Literacy and Computers (page 2)
The use of computer clip art can serve as a motivational springboard for a struggling reader or writer. A fifth grader tutored at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Literacy Development Center read at his grade level but was a very reluctant writer. His tutor introduced him to the idea of using clip art on the Center’s computer to recreate the scenes from the book he was reading. Once he discovered this activity, which allowed him to use his visualizations to produce a representation of the setting, his motivation to write the accompanying summary increased dramatically.
The student, who was reading My Side of the Mountain with his tutor, would painstakingly recreate a scene as described by the author. Knowing that he would have the opportunity to use the computer also motivated him to read carefully for details of the setting and actions of the plot. After creating the scene to his satisfaction, he would then write a summary of the story to accompany it.
The Power of Literacy and Computers for Struggling Readers
Struggling readers are often as limited in their use of classroom computers as they are in other literacy activities. Their peers are able to use the classroom computer for research, communication, reading, and writing. The struggling reader is often unable to conduct research on the computer because the accessed information is written at or above grade level. The struggling reader, who is often a struggling writer, requires constant monitoring or assistance in composing an electronic communication, as well as reading back any received response. Using clip art to represent responses to literature:
- Provides a format for the student to work independently on the computer
- Connects reading and writing
- Provides a motivational spark
Steps to Follow
- Preview the available clip art and application features on your classroom computer.
- Provide time for the struggling readers to become familiar with this computer function.
- Read a book with your students and then model the creation of illustrations of the setting and characters using a clip art program. Complete the process by composing with them a few sentences that accompany the illustrations, while summarizing the storyline of the book.
- Monitor struggling readers as they complete the same process with a book read either independently or in a guided reading lesson.
- Add this computer component to the repertoire of motivational strategies available for use by your struggling readers.
Using Literacy and Computers with English Language Learners
The clip art activity fits well with other strategies we use with students who are learning English, along with all other curriculum areas. It is common for teachers of ELL students to show posters or pictures of things they want to make more meaningful for their students. Realia is often present in an ELL classroom. If you are reading a story that mentions a pomegranate, then bring a pomegranate into the classroom. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what the “real thing” must be worth. Whether you have an artistic side yourself or not, you will often find yourself drawing pictures on your whiteboard, even if stick figures is the best you can do, to make something real for your ELL students. The use of the clip art activity is one more strategy to help increase the understanding, vocabulary, and motivation of your English language learners.
© ______ 2006, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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