The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 3 - Page 50

New! Added Benefit of the Write to Learn Conference!

If you are an MSC-IRA member and you register for the 2015 Write to Learn Conference, your name will automatically be entered in a drawing for:

A teacher in each grade level will win 25 books for their classroom. So what are you waiting for? Register today!


Cheri Gump

Free Books for Your Classroom





As described by Calvert, literacy stations are ideal spaces to embed new literacies and 21st-century knowledge and skills. For example, digital texts, tablets, audio recorders, apps, and websites may be materials that students use within literacy stations. Moreover, literacy stations are ideal workspaces for students to utilize technology at a transformative level. At the transformative level, students use technology as tools to develop comprehension and 21st-century skills simultaneously (see Table 2).

Establish, Embrace, and Respect Multiculturalism

New technologies provide early childhood educators with a multitude of ways to foster literacy environments that support multiculturalism. Students may now use a variety of digital tools to conduct research, present their findings, and access resources that reinforce their literacy skills (Moore & Grisham, 2015). Likewise, early childhood educators may use technology to retrieve resources to facilitate learning, supplement instruction, and connect students to the world beyond the classroom. Incorporating new technologies during literacy instruction enables early childhood educators to build students’ 21st-century knowledge and skills, such as global awareness, collaboration, critical thinking skills, communication, problem solving, and information fluency (The University of Houston, 2016b).

Price-Dennis, Holmes, and Smith (2015) described three specific practices for early childhood educators to infuse digital practices as part of their literacy instruction to create “expansive ways of learning” with “more problem-posing innovative instructional practices” (pp. 204-205). First, early childhood educators should incorporate technology as a way to establish a community where students view themselves and each other as both learners and teachers. Within this collaborative community, students may use technology to create and share information with podcasts, apps (e.g., Flipboard), and websites (e.g., Bitstrips). Another practice for early childhood educators is to use technology as a vehicle that makes the curriculum accessible to all students. For example, while working cooperatively in a literature circle, students may use digital tools, such as Corkulous, to organize collective knowledge and create successive visual representations. Finally, early childhood educators should link real-world technological platforms with academic goals. Through these technological platforms, early childhood educators should provide students with access to an authentic audience with whom they may share their learning while also engaging as active participants with relevant social issues.

Technology affords early childhood teachers with the ability to support students’ development of 21st-century knowledge and skills that are “more explicit in their inclusion in core content, incorporating real world problems to bring them into focus for students” (The University of Houston, 2016a). This approach to literacy instruction develops students’ skills associated with reasoning, analyzing, evaluating, examining, assessing, synthesizing, distinguishing, interpreting, solving, identifying, and reflecting. Although these skills are not novel to literacy instruction, digital tools promote students’ ability to engage in thinking more deeply, collaborate, and solve problems.

White (2015) described how engaging students with creating screencasts, which are recordings of think alouds during reading, developed their metacognitive awareness, as well as provided students with opportunities to share how they read with others. Students first created their screencasts with websites, such as Jing and Screencast-o-matic, while reading online informational texts. Then, these screencasts served as tutorial clips for others, such as their peers, teachers, and parents. Knowing there was an authentic audience motivated students to think more deeply about the production of their screencasts.

In this same manner, Coiro (2015) described three ways in which early childhood educators use digital tools to cultivate deeper thinking among students:


P: Present Situations for Learners to Think Deeply, Collaborate, and Solve Problems