How Can Technology Help Struggling Readers and Writers?

National data shows that many students continue to struggle to attain proficiency in reading and writing. At the same time, society’s expectations for students’ academic achievement and content mastery have never been higher. Students with poor literacy skills not only struggle in school, but also are more likely to drop out of high school, are less likely to continue into postsecondary education, and are more likely to be under- or unemployed. For students with disabilities, literacy difficulties present an even greater challenge, and school and adult outcomes can be severely constrained by literacy skills.

Technology offers many opportunities for students to improve their literacy skills and performance. It also has the potential to transform the ways in which students read, write, and learn. In this webinar, we will discuss how technology can help K-12 students with literacy difficulties and disabilities. We will focus on ways in which technology can support literacy activities and can compensate for literacy difficulties. This webinar will include a review of different types of literacy software programs, tools, and apps—with a focus on low- and no-cost options and how they can be integrated into school and home learning activities. We will explore several specific examples of each type of literacy tool in detail and provide examples of how it can be used with students.

Presenter Bio:

Cindy Okolo is a professor in the College of Education at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on technology-based learning environments that can help all students, including those with disabilities, succeed in challenging content-area classrooms. With colleagues, she has designed and investigated the impact of a history-learning environment (the Virtual History Museum) and a set of advanced literacy software tools.

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