About Julie Coiro
Technology & Literacy:
Supporting the Diverse Needs of Students
at the Secondary Level, Grades 7-12

Presented by Julie Coiro
Literacy Initiative Professional Development Series at SERC
December 15, 2003

Back to SERC Sessions, 2002-2003

Today we'll be exploring the following topics:
  1. Exploring Current Literacy Needs and Hopes for Technology
  2. Metacognitive Strategies of Proficient Readers
  3. Transforming Text to Provide Access for All Readers
  4. What's Coming: Computer-Supported Reading Environments
  5. Enhancing Traditional Comprehension Activities with Technology

Introductory Activity:
Literacy Needs and Hopes for Technology
As we begin, please take a moment to consider...
  • What are your students' current literacy needs?
  • How are you hoping your students will grow and change as readers/writers through their use of electronic tools/technology?
  • How are you hoping electronic texts will meet the needs of your diverse readers?   

Metacognitive Strategies of Proficient Readers
Why Useful
Demonstrating Use of Strategy
1. Activate prior knowledge help recall  That reminds me of…
It made me think of…
I read another book where…
This is different from…
2. Determine the most important ideas help focus The most important ideas are…
So far, I have learned that…
Based on my knowledge of…
3. Ask questions of themselves, the authors and the texts they read help clarify I wonder…
I was confused when…
4. Create visual, auditory or other sensory connections help deepen understanding I visualized…
I could see (smell, hear, taste)…
I could picture…
5. Draw inferences help make critical judgements and make unique interpretations I’m guessing that…
I predict…
It would be better if…
I really liked how…
If I were the main character…
What I didn’t like was…
6. Retell or synthesize help understand clearly Now I understand that…
I have learned that…
This gives me an idea…
7. Use fix-up strategies when   comprehension breaks down help to be an independent reader I tried these fix-up strategies…
I reread that because…
A part I had difficulty with…
Keene, Ellin & Zimmerman, Susan (1997). Mosaic of Thought: Teaching Comprehension in a Reader’s Workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Summary of Seven Essential Comprehension Strategies (see handout)
1. Making Connections
2. Determining Important Ideas
3. Asking questions
4. Visualizing
5. Inferring
6. Synthesizing
7. Repairing Comprehension

What can computers contribute to the teaching of reading?  (see handout)
1. Varied methods of presentation
2. Varied options for expression
3. Varied options for meeting needs for challenge and support

Transforming Text for At-Risk Readers  
(Anderson-Inman & Horney, 1998)  (see handout)
  • Supported text
  • Examples
  • Three Components of Supported Text
    • presentation of text
    • keys
    • resources
  • Future questions...don't just believe me

Computer Supported Reading Environments 

CAST's Thinking Reader

For the past three years, in a project funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, CAST has been investigating how to build a computer-supported reading environment that scaffolds students' ability to read for understanding.  The project is based on the reciprocal teaching method that uses four strategies - summarizing, predicting, questioning, and clarifying - to help students engage in a dialogue about their reading and become active participants in their learning. 

Let's take a look at some of the supports that this software offers to challenge and support readers as they interact with text. 

  • accessibility features (text-to-speech, glossary, etc.) 
  • instructional strategies embedded within authentic literature
  • prompts like during guided reading (ask questions, predict, visualize, summarize)
  • varied levels of support to meet various needs
"Support the learner rather than simplify the dilemma."
Jonassen & Land (2000) Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments

What are the results

  • Learners are more engaged with texts than students with no computer support
  • Learners are motivated and interested when given different flexible supports
  • Learners appreciate being in control of how much support they receive & how to respond
You can read more about CAST's Thinking Reader Software and in the article Curriculum Access in the Digital Age which describes the program and it's use with middle school students.

  Exploring Web-Based Possibilities
for Supported Reading Environments