Read-alouds and technology in a 5th grade social studies classroom



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When school districts invest resources into acquiring updated technology, they need evidence of the effective integration of that technology to promote student learning. The current case study examines the use of picture books as read-alouds and technology to increase student interest and motivation for learning in a 5th grade social studies class in a technology-rich rural school district. Three questions guided this study: 1) How does the use of a read-aloud in the social studies classroom influence planning, time allocation, and lesson construction? 2) What are the teacher perceptions of the read-aloud in the social studies classroom? and 3) How will the teacher integrate technology to enhance student learning and engagement? The qualitative study used classroom observations over a six week time period, interviews with the classroom teacher, technology teacher, and principal, and a review of student-produced interactive eBooks. The findings from the data collection show that exposure to picture books engaged 5th grade students as independent researchers and learners exploring the history of their country in order to create interactive eBooks. The process increased students’ skills to construct meaning of social studies content and inquiry-based learning and research. The research provides school district policy makers with documentation of the use of technology to improve social studies/reading instruction among elementary students.