Archive for July, 2008

Library of Congress Early Literacy

Visit the Learning Page, from the Library of Congress, designed specifically for teachers. You will find everthing from lesson plans to professional development. A very unique feature of the Library of Congress’s resources for teachers is the American Memory Collection.


The Learning Page is designed to help educators use the American Memory Collections to teach history and culture. American Memory is an online archive of over 100 collections of rare and unique items important to America’s heritage. The collections contain more than 7 million primary source documents, photographs, films, and recordings that reflect the collective American memory. They are a treasure trove of unique personal items from another period in time – perhaps old records, letters with exquisite penmanship and arcane language, clothing, keepsakes, or faded photographs. These collections are ‘snapshots’ providing a glimpse into America’s past.

– Melissa

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Literacy Learning in the 21st Century

Today, I came across an interesting blog post about personal learning environments (PLEs) on the blog Social Learn. I particularly like the graphic organizers embedded within the post because they visually map out the various popular Internet applications that people use today to organize their life, share information, find information, etc. After reading the post, I decided to take a look at some of the Internet applications the post refers to that I was previously unaware of. As a 21st century educator, I think you will find the following applications very useful for your literacy classroom and beyond!

  1. Gliffy is a tool that allows you to easily create and share professional looking diagrams, flowcharts, floor plans, etc. Just think how useful this is for classroom brainstorming, storyboarding and mind mapping activities!
  2. Remember the Milk is on online task manager that helps you stay organized and remember to do important things like picking up milk on the way home from school, writing interim report cards, staying on top of faculty meetings, etc. The best part about it, is that you can add and access tasks from both your phone and the web and its free!
  3. Slideshare is a free online application that allows you to find and share slide presentations from people around the globe! Using this application, I searched for literacy presentations and came across the presentation below by David Warlick on Literacy Learning for the 21st Century. This presentation is a great reminder that as we prepare children to be literate for the 21st Century (the Information Age), we must aim to teach them how to teach themselves. Warlick writes, “For the first time in history our job as educators is to prepare our students for a future that we cannot clearly describe.”

Take a look at the presentation below! Very thought provoking in terms of its pedagogical implications for the literacy classroom!


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Read for the Record

Jumpstart’s Read for the Record is a campaign designed to promote early literacy. As stated on their website, the number of books in a home is the single strongest indicator of a child’s future reading ability. When you make a donation to Jumpstart, they give books to those children who need them the most. In addition, Jumpstart connects at-risk children preschool children with adult mentors, to help them get on the right track with books before they even enter kindergarten.


You can help Jumpstart on October 2, 2008. Jumpstart is encouraging every adult everywhere on this day to take a few minutes and read the book Curdoroy to a child in his or her life. Read with your community on October 2nd and show your support!


Jumpstart also highlights several other ways you can get involved to make a difference. This website can help you organize your own book drive or join an event in your neighborhood. Learn more about the risks of failing early literacy and make a difference! – Melissa

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Words of a Feather!

The summer is a good time to brush up your own vocabulary while your students are on holiday. Therefore, why not play a few rounds of this tricky etymology game on the site Words of a Feather. The site states:

Words of a Feather is a book of doublets: word pairs that trace to a common source. An example is card & chart. Both come from the Latin charta, “leaf of paper.”

What is the doublet of demin–Denis, dense or Nimes?! Play the etymology game to find out!

Thanks to Debbie Shults for recommending this site and other vocabulary instruction tips and resources in her recent article titled, “Vocabulary Instruction: The Non-amorphous Shape of Word Knowledge.”



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Eye on the Sky

I recently discovered Eye on the Sky while surfing the web. The mission of Eye on the Sky is to foster early literacy through science and technology.


Project FIRST has focused its efforts on the collaborative development and on-line publication of integrated science/literacy teaching materials. This site contains engaging inquiry-based and hands-on science activities developed and tested by UC Berkeley educators and scientists at the Center for Science Education @ SSL in partnership with classroom teachers.


The program features a cluster of lessons on the Sun-Earth connection, simultaneously focusing on reading and writing skills. The program includes unique activities such as making a solar eclipse book and making a sundial. I encourage you to check it out. – Melissa

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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!


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Reach out and Read

Reach out and Read is a national nonprofit organization that aims to put books into the wating rooms of peidatiric offices all over the country. In addition, they train doctors and nurses to discuss the importance of early literacy with parents.


Reach Out and Read trains doctors and nurses to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud and to give books to children at pediatric check-ups from six months to five years of age. A special focus is placed on children growing up in poverty. By building on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers, Reach Out and Read helps families and communities cultivate early literacy skills so that children enter school prepared to succeed at reading.


You can help this worthwhile organization by making a donation or signing up for a ROR Visa Card, which donates money for each new account. Attend an event and spread the word! – Melissa

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