International Literacy Association 2015 Grand Prize Award for Technology and Reading

Source: International Literacy Association

St. Louis, Missouri— August 5, 2015

Carolyn Fortuna, Ph.D., a high school English teacher in Franklin, Massachusetts, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Grand Prize Award for Technology and Reading at this year’s annual conference.  Fortuna designed a project titled, “Reading Meets a 1:1 Digital Environment in Senior High School English.”

Dr. Fortuna integrates critical digital literacy, which is examination of social and cultural issues in the Internet age, into structured reading activities. With a constant infusion of print, audio, digital, visual, and video modalities, her students read intertextually, research across cultures, and compose authentically through individualized, inquiry-based, and collaborative digital literacy learning.

The ILA Award for Technology and Reading honors educators in grades K–12 who are making an outstanding and innovative contribution to the use of technology in reading education. Recognized were two grand-prize winners, seven U.S. regional winners, one Canadian, and one international winner. All entrants must be educators who work directly with students ages 5–18 for all or part of the working day. carolyn receiving ILA award

A graduate of the Feinstein Joint Doctoral Program at URI and Rhode Island College, Dr. Fortuna and each of her students use Google websites to analyze and produce texts.  All their websites become filled with short and long fiction, primary source documents, art, Prezis, Quizlets, You Tubes, poetry, songs, film trailers, commercials, podcasts, and even cartoons.

She says, “I want to help students to read their worlds and to recognize their capacities as change agents.”  This means moving student engagement from recall to critical analysis, digital composition, transformation, and publication. In a unit, students might start with advertisement analysis and continue with digital workshop argumentation. A survey of non-fiction essays can morph into collaborative teaching, and  e-learning modules  might progress to a study of curated museums of texts.

Dr. Fortuna thinks that literacy is socially inclusive, can inspire civic participation, and has the capacity to develop lifelong learning. Her high school seniors build awareness of and forge connections to issues that are a microcosm of the larger society in which we live.

Source: Original artwork by Andy Childs

Source: Original artwork by Andy Childs

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Carolyn Fortuna, Ph.D. is the recipient of the International Literacy Association’s 2015 Grand Prize Award for Technology and Reading.  She teaches high school English and is an adjunct faculty member at Rhode Island College. If you’d like information for your school or non-profit organization about workshops in digital and media literacy and learning, contact Carolyn at