Future Educator Seeks Resources to Promote Everyday Literacy

In a world that requires us to be ‘literate’ is almost every aspect of our daily lives, the concept of teaching students to be literate outside of the typical expectation of the ability to read, is something that I feel is often left on the back burner.  As someone who is striving to be a future educator, everyday literacy is something that I have not really had the opportunity to discuss until now, my 4th year at a university.  In our society, we definitely need to know how to read and understand the many components of typically literacy, but is there more?  How many other types or literacy should have mastered? 1, 2, or is the number infinite?  I feel that the concepts of different types of everyday literacy can be a conversation that lasts forever.  But when it comes down to it, I feel that there are a handful of key types of everyday literacy that should somehow be incorporated into the classroom setting.

Let’s start with media literacy.  I feel that in a society that is consumed by technology, people are still technology/media illiterate.  Students have the ability to always be connected to technology and yet they still seem to make ‘bad’ choices when it comes to using technology in school.  In my observations, students struggle with choosing appropriate sources during research opportunities, they use text-speech when sending emails, and there seems to just be an overall difficultly with navigating the internet when not using social media.  I feel that teaching students how to make smart and critical choices when using media, is something that can easily be incorporated into the classroom when you think about it.  However, what I find challenging is how to incorporate the idea of technology literate and really have the students understand it when I myself often struggle with finding credible sources.  How can educators full assist their students when they struggle with elements of technology themselves?

Another source of everyday literacy I feel that could be included in the classroom is social literacy.  Or in other words, teaching students how to effectively and appropriately communicate with adults and peers.  This is a world where students are glued to their phones and only seem to know how to communicate from behind a screen.  But that does not really translate well in a face-to-face conversation.  Students need to know how to communicate with their peers in different settings both within and outside of the school.  But how does the typical educator find time to incorporate this concept into their everyday class?  Do you set aside a special amount of time to discuss this?  Does it just happen naturally?  How do we teach students the importance of communication skills when they are too busy trying and ineffectively communication from behind a screen?

There are just two types of every literacy skill that I feel every student should have mastery of.  However, there are certainly more types out there.  But the big question here is how can teachers find and appropriately use their resources to teach their students these skills?  Maybe this is something that naturally occurs in the classroom.  But after taking the time to discuss this idea of everyday literacy in my classes, it still leaves me wondering how it can be done.  So, I am simply a future educator seeking resources for future students to help promote their everyday literacy skills.  I am just someone who is trying to create better students for our future society.


13 thoughts on “Future Educator Seeks Resources to Promote Everyday Literacy

  1. karkk1ka October 12, 2016 / 12:49 am

    I really found your post to be thought-provoking! You pose many questions that I have thought about as I prepare to enter the classroom as well. It can be intimidating knowing that you will soon be entering a classroom without all of the answers but ideally you are suppose to have them. Technology is a big thing for me. I want to use it in my room but it can be so intimidating that I can see why teachers stray away and if we are straying away then students aren’t going to be receiving a very good message. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. emilyraehoward October 12, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    This was a great post! I also have not had the opportunity to discuss literacy until my 4th year at a university which I find very interesting. Your questions had me really thinking about literacy and incorporating all different types in my future classroom. Media literacy and social literacy are very important parts that should be included in the classroom setting. I really enjoyed reading this. Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dezvillalobos October 12, 2016 / 6:32 pm

    I am happy that you are thinking about literacy in the most practical “everyday” sense of the word. Particularly I am interested in the point you drew about technological literacy. Technology, especially the internet is an invaluable resource that I feel is under used, and when it is it is often used improperly or inefficiently. As educators I think we owe it to our students to show them how to make the most of these resources. As someone who struggles with these resources or even someone who is efficient with them, you can always learn more, so maybe we should all consider going to as many workshops as we can to refine our use of technology in the classroom.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jlong450 October 12, 2016 / 7:12 pm

    Great post and I also agree with others in the sense of you really get us thinking about media literacy. Technology use going through my college courses has been brought up over and over again stressing the importance of using technology. The way technology is always changing this task may get easier or harder for teachers to include technology in the classroom. I also heard mixed reviews about using technology such as students phones. Some PE classes will use students phones to be engaged in a lesson. The individual a spoke to about this said my students always would be glued to their phones with every free second they had to he made a lesson to where students would use the device.


    • rachaelhyaduck October 12, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      I agree with you that because of technology is constantly changing, it may become a challenge for teachers to use in in their classrooms, or even for them to have the funds to gain access to this technology. I’m somewhat surprised to hear that smart phones are being use in a PE setting to keep the students engaged. I feel like there are a lot more things that could be utilized in the PE setting to engage students before having to bring phones into that setting. But i could also see how they could be utilized in a health class. I personally have reservations about including smart phones within my classrooms. I am still not sure how I feel about their importance in the classroom. But this could be changed once I get into my future classroom. Thank you for your comment!


  5. nataliergf October 15, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    Your concerns about being able to find credible resources in order to assist students in doing the same is one that is shared by me as well. I often find that I begin with sources that I know from other educators. I choose educators who have been proven over time to have safe digital literacy practices. I also consult with specialists in my school who have specific training on choosing credible websites for student research. In my school we have a technology specialist and a media specialist who assist teachers with such questions.

    I found this reading to be informative about digital literacy in the classroom. Sections address digital citizenship and discerning fact from fiction in digital media.


    Thank you for your post and I hope you find this information helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rachaelhyaduck October 18, 2016 / 12:43 am

      Thank you so much for sharing this resource with me! I found this very helpful! It gave me a lot to think about in terms of connecting Digital Literacy to my future classrooms!


  6. jennmphil October 15, 2016 / 3:46 pm

    I can relate to your concerns in finding the best practices and resources to help students become literate in other ways than the typical ways we “think” of literacy.
    I think there is no step-to-step way to do this with our students because every year we are given new students who present new challenges and bring forth individual talents and needs.
    I feel the most crucial thing is to know your students and develop your lessons from their needs and interests. Also, staying connected to other educators near and far through workshops and networking keeps our ideas fresh and reimagined.
    Giving your students time to talk about their ideas, stories, and arranging your classroom as a community is one way to promote social literacy. I agree, it is something that we need to consciously promote in this constantly changing generation of technology and different ways of communicating!

    Found this article on dialogic reading with books with social–
    emotional content


    Liked by 1 person

    • rachaelhyaduck October 18, 2016 / 12:52 am

      Thank you so much for this resource! I had never thought about using literacy and reading to promote social and emotional skills! I am going into Special Education so I feel that I will be able to use this article and the methods it discussed in my future classroom to help my students develop appropriate social and emotional skills! Thanks again!


  7. cheriedh October 15, 2016 / 9:13 pm

    As a special educator, I understand the importance of teaching students with disabilities to be socially literate. There are many ways we can incorporate the “soft skills” into our instruction. An example would be playing reading games. They help with reading skills as well as communication and turn-taking skills. Social Skills need to be taught explicitly. Thanks for the great reminder that “Literacy” is much more broad than just teaching reading and writing skills.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ckllit17 October 15, 2016 / 10:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing this post. I think that literacy is all over the classroom in more places than you realize. The thought of my students going on the internet and making independent choices for themselves scares me. At the beginning of each year, I set guidelines for my students by using a resource called symbaloo. I provide my students with internet resources that I feel are appropriate for their use. Many times students will make the wrong choice because they don’t know where to search or how to find the information. Setting up a technology scavenger hunt at the beginning of the year, provided opportunities for students to become familiar with the resources. Also giving the students the opportunities to bring in their own resources and “grade” the resources as a class can create media literacy for each student.
    You might be surprised at the amount of opportunities that exist for social literacy. Social literacy has to also be taught to many students. Providing time for your class to build a community is the first step and then giving the students time to practice how to interact with one another is also a powerful lesson. As the year progresses, the students will become more comfortable with you and each other. This relationship will grow and so will your social literacy. I like to use sentence starters for students when discussing new material. The students are not required to use the sentence starters but it does take pressure off thinking about how to respond to one another. After a while this will come natural to you and your students.
    Good luck and let me know if I can help with anymore suggestions or clarifications!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ateach17 October 16, 2016 / 12:31 am

    The questions you raise here are questions that educators themselves are asking. Literacy permeates our classrooms and our interactions with students. It goes beyond content and disciplinary literacy and includes social and emotional literacy as you mentioned. I have found when addressing conflict with students that it’s always helpful to have the students articulate how they felt. This not only validates their feelings, but also helps them put a name to their feeling. More probing questions such as, “How did that make you feel inside?” helps younger students articulate emotions they might not have the words to (e.g. embarrassment).
    One thing that I have found helpful in teaching soc ial and emotional literacy to my students is to have a daily “Team Time” with my students. This is a time where the students choose to give a compliment, receive a compliment, or to pass. I participate with the students and this has helped them realize that I’m a person, too. I limit this to 15 minutes, but make sure that every student is called to highlight the importance of our class as a community. At the beginning of the year, I do a lot of modeling for my students and asking them to think about the depth of their compliments. For example: “What feels best to you: When a classmate tells you that you have cool shoes OR when a classmate tells you that you’re kind to your friends and they noticed that when you helped Susy clean up her spilled water?”
    Over the course of the year, I am amazed to see how the depth of their compliments grow and how they begin to look for ways to encourage each other throughout the day, not just during “Team Time.”
    The fact that you’re realizing the importanc eof teaching social literacy now is huge! Your students will notice that you care about THEM!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. tschmidt3 October 16, 2016 / 3:22 am

    Hi! I appreciate that you voiced these questions and frustrations – particularly in a time when we can all hear only what we want to hear and engage the digital world through echo chambers, rather than in the open, diverse manner that digital mediums promise. I’ve struggled with my own students to recognize how we are more connected and linked to the world than any previous generation has ever been, yet we are struggling with loneliness, freedom of speech, community, and compassion in unprecedented ways.

    One tool that I’ve found helpful, though simple in nature, is the Google Doc. When we need to discuss a heavy subject in class (the events in Charlotte, NC for example) and there are many facets and a large bit of grey area to cover, we can brainstorm our thoughts and feelings, comment using “yes, and” rather than “no,” and recognize that though we share many parts of our experience AND can learn from those who experience it differently or interpret in a different way. By setting guidelines about deleting, commenting, and contributing, students watch as they build a complex web of thoughts, facts, feelings, and opinions around a difficult subject, sparking conversations, respectful debate, AHA moments, and so on.

    Liked by 1 person

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