Sunday, 7 March 2010

Professional Website Review

After exploring the suggested websites a few issues came to my mind in terms of children's literacy practices out-of-school, and the implications of these practices for teachers. The first is that the majority of these sites offer students and parents a safe environment to focus on building literacy skills at home. As the years go by, students are becoming computer savvy earlier and earlier. Many of these sites will not only allow students to use the computer independently, they will also build upon the skills taught in school by teachers ultimately helping students become better readers and writers.

As a teacher, I especially enjoyed the Toronto Public Library link. In my teaching experiences thus far many parents simply do not or are unable to devote enough time to read with their children. Many of my students past and present hardly see their parents during the week due to employment demands and family commitments. This can definitely have a detrimental impact on the academic standing of a child, especially in terms of literacy skills. Kid-friendly websites such as that of the Toronto Public Library allow students to build their skills, by hearing, reading and writing stories. This type of extracurricular activity can only benefit a child, especially one that is struggling to learn the basics of reading and writing. The extra practice at home will not only build skills, it will work to increase a child's confidence and abilities, therefore making him/her more likely to respond favorably to his/her teacher's efforts in school.

Although using tools such as the suggested websites offer a number of positive advantages, I myself would definitely be wary of letting my students use websites that have the potential for online chatting. Depending on the age of the child I would definitely encourage all of my parents to supervise their child's time on the computer, and monitor who they may be chatting with. On the whole I do see a lot of value in using this type of technology to promote literacy skills and plan to bookmark a number of the suggested websites for future reference and use.

Melissa

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