George Lucas Educational Foundation

Join our Forest of Technology: Promote and Enhance Literacy with Tech!

Join our Forest of Technology: Promote and Enhance Literacy with Tech!

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Forest of Technology

This year, we have a special site to connect teachers, students and authors for literacy learning and comprehension! Connecting literacy and tried and true strategies with opportunities that use technology to create deep learning opportunities.

Check out our site:

The enjoyment of reading is essential to developing strong and effective readers. Educators foster a love of reading when we allow learners to read and connect with the forms and functions of literacy that are relevant to our world right now is important.

I think that the very least we can do as educators is to provide a balance of enjoyable reading materials.

What can we do to make reading fun?? If students do not like anything they read, how can we expect them to become good readers? What instructional strategies can we implement to promote effective reading practices?

Strategies for promoting literacy in fun ways:

1) Use fun programs that promote collaboration, connection and sharing of new and relevant literature! For instance, you can implement reading programs including the Forest of Reading Program, here’s why:

  • it provides choice – with 10 Silver Birch Express books, 10 Silver Birch novels, and 10 non-fiction books, there is ample choice for students.
  • each work has been chosen as the top literature written in Canada from the previous year.
  • over 200,000 students read these books all over Ontario each year. Now, it is easier to connect via social media to authors, illustrators, other educators and students in other schools, boards and even across Canada.

2) Provide different entry points for learning: ie the SAMR – when students know that their audience is bigger than the class and students, it is more motivating to modify and re-define traditional literacy tasks. Blogging is an excellent way to do promote collaboration and sharing!

3) Provide opportunities for connecting with other students outside of your own relationship with the students. Using Google Hangouts or Google Classroom are just 2 ways to connect!

4) Differentiate

When we teach reading for meaning, we need to differentiate with effective instructional strategies that address:

  • Awareness of and use appropriate print and information and communication technology to support student learning in reading.
  • Understanding and use researched-based strategies to create a learning environment that reflects the ethical standards and the standards of practice.
  • Comprehension strategies: activating, connecting to background knowledge, asking questions, making inferences, visualizing, determining importance, summarizing and synthesizing information.

5) Allow for Inquiry Based Learning Opportunities.

Inquiry is amazing because it also encompasses all of the previous 4 strategies! It promotes student choice and voice, it can make learning more fun, it facilitates differentiation, and fits quite nicely with the SAMR.

With all of this hard work we do to help our students become true readers, I figure that the least we can do is provide choice, provide reading materials that they want to read about. We can provide options for communicating about what we read. We can allow students to engage in the literacy process by engaging in the social practices that are meaningful to them, in the culture that is meaningful to them.

Literacy is all about developing a personal relationship with text. The better we are with literacy, the better we are able to engage in the world around us socially, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. We can help make the world more meaningful to our students by promoting literacy practices that are meaningful to them.

Literacy is about more than reading or writing – it is about how we communicate in society. It is about social practices and relationships, about knowledge, language and culture.

Join us this year as we use a Forest of Technology to connect students across Ontario and Canada with the Forest of Reading books from the Ontario Library Association!  

Our Goals are to inspire new literacy practices, connections that will continue beyond the beyond the Forest of Reading. Also check out our wiki at  


D. McCallum & M.Swift @ForestofTech @SCDSBbookclubs

Deborah McCallum

Copyright, 2014

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

I like the way you're thinking! I can see lots of opportunities here, and I wonder if there's a way to make the headings (Blue Spruce, etc) make sense for those of us who aren't familiar with these different awards? Even something as simple as a listing of the different reading levels represented in each category would help. I work with a number of small, rural schools in which there may be broad continuum of reading levels and interests. This could provide a larger community of readers for those kids who might otherwise feel isolated. Thanks so much!

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