Tools for Reading and Literacy – February 2011

Literacy Reading News Roundup

Welcome to the February edition of the Tools for Reading and Literacy. This is a monthly annex to the Literacy and Reading News Roundup, a collaborative effort with  with Jen Robinson (Jen Robinson’s Book Page), Carol Rasco (Rasco from RIF), and me. I couldn’t do this Tools Roundup without the significant contributions – and incredible research skills – of Susan Stephenson of The Book Chook blog!

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 her and may be new to you. Enjoy!

Starting Off

The American Association of School Librarians has published its Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning. Although it is oriented for the school consumer, it is quite valuable and useful for families, particularly the lists on Digital Storytelling and Social Networking and Communication.

Have you heard of Scribd? I thought I had … but it wasn’t what I expected. I can see why Fuse8 says “fast becoming the most dangerous one on the web.” In a good way, I assure you!! If you can read it, it’s there: spreadsheets, presentations, books from the early 19th century. The site describes itself as “the world’s largest book club” and “social reading and publishing evolved.” Here is Betsy’s take in a recent Fusenews.

Found this via a subscription to Scribd on Twitter: Hear a Blog. It is a very cool concept: “Our mission is for you to stop staring at this screen and go outside, drive, run, go to the gym, do your chores, relax at the pool or do whatever you want to do and still consume your favorite blogs.”  Now, if they only had some children’s literacy and book bloggers … but it’s a start.

Resources for Kids

This is a one-shot wonder, but its sure to get the conversation going. Extreme Book Design (Guardian blog) takes you behind the scenes to illustrate how book jacket designers create those (sometimes literally) electrifying images.

Barkley’s Make-a-Flake – Thanks to Jeff Barger (NC Teacher Stuff) for the link to this website where you can create your own  snowflakes.  You can also view some of the wonderful creations others have made.

Resources for Parents

No matter what you’re trying to do, Teach Parents Tech has a short video (generally less than a minute) to help you. There are 52 videos to help you with everything from resizing the text on your screen to getting stock quotes! [image credit:]

If you are looking to expand your reading to include books in Arabic or with Arabic themes, then you’ve got to visit Read Kutub Kids. I found the blog via a Google Alert and was so thrilled that I’ve added it to my blogroll. Three things I particularly like …

In a nod toward 21st century book reviews,  a husband and wife team (app creator, teacher) in Seattle, Washington have created Digital Storytime, a website that offers reviews (read: ratings) for iPad children’s books. There is also a free iPad APP daily deal.

321 Learn has a wonderful post about creating a literacy rich environment in the classroom … but all of the tips have wonderful application at home. I particularly liked the idea of students dictating a story to go along with pictures that they’ve drawn to be a book. Check out the end of the post, too, there are additional links with suggestions with ways on How to Teach the Alphabet and How to Read with Children, among others. [via RSS Owl]

Resources for Educators

iLearn Technology blog has an article about Lego Magazine, which is available free for your elementary classroom.  The 2011 LEGO Club In-School Magazines have two themes: Ancient Egypt and Space Exploration.  The LEGO Club Junior (first  grade) includes puzzles, easy-to-read comics, and fun building challenges.  LEGO Club (second to fourth grade) focuses on basic reading, critical thinking games, and building ideas.  Each magazine comes with a custom teacher’s guide that include fun hands-on activities, classroom tidbits, and articles about how to create a LEGO Smart classroom for your students. [image credit:] – This one is probably for everyone, but since I know there are a lot of writing teachers … and teachers who talk about writing, this seemed like a logical fit. (via @LisaLearner – aka Lisa Tingey)

Unwrapping Literacy

This month’s video comes courtesy of Lee Wind and his post with video link to Sir Ken Robinson. Definitely read Lee’s post first, then watch the video. Yes, 12 minutes is a little longer than normal, but if you believe in the power of learning it is OH. SO. WORTH. IT.

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