Creating Literary Connections Using a Whiteboard

This post was originally published in Nick Glass’ monthly column for Curriculum Connections, an e-newsletter published by School Library Journal in partnership with Subscribe to this free newsletter here.

An interactive whiteboard is a fabulous classroom tool that brings multimedia to the forefront of literacy and library lessons. By shifting the instructional focus from a teacher presentation to classroom-wide engagement, a whiteboard encourages participation and discussion while supporting kinesthetic learners.

In this month’s post, highlights five strategies for using an interactive whiteboard as you build transformative 21st-century connections to books and authors.


Create an interactive punctuation lesson

shard(Original Import) Use the interactive whiteboard to project a few lines of text with all capitalization and punctuation marks removed. Play a corresponding sequence from the audiobook that has made available, and select students to come up to the board to mark where the sentences begin and end, and to fill in appropriate capitalization and punctuation marks.

Click to experience this activity with a ready-to-use slide and audio excerpt.

This activity, which Nancy Pelser-Borowicz of the Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, FL shared with, can be used with any book. Here it is demonstrated with Linda Sue Park’s Newbery Medal-winning A Single Shard (Clarion, 2001).


Identify, organize, and explore characters’ relationships with a Venn Diagram

venn(Original Import) Discuss the book your class is reading by posting on your whiteboard a 3-circle graphic organizer or Venn Diagram, as provided by the NCTE IRA ReadWriteThink website.

This marvelous interactive program can be customized to identify overlapping points of discussion, relationships, and questions that arise when reading a text.


Analyze 13 layers of a Steve Jenkins picture-book illustration

bird.5(Original Import)Play this silent slideshow on your whiteboard to unveil the artist’s process as he creates an illustration of an African jacana, layer-by-layer.





Learn from authors discussing their writing process

lemonade.1(Original Import) Use your whiteboard to listen to the writing strategy employed by Virginia Euwer Wolff when writing Make Lemonade (Holt, 1993). Brainstorm in a similar manner using the whiteboard; for example, consider and document how a character in the book you are reading might react to a specific situation.




Teach phonic spelling while mastering author names

To teach phonetic spelling, choose a writer or illustrator from the Author Name Pronunciation Guide list and ask students to write how they think that name would be written phonetically. Listen to the brief recording by the author, and correct the suggestions to reflect the accurate phonetic spelling.

For example, Louis Sachar spelled phonetically could look like:

Sachar.1(Original Import)

And Jon Scieszka could look like:

scieszka.1(Original Import)

Note: This International Phonetic Alphabet from might be useful.


Invite an award-winning author into your classroom

Polacco.1(Original Import) Interactive whiteboards enable all types of multimodal interfaces, including a ready-to-use projection and sound system—without any setup or fuss. During class, play one of’s made-for-the-classroom movies, such as this one of storyteller extraordinaire Patricia Polacco.

Have your students prepare for the lesson by reading a few Polacco titles, and inform them that the author will visit virtually. The three short films linked here invite students into the Polacco’s Michigan home and her art studio and offer a peek at her family’s story quilt as she weaves some fantastic tales!


Posted by Nick Glass, Founder & Executive Director of

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One Response to Creating Literary Connections Using a Whiteboard

  1. Laura McShane November 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Thank you for these ideas ! Very helpful 🙂

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