Roundup of Resources for Literacy and Reading February 2010 (Updated)

Literacy Reading News Roundup

UPDATED TO FIX Link problems – Thanks Susan and Christopher.
Before I jump into the collection of literacy tools and resources, I’d like to highlight two, more general resources that offer keys to “process.”

Both of these leads came from The Big Fresh, the Choice Literacy eNewsletter. Although the newsletter is written for educators, both of these pieces can help parents, too.

  • SCRIBD’s Social Media Checklist for Youth Projects (PDF). It is written for school use, but the tips are good for parents, too.  Some of the questions posed offer a good starting place for at-home discussions with older kids.  (source: 16 January 2010 edition)
  • Kim Cofino’s post Making the Implicit Explicit on the Always Learning blog. In the article, Kim reminds us that what now seems second nature to us as computer users didn’t start out that way. “What’s especially interesting about these little, seemingly meaningless, skills is that they truly are transferrable and haven’t changed much over time – they’re certainly not dependent on a specific version of software. Unfortunately, despite their consistency, they often cause a lot of confusion for people who aren’t really comfortable with technology.” (source: 23 January 2010 edition)

Creative Literacy for Kids

In the Jan 8-10, 2010 edition of USA Weekend magazine, Paul Wisenthalhad a list of 5 great websites that let kids get creative.

  • Crank It Up! which is among the Arthur Games on PBSKids. Be forewarned: maestros will be making (and can record) music using pots, pans, spoons,  and more … sometimes all at the same time! (all ages)
  • Fidgit, part of the PBS Design Squad site, lets kids design and build their own games. They can also challenge their friends! (ages 8 to 13)

Shidonni – This program, a 2009 Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner, was also on Wisenthal’s list. This was really cool. The kids not only draw animals, but they can make them pets (as in give them names) AND design backgrounds for them. (ages 5 to 12)

Leave it to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create a site where kids can create movies, music and video games. MIT Media Lab members created Scratch, which is for ages 8 and up. Talk about multi-media class projects … Whoa. [Image credit: William Lee, MIT Class of 03]

KnightTime by the Hazardous Players is a website offering a serialized audiobook of a fantasy/adventure. You can listen to the chapters online (streaming) or download them to take them anywhere. The creators have artwork on the site to help young listeners see what the characters look like and get little bios about their personalities.

The Artist’s Toolkit ArtsConnectEd has created this interactive website that is just filled with great things to do.  There are videos of artists at work (albeit just 2 right now), an encyclopedia of terms, and  ways to learn the components of art (shapes, lines, color, movement, etc). In addition to explaining these elements, kids have the chance to take a piece of art and find them, too. The site offers a very professional way of helping learners SEE what words mean (thick line v. thin line) and learn vocabulary, too. I discovered it via the Raven Tree Press hELLo e-Newsletter that offers ideas for adults working with English Language Learners.

Literacy and Reading Tools for Parents

Thanks to Bobbi Newman @ Librarian by Day for her post about learning 2.0 class for parents, a 12-week program sponsored by the Darien (Connecticut) Library. The program kicks off 2 February 2010.

My thanks to Michelle Skamene for her email about  I found the concept intriguing. First, both parents and kids can set up reading goals … I LIKE that! As kids reach goals/benchmarks, the site “unlocks” games and other fun things. I guess I’d describe it as a Webkins-type site (there are probably others, I just know Webkins) with a CRITICAL  non-computer component. There are teacher tools, AND because it is a Canadian creation, you can use the site in French, too!

Literacy and Reading Tools for Educators

For the ultimate book talk, look no further than Meet the Author UK, where authors introduce their own books in their own words. “Some of the authors you will know, some are bestsellers, some are newcomers, but they are all speaking in their own words about the books that they are passionate about.” When I last stopped by, there were 1,607 authors video clips in the collection. My thanks to Susan Stephenson of the Book Chook for the link.

This one came to me via eMail from Nick Glass, the founder of, and I saw it mentioned several times in conjunction with ALA awards, but I wanted to include it here. hosts a FREE  Curriculum Resource Center for each of the 231 Coretta Scott King Book Award-winning authors, illustrators, and books. You can search by name, book title, award year, or curriculum by audience or subject area.  It is really a neat tool, but I particularly liked the book trailer filled with quotes spoken by the award-winning authors. I wish it was longer than 1:41.

Our thanks to @ReadWriteType for the retweet (RT) of an @readtoday announcement. Both and have free Pre-K lesson plans for new followers.

22 responses to “Roundup of Resources for Literacy and Reading February 2010 (Updated)

  1. I just discovered this site through the Growing Bookworms Newsletter. I love this article for all of the great tips for children, parents, and educators. I am an early childhood educator for disadvantaged children and I am becoming increasingly interested in going above and beyond what I am already doing in the classroom. Thank you for providing tips and information and resources.

  2. Ooh, I am rubbing my hands with glee here. I am familiar with some of your creative literacy sites, but Fidgit and Knight Time are new to me.

    Oh, and your link dropped off for Shidonni. I haven’t been able to look at it because I think it is only for PC.

  3. This is an excellent resource, thank you. I particularly loved finding out about Scratch, although please be aware that due to a typo in the link it takes you to ‘cratch.’

    I shall be a regular visitor!

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