Welcome to the first Tools for Reading and Literacy roundup for 2011. This is a monthly “annex” to the Literacy and Reading News Roundup that I write with Jen Robinson (Jen Robinson’s Book Page) and Carol Rasco (Rasco from RIF). Each issue is filled with 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!
One of my favorite resources “refreshes” itself every January 1 … I’m talking the Children’s and YA Bloggers Literary Award finalists, of course! Head over to the Cybils blog to see the finalists in each category. Consider this your first best-of list for 2011 … or as the Bibliovore (Maureen of Kid Tested, Librarian Approved) explains “If you’re a teacher, librarian, or parent, these shortlists are invaluable readers’ advisory.”
There is an ongoing discussion about book/literacy blogs in the Children’s Book discussion group on Goodreads. That is how I *met* Janice Floyd Durante and discovered Books of Wonder, a blog about “children’s literature that cultivates peace, justice, respect and curiosity.” You’ll also find a page with links to “awe-inspiring books and illustrators#mce_temp_url#”
Ever want to know when a particular Twitter chat is? or discover a conversation you didn’t know was going on? Then you’ll want to bookmark this Twitter Chat Schedule (it’s a Google spreadsheet). Some I knew: #kidlitchat and #poetrychat and #yalitchat, but there are some I didn’t: #poetparty and #read4change. There are also some missing chats, like Donalyn Miller and Paul W. Hankins’ weekly #titletalk, so if you know a relevant chat, head over to add it!
Here’s another “I wonder” kind of reference. Did you ever want to know what a word sounded like hundreds of years ago? Well the Online Etymology Dictionary helps you understand how a word was pronounced in the old days. [via @MarieRippel]
Resources for Kids
Figment.com is a just-launched FREE platform for young people to read and write fiction, with virtually any electronic device. Users are invited to write novels, short stories and poems, collaborate with other writers and give and receive feedback on the work posted on the site. There are forums and contests, as well as a blog and library. You can also follow them on Twitter @figmentfiction (via link to this New York Times article by @LonnieHodge – one of our Board members)
Resources for Parents
Some parents at the Portuguese International Charter School have started a blog to “communicate, exchange ideas, and thoughts about the many ways to help our children learn Portuguese.” This is a truly bilingual blog, as the posts are in English AND Portuguese. Jon Keller, one of the authors, introduced me to the blog, noting that they’d like to feature more children’s books with both languages. He has a wonderful plan with goals for sharing books in story time, and also wants to “start a campaign to appeal to kidlit authors/publishers to publish translations of their books in Portuguese.” Look for a post on that topic, soon.
I had a note in my inbox this morning about Touch and Tilt, Scholastic Media’s new “interactive storybook apps for the iPad.” Currently there are three stories available for your iPad: Go, Clifford, Go!; I Love You Through and Through; and Magic School Bus: Oceans. [links to YouTube preview videos] Since I don’t have an iPad yet [I’m waiting for the Blackberry Playbook] I asked about Touch and Tilt for other platforms. Here’s the answer: “Plans to format the “Touch & Tilt” apps for other platforms are in the early stages, and we will be in contact to follow up as those plans get firmed up.”
Resources for Educators
Book Trailers – Movies for Literacy – This is a fairly new resource, and Mark Geary explains that it is “the beginning of a website of short movies (generally 30 to 45 seconds) designed to increase student motivation to READ!” The main page has all of the trailers, but there is also a page for for Late Elementary readers and one for Adolescents. (via Susan Stephenson of the Book Chook)
Thanks to @SteveGaines62 and the 27 December Cville Daily (the new Twitter papers) I found iPads Help Autistic Children (Disabled World website). It is a pithy article that explains how iPads can help children who have difficulty communicating. These are the 21st Century literacy stories I love.