Even when students can read, do they always understand? That is the concern of EDC’s literacy experts, who are exploring the use of technology in boosting three key aspects of reading comprehension: identifying themes, sorting information, and connecting ideas.
“Technology alone is not enough to improve student achievement,” says EDC’s Judith Zorfass. “It should be intertwined with best teaching practices, with an eye on student needs and curriculum goals.” She and her colleagues recently contributed to a Web-based discussion, or Webinar, on that issue.
They focused on ways that teachers can help students, particularly those with learning problems, develop content area reading skills by linking research-based instructional strategies with technology tools. For instance, one software program gives students the ability to highlight, copy, and move text, and make an outline, enabling students to read a complex article and summarize it in their own words.
“Literacy goes beyond decoding text—we must look at how the reading is interpreted and what is comprehended,” says Karen Clay, who participated along with Elizabeth Fideler.
The Webinar was a collaboration of the U.S. Department of Education’s Center for Implementing Technology in Education, and Don Johnston Incorporated. EDC’s work with three different technological tools was profiled during the session.
Originally published on April 30, 2007