Extending the Literature Curriculum with
New Literacies of the Internet

Facilitators from The University of Connecticut:
Jill Castek, Julie Coiro, Laurie Henry and Melissa McMullan

Garda Elementary School, Region 10
Harwinton Elementary School, Region 10
October 18, 2004
Middle School and High School
Reading Comprehension
Avoiding Plagiarism
January and March, 2005

Children's Literature Ideas  |   Comprehension and Critical Thinking

Learning with the Internet

** Learning Focus:
How might one of these three integration models
(Author Study, Internet Project, Progressive Stories)
fit with your curriculum so that it impacts student literacy learning??
Author Study
The Internet has become a great source of information about a great many children's writers and illustrators. The websites listed here include authors' personal websites and websites maintained by fans, scholars, and readers.

Other Resources:
Elementary Authors on the Web
Scholastic Author Studies
Author Study Resources
Author Studies Month by Month

Related Readings for follow-up study:
Author Study Overview or
(download pdf)
Preparing to do Author Studies (slide show)
Internet Project
Internet project engages students in classrooms at different locations in collaborative work to solve a common problem or explore a common topic. As a result, Internet Project helps children acquire skills in collaborative problem-solving, information collection, and communication. 

Related Readings for follow-up study:

Leu, D. J., Jr. (2001). Internet project: Preparing students for new literacies in a global village Reading Online. [Article reprinted from The Reading Teacher, 54, 568-585].

Ruddell, M.R. (2000, July). lessons worth learning: Student engagement, literacy, and project-based learning. Reading Online, 4(1).

Casey, J. (2001, October). Technology empowers reading and writing of young children. Reading Online, 5(3).

Related Interviews with Classroom Teachers

Progressive Stories
The Internet gives students a whole new way to learn how to write. Technology makes it easy to promote and encourage literacy. It gives students an authentic purpose for their writing and opens the classroom doors.  It makes the world their classroom!

Related Readings for follow-up study:

Karchmer, R.A. (2001, May). Gaining a new, wider audience: Publishing student work on the Internet. Reading Online, 4(10).

Diaute, C. (2000). Writing and Communication Technologies, An Excerpt.  Reading Online.

Related Interviews
Teaching with the Internet
Instructional Resources

Related Research-Based Articles for Follow-up Discussion and Study (from Reading Online)

Critical Thinking and Reading Comprehension
on the Internet

(Download pdf file of handout)

Presented at various locations either by
Julie Coiro, Melissa McMullan, and Jill Castek

** Learning Focus:

A. How might these Internet reading challenges impact the way I teach
     reading comprehension?
B. What can I do in my classroom to prepare readers for these

Portions of this presentation were adapted from Coiro, J. (2003).  Rethinking comprehension strategies to better prepare students for critically evaluating content on the Internet.  New England Reading Association Journal, 39, 29-34.  (download pdf)

Where are we headed today?
  • How is comprehension different now and why does it matter?
  • How are we learning about these differences?
  • What comprehension challenges do students face when reading on the Internet?
  • How can we best prepare our students and their teachers from these challenges?
What is reading comprehension on the Internet?
  • The ability to read, understand, interpret and respond to information in multiple formats and multiple mediums that is created by and for multiple audiences.
  • New literacies: the ability to successfully USE and ADAPT to rapidly changin technologies in ways that allow us to identify important problems, locate, critically evaluate and synthesize information and then communicate the solutions to others.
How is comprehension different?
  • Traditional informational text in books:
    • written in a familiar textbook format
    • pass through several editing processes
    • finite amount of information is bound within the covers of a book
    • images and related information is designed primarily for the purposes of informing or elaborating
  • Internet texts present several distinct and new challenges for readers...
    • little consistency in the formatting of information
    • little quality control
    • the amount of information is unbound and overwhelming
    • much of the information is out-of-date or not updated
    • digital manipulation is a popular form of deception
    • information is intertwined with social, economic and political agendas
How are we learning about the different comprehension demands required online?
  • By listening to and watching kids!
    • think alouds
    • interviews
    • Camtasia recordings
    • Instant messaging
    • New task scenarios
    • New forms of assessment
Three areas of challenge and related instructional strategies
  • Using effective search terms (querying search engines)
  • Reading search engine results
  • Reading within web pages
Challenges for Using Effective Search Terms
  • Do I search or browse?
  • Do I use natural language or shorter phrases?
  • Are some keywords/phrases better than others for getting fewer but more meaningful results?
  • What if I can't spell the word I need?
Challenges when Reading Search Results
  • What's a website, what's a category and who's Earl and Jeeves?
  • Are the results in any special order?
  • What clues do the words after the link give me?
  • Is there an advantage to using one search engine instead of another?
Challenges when Reading Within Websites?
  • What is the structure of the website?
  • How does hypertext link ideas differently than sequential pages in a book?
  • Where is the information I need on a certain page?
  • Who created the website and for what purpose?
Summary and Implications
  • "The definition of literacy has expanded from traditional notions of reading and writing to include the ability to learn, comprehend and interact with technology in a  meaningful way." (Selfe, 2001)
  • New literacies are required to use the Internet to ask important questions, locate, evaluate, synthesize, and communicate to others solutions to learning tasks and authentic problems (Leu, Kinzer, Coiro & Cammack, 2004).
  • Effective reading and comprehension instruction MUST include strategies and supported experiences for exploring, understanding, and adapting to the constant changes that take place on the Internet....for students AND for teachers.
  • We must be open to new ways of thinking about instruction, professional developmeng and the assessment of reading comprehension. 
  • Only then can we expect students to (a) select Internet technologies that enhance comprehension; (b) ignore those that detract from their understanding; and (c) interact with online texts in ways that are efficient, effective and meaningful. 

Preventing Plagiarism with the Internet
Presented by Laurie Henry

Focus Question: How might plagiarism from the Internet impact the way you teach?  What can you do to prevent your students from plagiarizing when conducting research?

Learning about URL's:
  • .net: Internet access provider
  • .gov: government agency
  • .org: non-government/non-profit organization
  • .edu: educational (ac for academic in the UK)
  • .com: commercial organizaiton (co in the UK)
  • .mil: military
  • .biz: commercial business
Additional Resources from the Presentation:

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