How to encourage reading literacy in a digital age

“Shift happens. We are in this time of constant change,” said Bill Bass, consultant and innovation coordinator for the Parkway School District. The digital age is here and it’s forcing educators to adapt new ways of approaching reading literacy. How can we teach students not only to be digitally literate but be literate in a digital age?

Bass’ statement came during Wednesday’s webinar hosted by the Future of Education Technology Conference, which was sponsored by Sora, the student reading app. Students today can’t recall a world in which they didn’t have access to the internet. Many educators and administrators, however, can—and that can shape our schools and students’ educational experiences.

In 2024, true literacy is much more nuanced. Traditionally, educators only worried about two things: can you read and can you write? Now, Bass said there are two questions educators must address:

  • What does this digital shift mean for literacy?
  • What does this mean for curriculum?

One of the most important components of literacy is ensuring that the content is relevant and engaging for students.

“What I want for students in my school district and school districts all over the country is for their learning to be ruthlessly relevant to the things that are interesting to them,” he said.

Students nowadays are pulling from a variety of different sources to gain background knowledge rather than just relying on books, he added. Services like YouTube and other social media platforms are all valid resources by which students gather information.

“We as adults may not value where they’re getting their background knowledge and that’s a blind spot for us,” Bass added.

You can watch the webinar on demand at any time to learn how Bass and other innovative educators like Shannon McClintock Miller and Bonnie Nieves are using technology to drive reading literacy in their own schools.