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Nurturing Young Minds: Teaching Reading to the Digital Learner

by | Feb 7, 2024 | News, Schools

Last year, Oxford University Press held four digital launch events to engage schools with our digital product offering.

The aim of the event programme was to engage with educators and government officials, and to showcase our developments in digital.

The programme included topical EduTech concerns that South African schools and teachers are currently grappling with. Dr. Zelda Barends, Senior Lecturer at Stellenbosch University, spoke about Teaching Reading to the Digital Learner.

In an age where digital devices seamlessly integrate into every aspect of our lives, the way in which we approach education is evolving rapidly. As educators, parents and guardians, it is essential to adapt our methods to meet the needs of the digital learner, particularly when it comes to the foundational skill of reading. This blog will explore the key elements of teaching reading to the digital learner and the significance of equipping learners with the ability to read for understanding.

The Elements of Reading

Reading is a multifaceted skill that encompasses decoding, comprehension, fluency and vocabulary. To ensure a well-rounded reading education, educators should focus on these elements in a cohesive manner. Decoding involves the ability to translate written words into spoken language, while comprehension is the capacity to understand and interpret the meaning of the text. Fluency, on the other hand, emphasizes reading with speed, accuracy and expression, while a robust vocabulary enhances overall comprehension.

The Importance of Reading for Understanding

Teaching learners to read isn’t just about reading words on a page, it’s about fostering a deep understanding of the content. Reading for comprehension enables them to connect ideas, think critically and apply their knowledge to various contexts. It lays the foundation for academic success and cultivates a lifelong love of learning.

Integrating Technology Tools for Enhanced Reading Instruction

In the digital era, incorporating technology into reading instruction is not just an option, but a necessity. Interactive e-books, educational apps and digital resources provide dynamic and engaging experiences that capture the attention of digital learners. These tools can cater to different learning styles, offering personalised feedback and adapting to individual progress.

Interactive E-books:

Interactive e-books not only present the narrative, but also include features like audio narration, interactive quizzes and multimedia elements. This not only makes the reading experience more enjoyable, but also reinforces key concepts and enhances comprehension.

Educational Apps:

Educational apps designed for reading instruction can offer a range of activities, from phonics games to comprehension exercises. These apps can be tailored to the specific needs of each learner, providing targeted practice and instant feedback.

Digital Resources:

Digital libraries and online platforms offer a vast array of reading materials suitable for various reading levels and interests. These resources provide flexibility in accessing a diverse range of content, promoting independent exploration and discovery.

Teaching reading to the digital learner is a dynamic and evolving process that requires a thoughtful integration of traditional methods and cutting-edge technology. By embracing the digital landscape and incorporating interactive tools, educators can create an enriching learning environment that equips learners with the essential reading skills they need.

Watch the full video here:

by Jarita Raga, Marketing Content Specialist, Oxford University Press Southern Africa

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