The use of computers in education is a hot topic for several years now, but the debate changes as we become more and more used to having computers as part of our every day lives. Computer literacy, while once a major issue, is n virtually an assumption among students and teachers alike. And the question of whether to use computers and software as a teaching tool is no longer subject to debate in most schools. Today, attention among educators has turned to how to integrate software into the curriculum and just how effective software programs are in language arts instruction.
Research shows that computer instruction is effective for developing reading skills.
Here are guidelines for Integrating Reading and Phonics Software in a Class
- The software used in reading instruction should focus on reading comprehension.
- Students should have opportunities to work with whole, meaningful texts.
- A phonics program should stress the use of word meanings in conjunction with phonics and structural analysis. Individual words and phrases, should be presented within a contextual framework that makes sense.
- The materials that use content and language that are within the range of their conceptual development. Tasks should be challenging but not frustrating. Student interests, previous experiences, and purpose play a role in determining whether or not a computer task is comprehensible and worthwhile.
- Computer software programs for reading instruction should engage students and not simply provide passive lessons. The child should be required to make decisions that control or influence the outcome of the task.
- The software program should provide the child with the ability to actually monitor his progress. This contributes to the development of independent learning.
- A reading skills or phonics software program should include a variety of text and narrative structures. The content used should come from a wide variety of subjects.
- The PC should never be the sole means of reading instruction. It should not operate as a separate and isolated means of learning, rather it should be integrated with books, worksheets and other learning methods.
- The reading program should include writing as well. When students can write text and share it with others, they develop composition skills and reinfrce the reading skills they are developing.