Posts Tagged 'books'

Inspiring Guys to Read!

When I was working as a product manager for FreeReading, one of the questions I consistently heard from educators and researchers at literacy conferences and in the classroom is, “Where can I find books that appeal to teenage boys, especially books for striving teenage male readers?” Having just discovered Guys Read a couple of days ago, I wish I could go back and revisit those old conversations and point the people I spoke with to the Guys Read Virtual Vault of Good Books.

As the Guys Read website points out:

Research shows that boys are having trouble reading, and that boys are getting worse at reading. No one is quite sure why. Some of the reasons are biological.  Some of the reasons are sociological. But the good news is that research also shows that boys will read — if they are given reading that interests them… This is the place to come if you’re looking for something to get a guy reading. We’ve collected recommendations from teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers, parents, and guys themselves.  These are the books that guys have said they like.

Finally! The site we’ve all been asking for!

When you visit Guys Read, make sure to check out:

If I had to give one recommendation to Guys Read, I would request longer book reviews and a section of the site devoted to notes from guys in the field including book reviews and summaries written by male readers so that guys (and gals) would have a better sense of what each recommended read is about.

Regardless, this is a fabulous resource that is a must-bookmark for guys and literacy enthusiasts alike! Thanks to author and Brooklyn resident Jon Scieszka for starting Guys Read. This site is most certainly filling a huge need!

From a former Brooklynite who now lives in Dubai,

Anna

@bon_education

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Audiobooks on the Go…

My Travel Gear by Jon Rawlinson

Over the last month and a half I’ve been to Dubai, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Amsterdam, San Juan PR, San Germán PR, Charlotte NC, NY NY, Washington DC and Fairfax County VA logging dozens of hours in planes, cars and buses, not to mention several back issues of Wired Magazine, Julie and Julia, bits of Over Promise and Over Deliver, Match Me If You Can (audio) and the beginning of The Pillars of the Earth (audio). If it weren’t for my trusted iPod and large purse (which fits my laptop plus a book), my travels to and from schools to universities to family would have been very LOOOONG!

Luckily Audible and iTunes have a wonderful selection of audiobooks that can be downloaded from just about any country or airport savvy enough to grace its customers with free wifi (I know, if I had an iPhone I wouldn’t always be on a desperate hunt for hotspots! One gadget at a time!). Regardless, if you dine on audiobooks at the rate I do, you are likely to put on a few pound in the credit department!

Fortunately, Lit2Go might be just be the audiobook lovers version of Weight Watchers–Dine on what you want, but in portions that you won’t regret later. Who could pass up a delightfully free and high quality The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn audio/text? Or, a gratis afternoon of Jane Eyre?!

The site states:

Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format. You can:

  • Download the files to your Mp3 player and listen on the go,
  • Listen to the Mp3 files on your computer,
  • View the text on a webpage and read along as you listen,
  • Print out the stories and poems to make your own book.

Happy audiobook searching by author, title, keyword or reading level!

Anna

PS Thanks to Jim Moulton for point out this resources and many others in his Edutopia article, “How to Become More Tech Savvy This Summer“. The photo above was taken by Jon Rawlinson.

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Will your lessons stand the test of time? … How to make your teaching stick!

Made to Stick

What is a pomelo?

(Please pause and think.)

Chip and Dan: Explanation 1: A pomelo is the largest citrus fruit. The rind is very think but soft and easy to peel away. The resulting fruit has a light yellow to coral pink flesh and can vary from juicy to slightly dry and from seductively spicy-sweet to tangy and tart.

Question: If you mixed pomelo juice half and half with orange juice, would it taste good?

Anna: Not sure? How about now?

Chip and Dan: Explanation 2. A pomelo is basically a supersized grapefruit with a very thick and soft rind.

Anna: Now, let’s revisit: If you mixed pomelo juice half and half with orange juice, would it taste good?

This summer while perusing the shelves of Borders, Barnes and Noble and Kinokuniya, make sure to keep an eye out for Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck.

Chip and Dan will show you how to teach complex concepts in easy to grasp terms. In a nutshell, you will learn WHAT STICKS!

Anna

P.S. Preview: Sticky ideas are a S.U.C.C.E.S.—Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories.

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Help your students visualize the stories they read with Google Lit Trips!

Help your students understand the stories they read at a whole new level with Google Lit Trips! The site states, “Using Google Earth, students discover where in the world the greatest road trip stories of all time took place… and so much more!”

Imagine teaching Make Way for Ducklings with a tool that enables your students to visually follow the journey of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard as they look for a safe home for their family. Using Google Earth, students can track the Mallard family as the travel from the Public Garden to Beacon Hill to the State House and more! When students click on each location on the Make Way for Ducklings Google Earth file, they can see real pictures and learn factual background information about every place in the story!

This is an incredible tool for helping students visualize and learn about the places they encounter in stories! To get started on your journey with Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and other characters from famous children’s novels:

  • Download Google Earth (click here to download the program for free)
  • Return to Google Lit Trips
  • Click on one of the grade level links at the top of the page
  • Find a Lit Trip that suits your fancy!
  • Enjoy exploring!

Off to the Public Garden with the Mallards!

Anna

PS Thanks Kate Reavey (Peninsula College) for supplying the YouTube video above!

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Google Books!

Who doesn’t like free books?!

A colleague recently reminded me about Google Books.

Google Books allows users to search for books, browse through books and in cases where the book is out of copyright or the publisher has given permission, readers can see a preview of the book and/or the entire text. (To learn more about other Google Books features, click here.)

Since I had a bit of time this evening before joining my husband for dinner, I decided to play around with the site to see what types of books Google has to offer…

Using Google Books’ advance search function, I found a full copy of If I had a Million Onions (by Sheree Fitch) and The Paper Dragonfly (by Mary Watson). (To see a list of other children’s books Google Books has in “full view,” click here.)

As a lover of books and all things digital, I have to say… Google has done it again! What a great resource! Bravo!

Happy reading!
Anna

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Summer Reading

Reading Rockets has a nice resource for parents, teachers and librarians titled Summer Reading. Take a look at the resources and tips the site provides to “prevent the summer slide.”

Resources for parents can be found here.

Resources for teachers and librarians can be found here.

Heading to the beach this summer? Here is a great list of children’s Books for the Beach!

I just got back from the beach where I spent my afternoons reading Eat, Pray, Love and The Unbearable Lightness of Being overlooking the San Juan sand!

Cheers to great summer reads!

Anna

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Wouldn’t it be fun to make a classroom book?!

Last weekend I attended my sister’s college graduation at Virginia Tech. Since the drive to Tech is a bit long, my family had lots of time to catch up. While talking about FreeReading with my father, he mentioned that I should spend time on the website blurb.

Blurb is a website and service that allows you to turn your photos, text and artwork into beautiful and professionally bound books. For examples of the types of books you can make using this site, click here. My father’s good friend Andy Ilachinski uses blurb to create books of his photographs. Andy highly recommends the site, which in my mind is the equivalent of giving blurb a Michelin star!

Just imagine how much fun it would be for your students to create a professionally bound class book filled with student poetry, illustrations and more!

Have fun!

Anna

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Integrating Themes from Science, Social Studies and More into your ELA Block

While exploring the Teaching Matters Top-Ten Resources page, I learned about Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature site. My favorite part of the site is a section titled, Curriculum Areas. Carol writes, “The curriculum areas listed here each have one or more pages on this site with information such as: related children’s books, activities, related professional books and links to related sites on the internet.” The following is a sampling of some of the curriculum areas she features:

1) Appalachia

2) Flight and Planes

3) Fools and Tricksters

Carol’s list is super extensive! Whether you’re interested in doing a unit on quilts or buildings, Carol’s got a book and activity recommendation that is sure to make your students excited to read and explore!

Anna

Looking for literature recommendations for your elementary school students?

My colleague Cynthia shared this link with me today. eMINTs National Center has compiled a list of recommended reads including great books for boys, great books for girls, and more!

Happy book recommending!

Anna

KidsClick! (a search engine for kids)

While browsing through Librarian Chick’s website, I came across KidsClick! web search for kids by librarians. This is a fun and educational website that you can use to teach children how to use a search engine. Furthermore, KidsClick! contains lists of useful links such as this page on books. -Anna

Silly Books

Silly Books is a great new website for teachers.  All children, ages 4 through 16, are invited to “publish” their books on the website.  All writing is accepted.  As an additional motivator, each month the site turn the best story into an animated flash book!   

Welcome to SillyBooks.net where every child’s story gets published. All of our kids are authors! And every month one story is produced as an animated book, complete with voices, music and sound effects for all to enjoy. There are even cash prizes for the winning authors. SillyBooks.net is an animated world of free reading, writing and learning fun for kids. 

This site is incredibly useful in the classroom.  It motivates students to write by giving them a place to publish their books.  All kids love to see their work going somewhere.  It is also a great place for students to brainstorm different writing ideas, by seeing what kids in classrooms across the country are doing.

-Melissa

Recommended Read: Proust and the Squid, The Story and Science of the Reading Brain

The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf

One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is to catch up on reading that I’ve meant to do all year! During the year, I often read magazines, journals and the paper, but I never quite get through as many books as I intend. So recently, I’ve been on a book kick! After reading Super Crunchers (Check out chapter 7 for a fascinating discussion on direct instruction!) and In the Time of the Butterflies (Don’t you just love Julia Alvarez!), I decided to pick up a book my father gave me at Thanksgiving: Proust and the Squid, The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf.

Proust and the Squid is a fascinating read on how the brain learns to read. Wolf (a professor of child development at Tufts University) manages to cover much of the major research on the science and pedagogy of reading using such engaging prose that you feel like you’re reading a novel–a page-turner at that! She covers the work of Catherine Snow, Irene Fountas, Gay Sue Pinnell, Jeanne Chall and many many more! Part II, How the Brain Learns to Read Over Time should be an essential read for all elementary school teachers as it covers that critical stages a child passes through on his/her way to becoming a reader! One of my favorite things about this book are the quotes from literature that Wolf weaves throughout her discussion. Reading the following quote on the subway yesterday just made me want to curl up and read a book, Wolf’s book!

In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own, I learned who I was and who I wanted to be, what I might aspire to, and what I might dare to dream about my world and myself. But I felt that I, too, existed much of the time in a different dimension from everyone else I knew. There was waking, and there was sleeping. And then there were books, a kind of parallel universe in which anything might happen and frequently did, a universe in which I might be a newcomer but was never really a stranger. My real, true world. My perfect island. -Anna Quindlen (pg. 109 of Proust and the Squid)

-Anna

International Digital Children’s Library–Free Online Children’s Books!

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I had some time to explore the web for new reading resources. This morning I learned about the International Children’s Digital Library. This is an excellent online resource filled with illustrated books in numerous languages from around the world. The site states that the Library’s mission is:

To support the world’s children in becoming effective members of the global community – who exhibit tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas — by making the best in children’s literature available online free of charge. The Foundation pursues its vision by building a digital library of outstanding children’s books from around the world and supporting communities of children and adults in exploring and using this literature through innovative technology designed in close partnership with children for children.

To search for books, click here. Notice how the site contains both fiction and non-fiction books, as well as short picture books and longer chapter books! As a former English as a Second Language teacher and a student of Spanish, I was happy to see books like Angles Ride Bikes/Los Ángeles Andan en Bicicleta–that contain passages in both English and Spanish. The site also has books in Japanese, Farsi, Yiddish and more! This is a fabulous resource. Please spread the word!

Thanks to Kim Tabor for suggesting this site in her June 2007 Teacher Librarian article titled, “Great Educational and Fun Web Sites to Explore During the Summer.” -Anna


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