Archive for May, 2008

Another site to bookmark: FREE phonics, comprehension, vocab and fluency printables!

Today, while on a flight to Florida en route to give a FreeReading presentation, I spent some time going through emails and resources I bookmarked over the last few months. While doing so, I came across an email from my friend Cynthia recommending that I look at Steck-Vaughn’s Professional Development Resources. Once I arrived at my hotel this evening, I took a look at the site and was quite impressed by the number of free and high quality research articles and classroom resources in the areas of phonics/phonological awareness, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency.

For example, take a look at:

  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Readers Theater, found in the fluency section of the site)
  • The story map chart (found in the comprehension resources)
  • The Frayer Model worksheet (found in the vocabulary section of the site)
  • The Amazing Alliteration worksheet (found in the phonological awareness resources)

This is definitely a resource to bookmark for use during summer school or next fall!

Signing off from Ft. Lauderdale, FL!


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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!


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Universal Design for Learning: Scaffolded Online Readers from CAST

Last week my colleague Margaret forwarded me an email from the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). As the website states, the mission of CAST is “to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities, through the research and development of innovative, technology-based educational resources and strategies.”

I am a big fan of the UDL Editions by CAST. Universal Design for Learning Editions are online stories that incorporate multimedia scaffolds to help budding readers develop important comprehension skills such as the ability to predict, understand metaphors, etc.

Take a look at the story How the Coyote Stole Fire. Notice how CAST has created animated animal reading coaches that pop up to help children read and understand various sections of the book. In addition, readers and teachers can determine the level of scaffolding appropriate before beginning the text. The following bullets describe the scaffold settings available for this story:

  • Maximum support-“Stop and Think” prompts are multiple choice. Highlighting critical features, models, and hints available. Immediate feedback on responses.
  • Moderate support- “Stop and Think” prompts elicit constructed responses and text revisions to explore author’s craft. Highlighting critical features, models, and hints available. Immediate feedback on text revisions only.
  • Minimal support- “Stop and Think” prompts offer strategy choice and open responses. Students are guided to highlight and collect key elements in the text, thus actively highilghting critical features for themselves.

If you enjoy the UDL Editions by CAST, try exploring CAST’s UDL Lesson Builder and UDL Book Builder.


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Educational Research Newsletter

The Educational Research Newsletter is a site dedicated to keeping educators informed on the latest happenings in the research arena. Since 1988, Educational Research Newsletter has informed educators about the latest in education research in easy-to-read articles. Each month, ERN reports on some of the most relevant and useful research from leading journals and organizations.


If you don’t have a ton of extra time, like most teachers, then this site is worth checking out. You won’t have to spend hours combing through a complicated article to keep yourself informed. Make sure you check out this month’s article on Positive Behavior Reinforcement. – Melissa

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Primary Games

Primary Games is an excellent resource for teachers and parents. It can keep your child occupied for hours on a lazy summer day at home, or it can be a useful teaching tool in a computer center in the classroom. Language Arts Games include Hangman, Letter Blocks, Writer’s Block, See ‘N Spell, and many more. What a fun way to get children to practice basic phonics skills. All the games are free, but you may have to fight a few advertisements to get to them.- Melissa

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Worksheet Generator

I just discovered the Worksheet Generator from Discovery Education. This handy tools lets you create your own worksheets – fill in the blank, mulitple choice, matching, scramble, word chop – in seconds. What a great time saver for the end of the school year! There are also a variety of pre-made worksheets to check out. –Melissa

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Midwest Tech Forum Podcasts and Videos are up.

Last month Kellie Doubek and I presented a session titled “Supporting Reading and Literacy with Technology Tools” at Midwest Tech Forum. To listen to a podcast of the session, click here.

If you are interested in viewing the handouts from the session you can find them here. To see videos and podcasts from other presenters such as Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach click here.


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