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Read-Alouds for Digital Literacy Fun

By Mary Beth Scumaci
 | Oct 03, 2018

The Technology TailDigital citizenship skills are an important part of today’s teaching and learning culture. Our students are growing up in a fast-paced, technologically advanced world, where the integration of digital safety needs to be a priority. As an educator with a background in elementary education who works with future teachers, I love starting every class with a read-aloud. Each course I teach has its own unique collection of read-alouds that integrate class topics. Following are some favorites from my course, “Technology for the Elementary Classroom.”

  • Narrated by main characters Monkey and Jackass, Lane Smith’s It’s a Book (Roaring Brook) is a fun but poignant story about storytelling in the digital age.   
  • Paul A. Reynolds’ and Peter H. Reynolds’ Going Places (Atheneum) underlines the critical importance of 21st-century skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and curiosity and illustrates how thinking outside the box is conducive to personal growth and fulfillment.
  • But I Read It on the Internet! by Toni Buzzeo (Upstart) walks readers through the process of conducting online research and evaluating websites for integrity. 
  • Julia Cook’s The Technology Tail: A Digital Footprint Story (Boys Town), sends a powerful message about digital citizenship and offers includes tips for parents and educators who want to reinforce values of kindness and respect in a technology-inundated world.
  • Chicken Clicking by Jeanne Willis (Andersen) is a cautionary tale about what happens when Farmer Brown leaves his computer password unprotected.
  • When Charlie McButton Lost Power by Suzanne Collins (Puffin) follows computer game-addict Charlie McButton’s outrageous reaction to a power outage.
  • Margaret Wise Brown’s classic Good Night Moon (HarperCollins) inspires lessons on comparing and contrasting when read alongside Good Night Lab, a scientific parody by Chris Ferrie (Baby University) and Good Night iPad by Ann Droyd (Blue Rider).
  • Once Upon a Time…Online by David Bedford (Parragon) is a clever story about what happens to fairy tale characters when a laptop falls from the sky, with it landing a lesson in online safety.
  • Unplugged: Ella Gets Her Family Back by Laura Pedersen (Tilbury House), Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino (Dragonfly), Unplugged by Steve Antony (Scholastic), and Dot by Randi Zuckerberg (HarperCollins) all impress the importance of managing technology use.
  • If you’re looking for a book on coding, How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk (Viking), with a forward by Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, may help you get the conversation started.

The picture books on this list are engaging read-aloud choices that offer a launchpad for discussing responsible technology use. Happy reading!

Mary Beth Scumaci is the associate dean for technology education and an associate professor at Medaille College in Buffalo, NY. She has a passion for children’s books and working with teacher candidates to help prepare them for the excitement of today’s classrooms. Scumaci instructs technology and literacy courses, is an online courses designer, and facilitates technology trainings for students, faculty, and staff.

This article is part of a series from the International Literacy Association’s Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).

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