Engaging Phonics with Technology


return to: ETAP 623 Spring 2020 (Zhang) | Rachel Horstman's Portfolio Page
navigate: Unit 1 | Unit 2 | Unit 3

source: Random House

Why will educators benefit from this course?

Reading instruction has come a long way since the Dick and Jane series. Research in brain development has taught us new ways to approach reading instruction and technology is ever-evolving. Curriculums and theories are constantly developed and marketed towards teachers and the choices can be overwhelming. We will explore the following questions:

  • What does effective phonics instruction look like?
  • How can teachers adapt phonics programs to meet the needs of their students?

This mini-course will investigate phonics best practices and explore ways to make phonics more engaging for your students. By the end of this course, you will have the necessary skills to critically analyze any phonics curriculum and adapt it with the use of technology to meet the needs of your students.

Helpful tips:


- this symbol represents course objectives


- when you see this symbol, it's time to stop and reflect. There will be a link to an outside source for you to discuss or self-assess.

A Course Guide

Intended Audience

After surveying teachers at my school site, I found that 83.3% of our Kindergarten & 1st-grade teachers felt that they had to supplement or modify our phonics curriculum. Curriculums are typically a "one-size fits all" model. However, our classrooms are full of diverse learners with a range of needs and learning styles. This course is designed for elementary school teachers who want to incorporate technology into their phonics instruction while maintaining the integrity of a program. Technology can be used as a tool to differentiate or modify a curriculum. K-2 teachers will benefit the most from this course, but teachers in grades 3-5 who have struggling readers may also find it useful.

Prerequisite: it may be helpful for the participant to have some background with Google Apps but it is not required.

Course Navigation & Objectives

This mini-course includes the following units. Click the title of a unit to go to its page.

Unit 1: Identify Effective Phonics Strategies

Objective: Learners will identify four research-based principles for phonics programs.
Essential Question: What makes a phonics lesson effective?

Unit 2: Technology to Increase Engagement and Understanding

Objective: Discover how technology can increase understanding.
Essential Question: How does the brain process language? How can technology increase engagement and understanding?

Unit 3: Adapting Phonics Lessons

Objective: Create a phonics lesson that incorporates instructional technology.
Essential Question: How can educators use technology to modify/create phonics lessons to increase student engagement and understanding?

Extended Resources

If you would like to explore this topic further, please consider the following resources.