Posts Tagged 'reading'

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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Ideas for Before/During/After Reading!

I Love to Read“I Love to Read” Image by Carlos Porto

I recently came across a fabulous article by Jim Burke on Reading Rockets titled, “103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading“. Given that I am about to lead several workshops on reading and digital literacy for parents at the Magrudy’s Education Resource Center, Jim’s article will surely be on my recommended reading list for moms and dads.

Upon clicking the above link, you will notice Jim’s article was originally written in 1998. While that might seem like ions ago to some, rest assured, the recommendations are still 100% relevant. That said, I thought it would be useful to create a supplement to Jim’s article that includes a few ideas on how recent software and web applications can be used to get kids excited and thinking about what they read Before/During/After a book!

Take a look at the ideas below and feel free to add your own in the comments section of this post!

Postcard: Write to a friend, the author, or to a character about this book.”

  • Select one student to be a character in the book you are reading and to write a blog post from that character’s point of view. Other students can then submit questions and ideas to the character via the comments section of the post. To learn how to set up a blog for this project, click here.

Mapmaker: Draw a map of the book’s setting.”

  • Have students create a Google Lit Trip–using Google Earth to document and map the settings within the book at hand. To learn how to use this tool, click here.

Trailer: Movie previews always offer a quick sequence of the best moments that make us want to watch it – storyboard or narrate the scenes for your trailer. Focus on verbs.”

  • Create a movie trailer in the form of a digital story using tools like VoiceThread or iMovie. For tips on how to get started, click here.

Collage: Create an individual or class collage around themes or characters in the book.”

  • Use Wordle to create a digital word collage around key themes, characters or vocabulary in the book.

Draw! Translate chapters into storyboards and cartoons; draw the most important scene in the chapter and explain its importance and action.”

Dear Diary: Keep a diary as if you were a character in the story. Write down events that happen during the story and reflect on how they affected the character and why.”

  • Have students create delightfully illustrated diary entries using the online collaborative storytelling tool Storybird.

Haiku/Limerick: Create one about a character.”

  • Use Twitter to share poems with parents and classmates.

Notes and Quotes: Draw a line down the middle of the page. On one side write down important quotes, on the other comment on and analyze the quotes.”

  • Create a collaborative “wiki-style” notes and quotes page using Google’s collaborative document tools. Feel free to host online book discussions using the live chat functions within the collaborative document applications.

Of course there is nothing wrong with a good ol’ fashion book review assignment, but why not share the reviews with other kids around the world? Check out the Spaghetti Book Club: Book Reviews By Kids For Kids.

Happy Reading!

Anna

Twitter: @bon_education

Website: Bon Education

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On October 8, 2009 Celebrate Literacy and Early Education with Millions Around the World

I recently received an email from Jumpstart about the wonderful literacy event above. See what Kisha has to say below and make sure to open a book with your children and the children of others on October 8th (as well as the rest of the year as well)!

To Reading!

Anna

Hey there,

Just from reading your site, I can tell you know the importance of developing
solid reading skills and improving reading comprehension in classrooms and
schools.

Please join Jumpstart’s Read For The Record on October 8th, 2009 and
celebrate the joy of reading with children. I’d truly appreciate you sharing
this message with your readers, by posting this PSA from Weeds’ star
Mary-Louise Parker on your website.

Read for the Record
www.readfortherecord.org

Link to Mary-Louise Parker Jumpstart PSA:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8agDSSiiDAA

Thanks in advance,
Kisha


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Widgets for the Literacy Enthusiasts

Reading Rockets had a number of very interesting reading widgets for parents and literacy enthusiasts! Check them out here.

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Shmoop will make you a better lover…

Love

of literature, history, poetry and life (or so the website claims)…

Shmoop is what I like to call CliffsNotes with panache!

Take a stroll through the literature section of the site and you’ll find countless study guides and resources to help you and your students discover and explore classics like Beowulf, the Pearl and Brave New World.

Click on Shmoops guide to The Great Gatsby and you will find an intro, summary, themes, quotes, plot analysis, study questions, characters, literary devices, trivia and more…

What I love about Shmoop, is its emphasis on the “Why should I care?” of literature. For example, why should a student of the 21st century take time out of his/her busy schedule of family, friends, Facebook, text messaging, sports, music, etc. to give Fitzgerald’s work the time of day? Shmoop writes:

The Great Gatsby is a delightful concoction of MTV Cribs, VH1’s The Fabulous Life Of…, and HBO’s Sopranos. Shake over ice, add a twist of jazz, a spritz of adultery, and the little pink umbrella that completes this long island iced tea and you’ve got yourself a 5 o’clock beverage that, given the 1920’s setting, you wouldn’t be allowed to drink.

The one thing all these shows and Gatsby have in common is the notion of the American Dream. The Dream has seen its ups and downs. But from immigration (certainly not a modern concern, right?) to the Depression (stock market crashing? We wouldn’t know anything about that), the American Dream has always meant the same thing: it’s all about the Benjamins, baby.

Yet Gatsby reminds us that the dollars aren’t always enough…

I’m skippin’ MTV today. Pass the F. Scott Fitzgerald please!

Anna

P.S. Don’t have a copy of The Great Gatsby on hand? Here is a free e-book. Thanks Shmoop!

P.P.S. Thanks zenera for creating the picture above!

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Open Education Efforts Around the Globe: Curriki

At the moment I am involved in a number of education, literacy and technology projects across the GCC. As a part of this work, I have the fortunate opportunity to meet with education stakeholders from the public, private and NGO sectors daily. It is so exciting to see so much energy and enthusiasm in the region around literacy and technology as highlighted by the upcoming Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature as well as the work EDC is currently doing to bring open source course materials and trainings to teachers across Yemen.

Every time I meet with universities and school teachers in the region, the same buzz words keep coming up:

  • 21st century skills
  • Technology literacy
  • Reading
  • Blogging, wikis, and other web 2.0 tools
  • International collaboration and global citizenship

Not surprising, these are the same buzz words I heard on a daily basis last year while working on education technology projects around the US!

In line with the aforementioned themes, there are a number of organizations across the globe creating platforms and initiatives to help teachers share lessons and best practices while at the same time building their own technology literacy skills. One such organization is a non-profit called Curriki:

Curriki is a social entrepreneurship organization that supports the development and free distribution of open source educational materials to improve education worldwide. The online community gives teachers, students and parents universal access to a wealth of peer-reviewed K-12 curricula, and powerful online collaboration tools. Curriki is building the first and only Web site to offer a complete, open course of instruction and assessment. Founded by Sun Microsystems in 2004, the organization has operated as an independent nonprofit since 2006.

With nearly 25,000 free education resources, Curriki is a site not to be missed! To start, take a look at the K-2 literacy resources here.

From Bahrain,

Anna

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Mad Libs!

1) Think of a noun: __________

2) Think of an adjective: __________

3) Think of a person’s name: __________

4) Think of a verb: __________

5) Now, fill in the blanks with your answers above…

My favorite book is titled, (noun). I adore this book because the main character (person’s name) is extremely (adjective). For example, in chapter three while preparing Thanksgiving dinner, he/she decides to (verb) while the turkey is cooking….

Does this exercise bring back any memories?!

One of my favorite elementary school pass times during long car trips to visit family members was playing Mad Libs with my sister and parents while driving on 495. So, when I came across Mad Libs Junior on FunBrain Reading, I had to play a few rounds!

Given that the holiday season means that inevitably your students will be spending time at home playing online games in between family gatherings, why not recommend that they play a few rounds of Mad Libs with family and friends? The game is perfect for practicing parts of speech and reading comprehension!

Happy (insert holiday)!

Anna

PS Thanks to the Literacy Web at UConn for pointing out this resource and many others on the page, “Literacy Websites for Students in Grades 5-6.”

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Looking for books that motivate your students to read?!

Help your students find books based on their reading levels and interests using Book Adventure!

By clicking what grade a student is in, what reading level he/she is at, what interests he/she has (ex: animals, poetry, performing arts, etc) and then hitting submit, the site will display dozens of book titles tailored to his/her needs!

I found this resource while browsing through Finding Dulcenea’s “Student Resources for Elementary Language Arts.” Finding Dulcenea is a “Librarian of the Internet.” The people behind the site do a phenomenal job at seeking out high quality internet resources to share. To learn more about how Finding Dulcenea scans the web for top notch sites, click here.

Anna

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Sesame Videos!

Recently I discovered Sesame Workshop’s online video collection. It is absolutely fabulous and on top of that it is free!

Use the search bar to find videos that target key literacy skills, science concepts and more! For example, if you type the word “reading” in the search bar here, you’ll be directed to dozens of Sesame clips that have been created over the years to help young children learn basic literacy skills. I absolutely adore the clip titled Doug E. Doug and Elmo!

This site is definitely worth bookmarking and sharing! Enjoy!

Anna

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Raising Readers: Literacy Activities for Parents and Children

PBS KIDS Raising Readers is a great resource to share with parents of preschoolers and rising kindergarteners. The site states:

Kids love to learn. And with your help, they’ll learn to love reading with resources from PBS KIDS programs Between the Lions, Sesame Street, SUPER WHY, and WordWorld.

With PBS KIDS Island, children ages 2-5 can play reading games, earn tickets, and collect prizes. Then, track your child’s progress and get activities, lesson plans and tips just for parents, caregivers and teachers with PBS KIDS Raising Readers.

We’re adding new features often, including a Word of the Day and games for children 6-8. Come back soon to see what’s new!

I spent some time scoping out the site this morning and was pleased with its contents. For example:

1) I like that the site has extension activities based on characters from popular children’s shows and stories. Of course this is to be expected from a site created by PBS, but having children think and talk about character they love and relate to goes a long way when it comes to motivating them to read! Take a look at Fairytale Memory. This is a terrific game to play after doing an at-home “unit” on fairytales! For a list of stories to start with, click here.

2) I’m a big fan of WordWorld, so when I saw the Build a WordThing Activity on Raising Readers, I had to give it a shout out! This activity is a nice way to begin exposing children to the alphabetic principle.

3) I absolutely love the online read alouds! Take a look at Night in the Country and Spicy Hot Colors.
4) Practicing literacy related activities every day is important, but it can be tough to think of new ideas day in and day out. With these suggestions from the PBS KIDS Reading Activity Calendar, parents will be inspired to try all sorts of new and interesting literacy activities. For example, during the month of July make sure to do literacy-related activities in celebration of Independence Day, Read an Almanac Month and Chocolate Day!
Another nice thing about PBS KIDS Raising Readers, is that the site comes in Spanish.
May your month be filled with many interesting literacy activities!
Anna

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FreeReading.net adds over 250 free new printables, lessons and readers!

I am excited to announce that FreeReading now has over 250 new and FREE K-3 vocabulary, comprehension and morphology activities and printables! In addition, we just added 60 new illustrated beginning readers that focus on advanced phonics (compound words, word families, etc.), fluency and comprehension skills!

Vocabulary lessons target tier 2 vocabulary words from ~150 popular children’s stories including books like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Fancy Nancy. To see all of the Vocabulary graphic organizers and build mastery activities click here. You can also find vocabulary activities by common themes such as family and friends and my world here.

Comprehension lessons focus on important skills and strategies such as identifying a purpose for reading, story elements, prediction and more. For links to all of the comprehension printables click here.

Morphology lessons include activities for the most popular prefixes and suffixes K-3 student encounter in texts and everyday conversations. For links to all of the morphology printables click here.

Finally, you can find links to 60 new illustrated FreeReading beginning readers here. I particularly like A Firefighter’s Thanksgiving and Transportation.

Check the new FreeReading resources out and tell your friends about FreeReading by sending them a link to FreeReading here.

Enjoy!

Anna

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Worksheets galore!

Yesterday, my colleague Cher introduced me to  ABCTeach. If you are looking for a place to get high quality printables for free, ABCTeach is not a site to be ignored! Below are links to a few things you might find of interest:

1) Sample rebus worksheet: A Picnic is Fun. Find more rebus worksheets here.

2) Henry and Mudge vocabulary worksheet

3) Literature Circle Planner

See you on ABCTeach!

Anna

Great resource for ELLs

Colorin Colorado is a great resource for educators and families of English language learners. Of particular interest are their Reading Tip Sheets for parents available in 11 different languages for Pre K- Grade 3.
Cynthia

PBS Teachers–Online education resource central!

While browsing through the Missouri Project Success Education Links, I came across the link to PBS Teachers. I love this site because it contains tons of lesson ideas, videos, online and offline activities you can do with your students to build comprehension, grammar, critical thinking and more. Searching for storytelling lessons, I found the lesson Story Magic–Telling Stories from Pictures:

Use new vocabulary and the three basic elements of a story: character, setting and plot to create and tell a story based on visual clues. Develop skills in cooperation and storytelling.

PBS Teachers is impressive! Feel free to pass this link along!

Anna

A FREE Curriculum Guide for Reading Mentors

Thanks Just Read Florida for sharing A Curriculum Guide for Reading Mentors! I particularly like the free worksheets/charts that start on page 175 of the guide, including poems, the weekly planning chart for independent student reading, the reciprocal teaching chart, the blank speed drill and more! -Anna


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