Indiana Reading Journal Volume 44 Issue 1 - Page 44

Critical analysis without action seems to keep us in the same place as when we started. In other words, it is the action piece, doing something with what we discover through critical analysis of text, that helps us to participate differently in the world (Vasquez, 2010, p. 17).

Creating, according to the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, is placed at the highest level of higher-order learning (Anderson, 2009). VoiceThread provides opportunities to create social projects within a critical literacy unit to combine images, drawings, and texts to support real world outcomes. Past research has shown children’s writings and drawings as fundamental for developing critical literacy with elementary students (see: Comber, Thomson, & Wells, 2001).

For example, in this VoiceThread posted publically (see:, first grade students use VoiceThread to publish a class book advocating for social justice. This VoiceThread tells the story of a former lost boy, James Lubo, who spent his childhood in refugee camps before invited to become a United States Citizen. The class social action project serves to support “Raising South Sudan,” within the nonprofit organization, Mothering Across Continents (see: This organization advocates for education by building schools in South Sudan for children affected by the South Sudanese Civil War. Students worked to not only raise awareness of this global need, but also use VoiceThread as a medium for fundraising for this cause. See Figure 7 for a snapshot of this VoiceThread project.

Figure 7:

Give it a try! To design a social action project, consider your current curriculum topics. Topics studied in class can serve as the catalyst for positive social change. Work with your students to select a problem to address that is relevant, meaningful, and based on students’ interests. Develop an action plan, which will allow your class to actively support the cause. Use VoiceThread as a medium to increase awareness, advocate for the cause, or share your story of social impact upon completion of the project.

Final Thoughts

In sum, this article hopes to not only highlight, but also inspire strong examples of VoiceThread to support both state standards and HOTS. VoiceThread can be utilized to add voice to students’ created projects, distributing rich content to an audience limited only by an Internet connection. This online tool allows students to take ownership and share a deep understanding of published work to foster literacy development, thus enhancing the educational experience.