How can an interactive whiteboard be used to improve literacy?

Sunday, January 10th, 2010 | IWBs

The inability to read is one of the greatest problems that education is facing – children simply can’t read with comprehension.  And when they can’t read, they battle with the rest of their schoolwork.  Learning resources given to learners – including textbooks and the internet – are wasted on them if they can’t read and understand what they are reading.

An interactive whiteboard is a perfect tool to help you to improve the literacy rate of your learners.  It allows you to engage in a variety of activities, which will improve their reading skills.  Talk to your peers or look on the internet for ideas, and let your interactive whiteboard – and your imagination – do the rest.

The look-say-cover-write-check method is used by many teachers with great success to teach learners to recognize words and word patterns.  This can be done with boards and cards, but an interactive whiteboard makes the process much easier.  With little effort you can prepare an activity which will allow you to do the following:

  • Write a word on the board and allow learners to look at it.
  • Say the word aloud to the learners.  Let them repeat the word aloud.
  • Cover the word.  Most interactive whiteboards come with software that allows you to slide a colored strip over the word to hide it.
  • Let the learners write the word – if you are teaching an individual or a small group of learners, the word can be written on the interactive whiteboard – otherwise let them write the word in their workbooks.
  • Reveal the word by sliding the cover away.  Let the learners check if the word they wrote down is correct.

Difficult?  Not at all.  In fact, it is very simple.  And that is the power of the interactive whiteboard – it makes activities which can have extraordinary results simple to perform.  With a board in your classroom you can repeat this activity throughout the day, whenever appropriate – in this way literacy training becomes a part of your daily activities.

The unique features of an interactive whiteboard, such as drag-and-drop, hide-and-reveal, and allowing touch interactivity, make this device an ideal tool to improve literacy.

Do you have any literacy tips that you would like to share with us?

Click here for more information about interactive whiteboards.

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6 Comments to How can an interactive whiteboard be used to improve literacy?

Sunday, 10 January, 2010

Our company does a bit of research in the education sector from time to time and one of the things that we see quite a lot is that many teachers still don’t see technology as an “enabler” when they put together their curriculums and lessons.

In fact many teachers – and not necessarily only older teachers – don’t rush to find ways to use things like blogging, internet, white boards etc to help add value to their lessons.

In quite a few cases there are one or two teachers who have become “the IT people” in the school and the rest have blinkers on them – and this includes many private schools, not just old fashioned, under resourced govt. schools.

Another bizarre discovery I made last year is that there are “decent” govt. schools in Gauteng where the school does not give them access to an e-mail address or occasional internet access – how does the teacher ever better themselves if they have to depend on their own resources the whole time?

Sunday, 10 January, 2010

Children MUST learn to read fluently during the Foundation Phase, otherwise the rest of their schooling will be severely impaired.

Here’s my literacy tip for today:
We haven’t got enough up-to-date, fun reading books in the classrooms. If we have got books, they are usually so small that the children can’t see the pictures when the teacher is reading to the whole class. Got an IWB with internet connection? Problem solved! There are lots and lots of brilliant stories on the internet – often with sound and animation.

One of my favourites is a bookshelf of books about Sebastian Swan. Here’s one:
What I really like about the Sebastian Swan series is that it comes with ready-made weekly planning, teacher tips, printable stickers, fact sheet about swans, topic words, high frequency words…. Have a look:

How easy is that! With a few clicks I have my weekly literacy planning, a fabulous big-screen story with links to a glossary, printable sheets I can use for group work, interactive activities such as emailing Sebastian Swan or joining his blog (which can be done independently by a group of kids on the IWB)…

Mark C
Sunday, 10 January, 2010

A few years ago my wide went to a meeting arranged by the WCED to look at how to improve literacy at school. None of the presenters wanted to listen to reasons why the literacy was so low in schools. The only thing they wanted to do was to bully educators into all kinds of fancy, impractical and unworkable plans. The first problem was that they did not want to listen to educators spell out factors influencing literacy levels. How do you fix something if you don’t know what is broken? You must acknowledge the negative causes and see how you can fix them or circumvent them. There are tried-and-tested methods which fit in with using technology perfectly. We don’t have to get rid of the older methods, we must just see how we can do them better with technology since it is what attracts learners to learning.

Closer to home. My own children get reading cards from school which must be signed everyday after they have read their books. They have library cards, but they also have technology at home which allows them to go online. Using computers forces one to read in any case. Unfortunately their school does not have an IAWB, but I would have been happy for them to have been involved with all the things you have mentioned in this blog story.
The newish IAWB does not replace the old reading book. It just makes it more interesting – visual, sound, touch etc. This is a 3D book.

Mark C
Sunday, 10 January, 2010

Sorry. In the first sentence the word “wide” should read “wife”. No insult intended. Lesson? Read before you post.

Sunday, 10 January, 2010

The EIAWB is ideal for inter-activities with learners to improve reading. You can salt and pepper it with monotonous grammar activities, or you can “spice” it up with sugar and candyfloss. What do I mean ?

Do the following own designed or download from internet some interactive-activities with sound, graphics, motion and other digital skills e.g.
1. Making sentences;
2. Punctuate sentences;
3. Verbs,

Sunday, 10 January, 2010

There are many site, but try this one:


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