Wolfpack WORKS coaches have been working diligently to deepen our understanding of digital learning and technology to support literacy instruction with our Wolfpack WORKS teachers through these unprecedented times in our schools. As defined in Wikipedia, digital learning is any type of learning that is accompanied by technology or by instructional practice that makes effective use of technology. It encompasses the application of a wide spectrum of practices including: blended and virtual learning. The use of digital tools help teachers to continue literacy instruction while enhancing student learning. Digital learning and technology can improve student learning experiences, save teachers time, allow teachers to better adapt learning to student needs, and provide parents with insights into their child’s learning.
How can we manage digital learning and technology to maximize literacy instruction? A recent webinar provided by the The University of Florida Literacy Institute titled, “Management Tips for Online Instruction” provided several suggestions for teaching reading virtually:
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1. Organizing for Instruction is having the tools you need for instruction handy. Teaching from home is quite different than being in the classroom in terms of the items you need to teach. If you are working from home, items such as whiteboards, letter cards, and pocket charts need to be organized in ways that can be easily accessed.
2. Planning for Online Instruction involves a combination of both explicit and systematic instruction. The difference between the two is detailed in the chart below:
3. Grouping for Instruction includes opportunities for whole-and small-group instruction. Whole-group reading instruction can be implemented synchronously. Consider activities that can be done synchronously with everyone participating actively. Activities with lots of manipulation might not work best for the whole group. Phonics lessons may work best for small groups because teachers can work more closely with students to get to know their strengths, identify gaps in their foundational skills, and tailor instruction using various hands-on manipulatives to meet the needs of the small groups. Reading assessments, intensive interventions, and providing accommodations should be implemented one-on-one.
Managing remote literacy instruction can take some time for both teachers and students to adjust to during these unprecedented times. More information on managing virtual literacy instruction can be viewed in the six-part series on Teaching Reading Online. For another great resource, be sure to check out NCDPI Digital Learning NC.
We hope this blog post gave you some helpful starting points for your remote literacy instruction. We are here to help and support one another during the weeks and months ahead!
Carrol Miller and Dana Melton
Wolfpack WORKS Literacy Coaches