry.

In the Reading Research Quarterly of April/May/June 2016 there is a great article, Transcultural Digital Literacies: Cross-Border Connections and Self-Representations in an online Forum. In this article it describes how kids are interacting and learning from each other in informal settings. Technology is the norm for kids. They are reaching out in more ways to expand their learning. We need to grasp an understanding of the different ways our students are learning and bring that into the classroom.


Coffey, G. (2012). Literacy and technology: Integrating technology with small group, peer-led discussions of literature. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 4(2), 395-405. Retrieved from

Gustad, A. R. (2014). The impact of technology tools on literacy motivation on elementary school english language learners: Podcasting in a 4th grade EAL class. The International Schools Journal, 34(1), 75-84. Retrieved from

Mary Kreul (2001). New tools for teaching and learning: Connecting literacy and technology in a second grade classroom, Reading Research and instruction, 40:3,225-232, DOI: 10.1080/19388070109558345

McLean, K. (2013). Literacy and technology in the early years of education : Looking to the familiar to inform educator practice. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 38(4), 30-41.

Ziemeke, K. (2016). Balancing Text and Tech. Literacy Today, 33(4), 32-33.