SOS Top Ten for Developing Literacy using Digital Media

Welcome to the SOS Top Ten series. In this edition, we highlight some of the most popular ways to use Spotlight on Strategies (CDN Version) to develop literacy using digital media.

Explore how the multimodal resources within Discovery Education support students in building background knowledge, strengthening comprehension, and developing disciplinary vocabulary.

We hope you’ll try one or more strategy and share your experience with us in the DEN Online Community.

Use Informational Text to Stimulate Interest and Build Background Knowledge

Using images, videos, and interactives to activate prior knowledge supports students as they make predictions and connections and generate questions before engaging with more traditional text.

These early exposures allow teachers to assess what students know, what they are interested in learning, and which resources will allow them to build upon their current understanding.


Use  Collage (CDN Version) with images to stimulate interest and allow students to build background knowledge by asking questions and making predictions about the content.


Provide a multimodal introduction to a concept by combining text and imagery with Can You Guess My 2-1-4?(CDN Version), which uses Digital videos, images, and text to encourage students to dive deeply to find answers.


Use any digital resource as a source of clues for  The Envelope Please (CDN Version), which stimulates student interest and builds background knowledge. Use a video segment, as the strategy suggests, or substitute any other type of resource that provides a solid introduction to a concept.

Strengthening Students Comprehension and Meaningful Interaction with Text

Discovery Education supports the strengthening of comprehension for all students by providing the opportunity to apply effective instructional strategies across a variety of types of media. This provides a scaffold for students learning new strategies that can be applied to print text, but also gives students tools for having more meaningful interaction with video segments, interactives, images, and more.


Encourage students to interact deeply with the audio and transcript of a video segment before viewing the visuals Read All About It (CDN Version). This strategy provides a scaffold to encourage students to reread text multiple times to ensure they comprehend it.


Make summarizing and comprehension a game by using the strategy Telephone (CDN Version). This strategy can be modified to use any resource found in Discovery Education.


Help students comprehend and interact with and understand an author’s purpose with There’s an APP for That (CDN Version). This strategy can be used with video segments or Reading Passages.

Building and Developing Vocabulary within a Discipline

Discovery Education provides resources and tools to help students anchor content-specific vocabulary within the context of the content they are studying. These resources also represent vocabulary in a variety of modalities to support all learning styles.


Support visual and kinesthetic learners to collaboratively build vocabulary with Fold, Draw, Learn (CDN Version).


Use a word cloud generator with the strategy Read Between the Lines (CDN Version) to help students identify the most important words in a text. This approach can also be used to analyze whether student summaries include concept-based vocabulary. Use reading passages, song lyrics, speeches, or a video segment’s transcript as a text source.


Foster an awareness of specific words with the strategy Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt (CDN Version). This strategy supports active learning and can be expanded from a single lesson to include an entire concept.


Help students visualize and analyze the relationships between individual vocabulary words and a larger body of content found in Digital media (audio, reading passages, and video) with Concept Circles (CDN Version).


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