Constructor Lab
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Starting From Scratch (Jr) - Implementing Code Literacy with Young Learners

Location: W194b

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : BYOD

Tuesday, June 26, 11:45 am–12:45 pm
Location: W194b

Stacy Delacruz   Helen Maddox  
Come discover how to support literacy instruction for young learners (PK-3) through the use of Scratch Jr. Explore innovative techniques and games to introduce coding. Work collaboratively to plan, storyboard and design a game or story that demonstrates a wide range of literacy skills.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Tablet: Android, iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Scratch Jr. & Padlet App:
iPads - Download on the App Store
Droids - Get it on Google Play Store
Kindle Fire - Get it on Amazon
Chromebooks - Download on the Chrome Web Store
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Early childhood/elementary
Grade level: PK-5
Subject area: Language arts, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of the session is to provide participants with hands-on learning and experience introducing and using Scratch Jr. as a context for best practices in code literacy and content area literacy instruction with learners in Pre-K through Grade 3. Participants will define code literacy, and identify the benefits and challenges of implementing code literacy with young learners. As a result of this session, participants will also examine ways of planning and storyboarding to assist learners in the development of their own code literacy projects. Participants will design a standards-based learning project that embeds historical characters (Ruby Bridges) and events into a story or game.

Hutchison, Nadolny, and Estapa (2015) argue that "coding literacy is an important type of digital and disciplinary literacy" (p. 494). Through the Scratch Jr. projects that participants will develop, they will be able to help students "learn the 'ways of speaking' within a domain of activity and help them participate more fully within it in terms of knowing what to ask for, contributing knowledge and knowhow, and becoming more expert." (Knobel & Lankshear, 2014, p. 100).

Scratch Jr. is an introductory programming language that enables children to create their own interactive stories and games. It was listed as one of the top 10 tech tools by School Library Journal (2016). This presentation will fill in the gaps in literature regarding how to use coding apps (such as Scratch Jr.) in order to support content area literacy instruction, while also developing coding literacy with young learners. Much of the current literature reports working with students in grades two and above, while yet, Scratch Jr. is designed for children younger than that. How can teachers in younger elementary grades support the use of Scratch Jr. in their classrooms? Our session will address this by providing educators, librarians, and faculty in higher education, ideas for introducing the coding blocks, characters, and scenes to young children.

Ideas for integrating coding apps into literacy instruction are also limited. This presentation adds to that literature base by providing examples of lessons that involve teachers integrating content area literacy within code literacy.

Skills that will be practiced include; using the game Simon Says to introduce the coding blocks, utilizing a story planning sheet to brainstorm and plan out scenes; importing and clipping a picture into a scene; adding voice and movement to the characters, and linking the pages to create a story or game.

The evidence of success will be evident through the participants’ action plan that they will document on the padlet. Participants will also create at least one scene from their Ruby Bridges retelling.


Through polling software, we will activate prior knowledge on code literacy and using Scratch Jr. The audience will participate by responding to poll questions. (5 min)

Presenters will introduce the objectives of sessions and related ISTE Standards (2 min)

Presenter will share a short passage about Ruby Bridges and connect to ELA Standards. Participants will complete Timeline Planning Sheet to storyboard. (10 min)

Presenter will introduce Scratch Jr. playing Simon Says with coding blocks (3 min).

Presenter will guide participants on coding with Scratch Jr. (10 Min)

Participants will code with Scratch Jr. using challenge cards (10 min)

Participants will build their first scene in Scratch Jr. using their Ruby Bridges Timeline Planning Sheet (10 min)

Presenters will show a variety of content area projects using Scratch Jr. (5 min)

The session will close with participants will sort roles and responsibilities related to ISTE standards using Padlet. They will also state how they will apply the knowledge gained in their own classroom. (5 min)

Supporting research

Cairo, J., Knobel, M., Lankshear, C., & Leu, D.J. (2008). Handbook of research on new literacies. Yahweh, NJ: Erlbaum.

Hutchison, A., Nadolny, L., & Estapa, A. (2015). Using coding apps to support literacy instruction and develop coding literacy. The Reading Teacher, 69(5), 493-503.

Knobel, M., & Lankshear, C. (2014). Studying new literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(2), 97-101

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2007). Sampling "the new" in new literacies. A new literacies sampler. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Pawloski, L., & Wall, C. (2017). Maker literacy: A new approach to literacy programming for libraries. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Rushkoff, D. (2012). Code Literacy: A 21st century Requirement. Retrieved from:

School Library Journal (2016). Top 10 Tech. Retrieved from:

Scratch, Jr. (2017). Coding for young children. Retrieved from:

Smith, S., & Burrow, L. E. (2016). Programming mulitimedia stories in scratch to integrate computational thinking and writing with elementary students. Journal of Mathematics Education, 9(2), 119-131.

Thompson, R., & Tanimoto, S. (2016). Children’s storytelling and coding: Literature review and future potential. Retrieved from:

More [+]


Stacy Delacruz, Kennesaw State University
Helen Maddox, Kennesaw State University

Helen Maddox is the Instructional Technology Coach for the Bagwell College of Education (BCOE) at Kennesaw State University (KSU). She has a B.B.A. with a concentration in Computer Information Systems from Georgia State University, and Masters in Instructional Technology from Kennesaw State University. She worked in corporate 15 years, 10 years in public schools as a Technology Support Specialist, and moved to the BCOE in 2012. Today as the Instructional Technology Coach, she supports faculty and pre-service teachers on designing technology-infused innovative learning activities and serves as the primary facilitator in the ITEC Innovation Lab.

People also viewed

Ready, Set, Code: Starting a Code Club in Elementary
Spark Communication Across Your School
Stop (Motion Animation) in the Name of Learning!