Technologies That Support Students’ Literacy Development

  • Carol McDonald Connor
  • Susan R. Goldman
  • Barry Fishman


This chapter reviews recent research on technology that supports students’ developing literacy skills from preschool through high school. We examine technologies for students across three developmental periods of reading: emergent literacy (preschool through kindergarten); learning to read (kindergarten through third and fourth grade) and reading to learn (third grade through high school). In general, when used with students’ learning needs in mind, literacy software can effectively support students’ acquisition of skills throughout these developmental periods. However, accumulating evidence reveals that good software will not replace good or even adequate teaching unless it is used with attention to optimizing instruction to meet students’ individualized learning needs both face-to-face and on computers. We also review the role of technology in assessment of literacy skills and present promising results. In general, technology can provide an environment that supports reliable and valid assessment, especially when automated scoring can assist teachers in the assessment of students’ basic skills, writing, summarizing, and synthesizing information across multiple texts. Finally, we review technologies that support teachers’ efforts to provide more effective literacy instruction. Overall, current research indicates that technology-based professional development and specific software applications that support teachers’ ability to individualize student instruction using assessment are generally effective in improving students’ literacy outcomes.


Assessment Professional development 



We would like to thank Callie W. Little, Florida State University, for her assistance with searching data bases and Web sites, as well as for her preliminary review of journal articles. The writing of this chapter was supported in part by the US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, Reading for Understanding grants R305F1000027 and R305F100007; and Assessment development grant R305G050091, grant R305B070074 Child by Instruction Interactions: Effects of Individualizing Instruction, and by grant R01HD48539 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of our institutions or the funding agencies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol McDonald Connor
    • 1
  • Susan R. Goldman
    • 2
  • Barry Fishman
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLearning Sciences Institute, Arizona State UniversityTempe, ArizonaUSA
  2. 2.Learning Sciences Research InstituteUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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