Wow! May flew by, didn’t it? Welcome new subscribers to the monthly collection of new-to-me toys tools that may hold the key to creating a life-long reader. This edition of the roundup is a little less chatty than usual … thank goodness for the ability to schedule posts. So while you’re reading, I’m digging out from being away last week.
I especially want to send my thanks to Susan Stephenson for pointing me toward What’s Next, an online search tool managed by the Kent (MI) District Library. Use What’s Next to find the next book in a series. Also, if you haven’t yet seen the fifth edition of Literacy Lava, click here now! That cover is so cool … and I’ll bet Susan tells us how she did it, too!
Via Education Week’s Digital Education blog, I discovered The Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization that is building an Internet library of resources available on the Web. What caught my attention in Kate Ash’s post is that the “[Archive] has made about one million books easily accessible for people with disabilities such as blindness or dyslexia by converting the books to a new format called DAISY, which can be downloaded to devices that can read the books aloud.” Books in all languages are welcome, and you can donate them via the Open Library book drive. welcome. Since this is an EdWeek article, Online Books for Students with Disabilities naturally talks about the tool’s value in a classroom setting. Just know that the Open Library Accessible Book collection is open to anyone and you don’t have to subscribe to use it.
21st Century Literacies
Ever wondered how do define 21st Century Literacies? Susan Stephenson found this definition that I think will make it easy. Leave it to the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) to make clear, concise, and easy to remember.
Twenty-first century readers and writers need to
- Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
- Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
- Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
- Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
- Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts
- Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments
Read Books Online Free is a Blogger blog that offers a number of classic books, poetry, short stories, in eBook format AND includes a link to the wikipedia article about it. So far: Catcher in the Rye, Jane Eyre, The Alchemist, To Kill a Mockingbird, and a few others. (via @booksonlinefree)
Creative Literacy for Kids
Benny and Penny and Their Friends blog – Toon Books just launched this blog that is designed for emerging readers. From the press release: “The vocabulary, visuals, and activities target the needs of early reading and writing. Parents and children can tune in every Monday for a great new story with Benny, Penny, and their friends in a weekly comic strip. Visit the blog every Wednesday for a new cartoon featuring a caption contest.” (Image credit: cropped from blog header)
AccessMyLibrary School Edition is an iPhone application that lets kids remotely search their school’s library. “This latest K-12 version [created by Gale] asks students to enter a password, then search for their local school library. Once in, they can pull up the vast array of Gale online resources within a 10-mile radius that were purchased by their media specialist.” (via School Library Journal’s Extra Helping).
Literacy and Reading Tools for Parents
StorySnoops.com is the brainchild of four moms. The site is designed to be searched to help you find books for readers ages 9 to 18. “StorySnoops offers children’s book reviews from a parent’s perspective. Want to find fiction that interests your 9-18 year old? Curious about its content? Find it on our site and we’ll give you the scoop! We read it so you know what’s in it.”
Literacy and Reading Tools for Educators
The Poem Farm I found Amy and the Poem Farm via the Kidlitosphere Yahoo Group. Here is how she describes her blog: “The Poem Farm is my poem-playground, a place to share teaching and writing ideas, and a cozy spot to highlight poetry in classrooms.” I love that she’s showing us how poetry can be part of our lives every day!
Wired for Books is an incredible resource that will engage kids with the authors they know and love. Dave Kurz, of Ohio University has pulled together some of the author interviews that Don Swaim did for CBS radio “way back when.” He has put together a wonderful selection of digital recordings of authors reading their works, as well as a number of unabridged readings of children’s classics. In the Kids Corner, you’ll find Beatrix Potter books in several languages, with English and Japanese texts available for reading online.
In a similar vein, Judy Freeman has put together a list of 68 children’s author and illustrator websites on the Read Kiddo Read Ning/website.