Happy Autumn! The Tools for Reading and Literacy are brought to you each month by Terry Doherty of the Reading Tub. This used to be the “21st Century Literacies” section of the Literacy and Reading News Roundup that Terry writes with Jen Robinson (Jen Robinson’s Book Page) and Carol Rasco (Rasco from RIF). Now it’s a project unto itself, with input from Terry and Susan Stephenson of the Book Chook.
In each issue you will find links to articles, websites, and online tools that facilitate the processes of reading and learning. Whether the information is recently published or a couple years old, it’s new to me and may be new to you. Enjoy!
In the process of wanting to learn more about the Read to Your Breed program (link to American Libraries magazine, August 2010), I found LibraryDogs.com. This is a resource for anyone interested how certified therapy dogs can help children improve their literacy and reading skills. You can follow them on Twitter @librarydogmom. Another organization mentioned in the article is PAWs to Read. Although these organizations pair trained therapy dogs with struggling or nervous readers, if FIDO likes sitting with your daughter, encourage her to read to him, too. You might also let the kids read to your pet hampster, fish, etc.
An adjustable desk is probably one of the most “versatile” tools I’ve seen in awhile. In Students Stand When Called Upon, and When Not (New York Times online February 2009), Susan Saulny introduces us to Ms. Brown and her students, all of whom use their desks in different ways … but all toward the end of learning in a way that’s effective for them. (via teacher @MissTyneal on Twitter)
Resources for Kids
Teaching Books.net Curriculum Resource Center – It doesn’t sound like it’s for kids, but it really is all about the kids. On this web page you will find some of the most popular series that kids (read: elementary-level readers) love. Click a series title and you’ll get more links: one that lets you listen to the author talk about the book; the other that let you “explore all online resources” related to the book(s) and author.
Resources for Parents
Wowbrary is a free service where you find out all of the new books/CDs/movies your public library ordered the past week. You will need to see if your library uses the service, but oh how cool is that! Found this by clicking the web address for @senoritao. It takes you to Ms. O Reads Books, the chock-full-of-great-stuff blog of an elementary school librarian.
Resources for Educators
Science Pairs: Books and Websites – This article in Booklist Online’s Classroom Connections is a Wow-inducing piece about how much science is available on the web (for free!). What I loved is how Rebecca Hill demonstrated how you can bring science to life by combining the two technologies.
I generally don’t include for-fee services, but CobblestoneOnline.net seems to be (with the little bit of playing I did with the free index) an incredibly comprehensive spot. The company describes the site as “nonfiction at its best! A great tool for students, teachers, and librarians! It also provides English language arts, social studies, and science teachers with much needed quality expository writing.” You search through a massive database of articles (drawn from magazines published by Cobblestone) in these areas: American history, contemporary world cultures, geography, world history, physical science, astronomy, earth science, archaeology, African American history, California history, and general social studies and science topics. I
Another find in American Libraries magazine (“I’m Sorry, You’re Out,” August 2010): Citizendium, a collaborative encyclopedia project that covers arts & humanities, social science, natural science, and applied arts and sciences. “The Citizendium is a collaborative effort to collect, structure, and cultivate knowledge and to render it conveniently accessible to the public for free. It is built online by volunteers who contribute under their real names and agree to this social covenant centered around trust.”
If you’re looking for free, portable books and/or want ways to combine music and reading, Barry Louis Polisar has made all of his books (12!) and songs available on his website for FREE. You can view his picture books online, view them as a PDF, or download them.
SeymourSimon.com has just expanded its resources to include free educator guides for Seymour Simon’s nonfiction books for kids. You have to subscribe, but access and the resources themselves are free. From the website: “We have designed this area as an extension of my books, trying to provide as many free resources as we can for you to use with your children to explore and understand the wonders all around them. I was a teacher for many years before becoming a full-time writer, and I’ve always been more interested in arousing enthusiasm in kids than in teaching facts. The facts may change, but that enthusiasm for exploring the world will remain with them the rest of their lives.”
To close out this month, I’ve got a video from the European Children’s Traveling Library.This project, funded by the European Union, is designed to motivate and encourage children who have begun to learn a new language. The other goals are to reinforce emerging literacy and “build a love of reading as an autonomous form of lifelong learning.” The video shows a collection of illustrated books that are traveling from school to school across Europe. “Each school has the library for a period and has to carry out a number of educational and collaborative activities before, during and after the visit of the Library and place the results on the project website for use and viewing by other schools.”
Thanks for your continued interest in the Tools roundup. If you spot something you’d like to share, feel free to drop me a line [thereadingtub – at- gmail [dot] com]or send a note to @ReadingTub on Twitter.