Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Traditional literacy ideas and resources

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in March 2017 and is re-posted here with permission.

I have identified thirteen literacies I feel our students need to succeed.  One of the skillsets is the “traditional literacy skills” of reading and writing. Because March is  NEA’s “National Read Across America Month“, I thought I would concentrate on identifying resources for the traditional literacy skills of reading and writing.

Reading and Writing Non-Fiction

One of the students in my Wilkes University/Discovery Education Masters program, Lisa Francis, recently wrote the following:
In English, there is a great push on understanding non-fiction and difficult materials. There is also an emphasis on creating arguments and persuasive writing. I believe that students could embed media to understand these elements of reading and writing. For example, students could interview their peers on a non-fiction topic in order to make an argument or counter-argument. This exercise could eventually lead them to follow the same kind of structure in their writing, but it allows them to work with a medium they already know – technology and video.
One article dealing with the use of multimedia to support non-fiction reading is this one from Reading Rockets. In addition, Reading Rockets also offers a great overview of literacy instruction with digital and media technologies. The articles are older, but the main points are still very appropriate today.
Discovery has an online series called Spotlight on Strategies (SOS). These integration strategies provide the teacher with the background and implementation strategies, as well as a video, for teaching and learning across the content areas. Many of the SOS strategies are used by teachers in support of literacy, and teachers who are using them in unique ways are highlighted on the Discovery blog “My SOS Story“. Here are a few of those SOS stories that can help in the area of reading and writing non-fiction.

Science SOS:  The Question Is

The Question Is” is a teaching strategy that requires students to reverse the common order of question-and-answer. The teacher provides a content-related answer and students write a variety of questions that could work with the answer.
Sarah Yuska, a 7th and 8th grade science teacher, explains how she used this SOS strategy. “Students were asked to read a section in their textbook that outlines all of the functions of the organelles. It is a very dense section, and I knew the students would not be able to absorb all of the information in one evening. It can also be very confusing, especially for those students who have some differentiated learning needs. I knew if I could get them up and moving while trying to recall the information they read the night before, it might make more of an impact than sitting and taking notes.”

Science SOS: Six Word Story

The “Six Word Story” is a teaching strategy that allows students to practice summarizing and selective word choice. Students use an image or an article as the basis for a story that conveys a big idea using only six words.
Jen Cucchiarelli has her first grade students conduct bat research and then write a six word story. There is no better way to help students pick out the most important ideas than using this strategy!

ELA SOS: A-E-I-O-U and Half the Story

A-E-I-O-U” is a teaching strategy that asks students to interpret information from images or videos they have viewed and write down their thoughts next to five descriptive categories: A-E-I-O-U. Afterwards, students pair-share their favorite parts.
Half the Story” is a teaching strategy that uses images to encourage students to process information and make connections. The teacher zooms in on a selected image, to show only part of it, and asks students to make predictions about the topic of study and explain their reasoning.
Marvin Rainey, a PreK-3 school principal, uses various SOS strategies to engage students in reading. He states, after mentoring a first year teacher, “The students are smiling with excitement because the learning process is fun and filled with innovation.”

Interactive Online Traditional Literacy Resources

Karen Ogen, a DEN GURU, has a wonderful collection of interactive Web resources on her Interactive Sites for Education pages. These support many content areas for grades K-5, including reading and writing, which is found here:

The Read, Write, and Think site from NCTE, includes many interactive sites for grades K-12, in the areas of organizing and summarizing, inquiry and analysis, writing poetry, writing and publishing prose, and learning about language. These online interactive may be found here:

What are your go-to interactive Web resources to support reading and writing?  Share with us on Twitter! #kathyschrock