Teaching Reading in the Digital Age

Reading has always been an invaluable skill, and with literacy becoming more digital, educators must start looking into how they can teach this foundational skill in a new digital age.

With the explosion of social media applications, learners engage more with written language than ever before. Although this should be a success of sorts, the readings might not always foster critical reading skills or challenge its readers with new vocabulary. This can be accomplished using digital libraries. Learners as young as three are being encouraged to read by using digital resources that both push literacy skills as much as they do other technological literacies. 

Educators need to understand that although curriculum set books are important, giving learners the free will to select books that interest them inculcates a passion for reading. If learners enjoy what they read, they will form a positive relationship with the content and see reading as a gateway to info.

In high school, close reading has become the new currency by which reading programs and instruction are being measured. If learners in the digital age meet this requirement, they need more than digital libraries. Educators need to see the benefits that tech can bring to teaching reading and how forcing a kid to sit and read a novel is not effective. Below are some ways that the digital can be integrated into teaching reading:

  • The use of online vocabulary lists to help learn new words
  • Hyperlinking complex words with explanatory resources
  • Use of e-readers to read e-books
  • Using quizzes and fun games to test vocab retention
  • Education technology that enables for live feedback into reading achievements

All the above suggestions have this in common: they traditionally combine “book reading” with the resources and benefits of the internet and tech. Learners need to feel that the reading they do (whether it be an article online or a post about a celebrity) is valuable. Through academia, they can better understand and question their reading and the literature they encounter in the classroom.

Another way that educators can approach teaching reading is by using analytical tools to monitor how learners read. By understanding learners’ reading habits, speed, and comprehension, educators can better understand where problems lie and differentiate their teaching to best suit the needs of their learners. 

Previously, this was very difficult to judge, and educators had no other assessment tools other than making the learner read aloud. The digital age gives learners control over their own reading while enabling educators to follow and jump in where needed.

So, as we move into a digital age, teaching practices need to reflect the benefits that come with tech. Education technology is being developed to meet these challenges, and through its use, learners can feel validated in their selections and can foster a passion for literacy. Educators need to move away from archaic literacy methods and start to incorporate the skills that learners already have with the new ones they are acquiring. After all, you need to thank an educator if you could read this article.

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