Literacy development serves as a building block for success in so many areas. Studies have found that school reading programs and traditional “reading promotion” activity do not result in student making the critical connection between literacy and future success.
Schools that wish to create a supportive literacy environment for students must provide:
- Access to reading materials
- Opportunities to read
- Motivation to read
Big Universe Learning is an engaging reading and writing community to develop reading, writing, and thinking skills. It is not a school reading program or reading promotion activity. Big Universe Learning is a web-based subscription site providing access to almost 3,500 high quality fiction and nonfiction books from over 24 publishers. This engaging reading and writing tool provides for differentiated learning for struggling readers, ELL learners, and advanced readers. This digital library is available for students to access at school and at home, thus providing a wealth of reading materials for those homes where that is not readily available.
The online writing and publishing tool available from Big Universe Learning can be used for guided or independent writing activities, book responses, reports, and creative writing. Students are able to share their published books with friends, family, and others by printing them out or publishing them on the site. Students can use their own images along with their stories or they may choose from a large picture library provided by the site. Books can be created by teachers and students to go right along with the curriculum.
A school’s primary focus should be student learning. That learning focus should direct the use of educational technology in the school. All of the technology decisions need to be focused on student learning also. For most schools, a focus on reading at all levels is a need. One of the ways to develop, encourage, and support reading is by providing access to reading materials for teachers and students.
Part of supporting readers of any level involves developing independent readers who can select their own books to read. Part of that developmental process involves allowing students to select easy, difficult, and “just right” books on their own and not restricting book choices to certain levels. Big Universe Learning can be used to help student work towards that level of independent reading.
A subscription to Big Universe Learning can provide quality digital content for not only language arts, but also for science, social studies, and math as well as character development. Just like repeated practice helps a football or basketball player improve his or her ability, reading is a skill that improves with repetition both at home and at school.