“Today children can stream their favourite videos that teach phonics or play online games that help with phonemic awareness. They can even build their vocabulary through flashcard apps and entertaining songs. But how about learning all this and more in one easy-to-use program that personalizes learning based on the child’s needs? And dare we add the fun factor? That’s pretty much the premise behind Ooka Island, the “coolest reading app ever” according to Diane from Toronto Teacher Mom.
But beyond online games like Ooka Island, how else can technology motivate young learners and help them develop into good readers?
Technology can inspire
Technology can motivate children to take their learning off the screen and into their play. Does watching a show about animals inspire your child to build their habitat? Do they dramatize that they are solving a mystery? Or perhaps they get instruments and sing and dance to the theme songs from their favourite shows? When children take their learning off screen and into their lives, you know that the content has resonated with them. Their interest can be used to springboard into further reading and vocabulary activities to make learning meaningful.
Expand their knowledge
Good readers draw on their background knowledge of a subject and personal experiences to help them make meaning of what they are reading. Technology helps children to learn more about the world through watching videos about how things are made, to clips about animals, or even talking online to a relative. The more a child knows about the world, the more easily they’ll be able to navigate concepts found while reading.
Create their own media
Technology allows children to understand and take on the role of an author and illustrator using digital media. They can take photos and write captions underneath, they can dictate stories, or they can film themselves building their latest Lego creation while narrating the steps. Children can then share their works with their peers and watch others enjoy them. This helps them to learn the purpose of reading and writing.