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Daily doses of literacy to 

fuel reading and thinking

Just like we might take daily vitamins to maintain health, we give students a daily dose of digital literacy
so they develop into informed citizens who can navigate, access, and use the information around them and
that which they have yet to encounter.


How do we inspire students to keep thinking? We engage them in daily doses of digital literacy by teaching them the skills they need to locate, access, read and create digital content. With mobile devices in the classroom, access to information is available to learners at record speed. To become digitally literate, students need explicit instruction on how to use their devices as tools for thinking and time to practice doing so. Today, we move beyond teaching digital literacy as an event, a series of lessons, or even a curricular unit; we embed it in our practice and celebrate it as an ongoing element that is fueled by interest and joy. 


When we offer students daily exposure and interaction with digital literacy, we ensure the learning is recursive and consistent. Just like we might take daily vitamins to maintain health, we give students a daily dose of digital literacy so they develop into informed citizens who can navigate, access, and use the information around them and that which they have yet to encounter. As learners grow their knowledge, we are able to layer strategies increasing the depth and breadth of what students know and are able to do. We honor young people by showing them how, telling them why, and giving them time to practice and share with others. 

There are many moments across the week when we can teach these skills. Here are a few strategies you might try with students:

Anchor Charts for Independence

Every classroom can offer a resource chart or website that guides students to high-quality, engaging websites. When we scaffold learning with charts and resources, we ensure that kids know where to go to find what they are looking for. We also maximize time on thinking as learners quickly get to the information they need while avoiding the rabbit hole of the open internet. We want students to apply their new strategies using the best sites and resources available.

Students can read about current events, research their favorite animal, or learn a new skill. A few favorite sites are listed below:


Wonderopolis: A question-of-the-day blog that covers interesting topics in history, science, nature, and current events.

Science News Explores: Science content for young minds ranging from earth science, life science, and tech.

Good News Network: A website that curates good news and feel-good stories from around the world.

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Access to Multimedia 

The addition of video and audio, and the ease with which learners can access it, might be the most impactful digital resources to date. Information no longer depends on print text or a child’s reading level. Now, all learners can seek, find and use information presented in video or audio formats. Today we teach students to “read a video” and build background and content knowledge using many of the same comprehension strategies we teach within print texts. We guide students to listen to podcasts and determine the most important information or key details. These formats offer all learners an opportunity to gain new information but serve as a significant game-changer to developing readers, multilingual students, and those who need additional learning support.

Daily dose: Check in daily to hear the top stories and events from KidsNuz, an age-appropriate, nonpartisan news podcast. The seven-minute show shares current events and interesting information tailored to young people. Extend the learning with a turn-and-talk or quick mini-inquiry into one of the topics featured on the show.

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Scaffolds for Organizing Information 

With access to new mediums and multiple sources of information, it is necessary to offer students tools to help them organize their learning. I prefer tools that are simple and can be used across the curriculum. A two or three-column chart can be used to organize information in a myriad of ways or a simple six-box thinksheet can help students document their new learning and questions. Most importantly, these types of tools promote student-generated content. Whether a child is drawing a sketch or writing, students do the heavy lifting of questioning, summarizing, and thinking. Because the tools are simple, students can recreate them when needed–even at home!

Daily dose: Provide each child with a two-column thinksheet and ask them to label it with “New Learning” on the left side and “Questions” on the right side. Then, show a quick video from TheKidShouldSeeThis (two or three minutes in length) that will appeal to students’ interests. Have students draw or write their new learning and questions. The following day, invite students to research one of their questions using the sites from your classroom anchor chart or resource list. For learners in the early years, teachers can do a “search aloud” using the teacher device and classroom projector to model how to locate additional information online.

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Create to Learn Even More 

To gain a deep understanding of digital literacy, we engage learners to make something to show what they know. In this process of making, students apply the strategies they’ve learned and the knowledge they have gained to create something they can share with others. It can be as simple as a drawing on Seesaw with an audio voice-over and could range in complexity to a multitouch book or video production. In the process of creating, students layer their use of websites, research, organizational skills, knowledge of multimedia, and digital skills to make a product that is personalized. This act of production shows if learners can synthesize the skills taught and adopt them as their own. When we ask a young person to “make something,” it is the best assessment of what they know and are able to do today.

Daily dose: I love Seesaw as a quick and easy way for students to make something and share it with others. It offers the option to draw, make a video, add audio and text, embed images, or add links. Similarly, Padlet offers many of the same features and allows students to view each other's work on a digital bulletin board.

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Keep Thinking 

Learning is joyful! We can help students recognize this joy when we invite them to research, share with others, and continue to seek new information. Daily doses of discussion paired with time to share create an environment where students teach each other. This interpersonal sharing of information is a moment to spark an immediate interest in learning and, in that way, encourages routine and habit. When we teach students strategies that allow them to find out more about a unit of study or research their favorite topic, we give them a sense of ownership over their learning. This sense of agency (Johnston, 2003) fuels independence, demonstrates respect for individual learners, and helps students connect with school, each other, and the world. And when they experience the joy that comes from connection, the beautiful cycle of thinking, accessing, learning, and sharing endures. Find, share, and keep seeking. That is what fuels joyful learning.


Choice Words, Peter Johnston, 2003.

The Joy of Reading, Donalyn Miller & Teri Lessene, 2022.

Read the World: Rethinking Literacy for Empathy and Action in a Digital Age, Kristin Ziemke & Katie Muhtaris, 2020.

Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report, 2019.

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About the author

Kristin Ziemke is a teacher, staff developer, and co-author of Read the World: Rethinking Literacy for Empathy and ActionAmplify: Digital Teaching and Learning in the K-6 Classroom, and Connecting Comprehension and Technology. Recognized as an international expert in literacy, inquiry. and technology, Kristin works with schools and organizations around the world to develop learning experiences that are student-centered, personalized, and authentic. Currently serving as a resident teacher and innovation specialist for the Big Shoulders Fund, Kristin is an Apple Distinguished Educator, National Board Certified Teacher, and Chicago Council on Global Affairs Emerging Leader. Her work has been featured by Apple, EdWeek, Mindshift, and Scholastic. You can follow Kristin on Twitter at @KristinZiemke 

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