How to teach Literacy to Elementary students successfully with ICT?

How to teach literacy to elementary students?

By Michael Hilkemeijer


The world of communication, literacy, and education is changing. Today, we live in a society defined by the production and flow of information on an unprecedented scale.


For us as educators, we have no choice about inhabiting this technological environment. ICT stands in interesting relation to literacy. One of the most important contributions that ICT can make to supporting learning with literacy is that of helping teachers provide students with resources that allow them to focus on the specific learning objectives for a lesson and avoid getting bogged down in other issues.


Literacy with ICT also carries with it the inevitability of extending the definition of literacy into a model of literacy which acknowledges that literacy is a dynamic concept that extends beyond the basic acquisition of reading and writing skills.


As a teacher, you are encouraged to be confident in your use of ICT to become pedagogically adventurous in your approach to schooled literacy. However, without literacy training for teachers, the use of ICT adds little to literacy development.


The way in which technology affects literacy teaching and learning are literally changing classrooms. This unprecedented rate of change, which will grow increasingly more rapid, points to new directions in teaching.


Our K-5 literacy workshops for teachers that is available as a member of the ICT in Education Teacher Academy focuses on more than the technologies themselves. As it is never the technology that makes an impact on literacy learning but the strategies that are employed they focus on developing your digital pedagogy in literacy teaching with ICT in primary education and will enable you to make decisions about whether and how ICT might enhance literacy learning for students in your classroom.


If you teach literacy with ICT then you can use these measures to determine which students need support and what kind of support they need.


Foundation literacy training for teachers 

You will learn how to make sound instructional decisions when teaching literacy with ICT by employing strategies in your daily literacy lessons at critical times for early childhood 


Provide Intervention

It is critical to respond in a timely fashion to potential learning difficulties indicated in formative assessment results. Well-planned, purposeful activity and appropriate intervention by you will engage students in the learning process and help them make progress in their learning.


English learners at risk for reading problems benefit from the following additional instruction:

  • Daily small group instruction of 30-50 minutes
  • Direct, explicit instruction that is fast-paced and engaging and offers frequent opportunities for students to respond and participate in short practice activities.
  • Frequent review of skills.
  • Clear, corrective feedback to student errors.
  • Adequate wait time for student response.
  • Attention to the five core reading elements (phonological awareness, decoding, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency).

(Source: Reading Rockets)


An intervention which extends the moment of learning by introducing an ICT extension activity can be very powerful and effective. This requires you to be aware of all the different ICT possibilities available.


Additionally, it will also require you to take full advantage of the intrinsic motivation, which is provided by ICT resources, which can engross students and take their learning to a higher level.


I often encourage teachers in their planning to consider the current level of student ICT capability. Today, even in those settings that are rich in ICT resources, only a few students engage in the use of ICT fully, and you may even notice that some may already miss out on ICT activities all together. This could be caused by children coming into the setting with various levels of ICT capability and their confidence and home experience may be a part of this.


The timely intervention of you as the teacher is critical not only in developing literacy but in supporting the development of students’ technical skills and knowledge of ICT. So it is important to monitor their work frequently in order to make decisions about when intervention will be effective.


ICT activities will only be of any value if you notice, value, encourages and develop their use.



Year 1 Literacy training for teachers with ICT Instructional Course


Teach Vocabulary

It is important to provide extensive and varied vocabulary instruction throughout the day. With the inclusion of ICT activities to extend literacy learning there are opportunities for you to teach technical vocabulary as well.


An idea would be to challenge them to use appropriate vocabulary in their responses.


Another idea would be when you are planning and drafting shared writing and going to develop it further through revising and editing it, you can use an ICT resource such as an IWB to record their contributions and give vocabulary choices along with drafting sentences.


In relation to use of the Internet, students can be exposed to different vocabulary from other countries in terms of the spelling of words. You can make explicit the differences and discuss these with children.


It is recommended that instruction that:

  • focuses on a limited number (8-10) of target words each week;
  • provides multiple exposures of target words in varied contexts;
  • uses student-friendly definitions;
  • makes active use of words in meaningful contexts; and
  • includes regular review.

(Source: Reading Rockets)


Year 2 Literacy training for teachers with ICT Instructional course



Peer learning

From supporting their peers with technical difficulties to joining forces to develop multimedia presentations, students are actively engaged in meaningful conversations within the context of literacy with ICT learning.


If you have a highly interactive classroom, you will find that student modelling will at times take the place of teacher modelling, as knowledgeable students support their peers’ learning. Student thinking-aloud can be an effective alternative to teacher thinking aloud, as students are frequently interested by what their peers have to say.


This can be very beneficial to other students who hear the think-aloud as they take the time to verbalise the thought process that is driving their reading strategies and understanding of text.


For you as a teacher, you can learn a lot about students’ cognitive processing when they engage in think-alouds they navigate and read texts.


Effective partner work includes:

  • Clear instructional activities planned in advance and based on material that has been taught.
  • Procedures and routines for working in pairs taught by the teacher in advance of peer work.
  • Members of pairs who differ in reading ability or English proficiency.
  • Peers working together approximately 90 minutes per week in reading and language practice.

(Source: Reading Rockets)


Year 3 Literacy training for teachers


Ensure that you priorities the literacy objectives

When integrating technology in literacy instruction it is essential that the learning objectives overshadow those for ICT capability. Students should become so focused on using ICT as a tool to achieve other outcomes that they hardly notice that they are using ICT itself. This is the ultimate aim in the development of ICT capability.


You should constantly monitor the way the students are solving problems and doing the tasks so that you are able to show them new or more efficient methods of using ICT to achieve learning outcomes.


Year 4 literacy training for teachers



Become a change Agent

If you integrate technology into your literacy instruction then you support these current teaching beliefs and practices.


Through successful literacy-technology integration, your role will change and will become more important, not less, in new literacies classrooms. Doing so will enable you to realise the great potential and possibilities for student learning afforded by new technologies.


To be an agent of change means to be proactive in determining how the change effects students and strategic in managing change.


Even with very few resources at their disposal teachers can act as change agents.


Being a change agent is about who you are as a teacher, what you believe about teaching, and what you do on a daily basis in your classroom and for your literacy professional development.


Be effective in your decision making by embracing the idea that new technologies offer new possibilities, both for teaching and for student learning.


Year 5 literacy training for teachers

Gain instant access to all our literacy workshops for teachers as a member of our ICT in Education Teacher Academy for just $50 Aud per month (cancel anytime).