Areas of literacy and a selection of activities


In literacy as in all other subjects interactive whiteboards are ideal for

Presentation, demonstration and modelling

An interactive whiteboard is a valuable tool for whole-class teaching. It is an outstanding visual resource that can help teachers to present lessons in lively and engaging ways. It allows information to be presented using a wide range of resources, which can then be annotated by teachers and pupils to clarify and refine understanding. It can facilitate explanations of models by both teachers and pupils and contribute to an understanding of what happens to a model if a variable or rule is altered.

Teachers can use the board to demonstrate and present ideas in exciting and dynamic ways. The boards also allow pupils to interact with the new learning that is being demonstrated, as well as providing a valuable tool for teachers to model abstract ideas and concepts. Teachers can change what they put on the board easily, or move an object to a different place, making new connections. They will be thinking aloud as they carry out the process, making what they are doing transparent to pupils. They will gradually involve pupils, who can then add their own ideas to the board.


  • Active engagement

Interactive whiteboard ‘increases enjoyment of lessons for both students and teachers through more varied and dynamic use of resources, with associated gains in motivation’.

The careful use of a whiteboard can support teachers in effective questioning. Well-judged questioning, which is aimed at pupils refining their ideas and posing new questions, helps them to deepen their understanding of the concept or idea.

It can provide a focus and impetus to class discussions managed by the teacher and give stimulus to small group work. The whiteboard provides an engaging focal point in the classroom. It also supports a good pace in teaching, as all the resources are prepared in advance of the lesson and are instantly available.


  • Improving the pace and flow of lessons

The use of interactive whiteboards allows for the creative and seamless use of materials, as lessons or topics can be structured around a single file.

Files or pages can be prepared in advance and used to link to other resources deployed in the lesson. Teachers say that preparing lessons around a single file helps with planning and assists the flow of the lesson. It also allows for reflection after the lesson.

‘It is very useful as a means of planning on the basis of past teaching and, following review with colleagues, we can share, adapt and develop according to needs’.

Objects and text can be moved around easily using the whiteboard, diagrams labelled,

text, pictures and diagrams annotated, key areas highlighted and colour added. In addition, sections of text, pictures or diagrams can be concealed then revealed at key points during the lesson. This is done with teachers or pupils at the front of the room and becomes the focal point of the class’ attention. Pre-preparing text, charts, diagrams, pictures, music, maps, subject-specific CD-ROMs as well as including hyperlinks to multimedia files and the Internet can give lessons a crisp pace, as no time is wasted writing on the board or moving between keyboard and screen.

These pre-prepared resources can be annotated on screen if required, using the handwriting tool, and saved for future use. Files from previous lessons can then be recalled to help with reinforcing previous learning. These strategies can also engender a greater sense of involvement and engagement in the lesson in the pupils. The work they do on the board can be saved and referred to later.

Flip charts or pages can be stored at the side of the board as thumbnails and the teacher can move backwards to an earlier section, if need be, to reinforce learning for the whole class or a small group. Pupils who are unclear about what has been taught can refer back to teaching points from earlier parts of the lesson.

In summary, interactive whiteboards enhance the teaching of literacy in the primary school. There is a wealth of resources available to explore and engage in interactive whiteboard focused listening, speaking, reading and writing activities. There is a vast amount of material available from the single source of – a central supplier for all the main software publishers in the U.K. in particular.