Welcome to the February edition of the Tools for Reading and Literacy. This is a monthly annex to the Literacy and Reading News Roundup, a collaborative effort with Jen Robinson (Jen Robinson’s Book Page), Carol Rasco (Rasco from RIF), and me. I couldn’t do this Tools Roundup without the significant contributions – and incredible research skills – of Susan Stephenson of The Book Chook blog!
In each issue you will find 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!
Over the last month I’ve found some new-to-me blogs that speak to multiple audiences. Several of them are as a result of the Reading Tub hosting February’s I Can Read Carnival for New Readers.
- Beginning Reading Help is for any adult who is working to help a child learn to read. Michelle Breum publishes plenty of original post and has filled the blog with links to online reading games and favorite reading resources.
- Together Time for Families would seem to be for families, but it is for anyone who wants to engage children in the process of learning. I had never seen the Ben Franklin quote Susan uses in her header. Gotta go see it to read it.
- Multiculturalism Rocks! focuses on multiculturalism in children’s literature. I love Nathalie’s description “I find heritage months wonderful, however I also believe that one needs not to wait for a particular month to celebrate cultural diversity. Like any other mainstream successes, multicultural books are a wonderful source of information, provide a great escapism and, dare I say, promote world peace. What is there not to like? *smile*”
The Book Chook and her friends have just published Literacy Lava 8, a FREE online journal filled with ideas for engaging kids with reading, writing, and all-round creative fun. You can also download it in pdf format (which means you can put it on your eReader and enjoy it anywhere! There are a bunch of articles that naturally “pair off” this time: Dee White continues her series about kids writing storiesand Dawn Little talks about ways to use activities or props in creating and telling stories. Joyce Grant has a WONDERFUL 1-page cheat sheet with ideas to get kids reading and Stascy Loscalzo shares tips (and book recommendations) on reading aloud with a mixed-age audience. There’s more, but we’re not going to give it ALL away.
Resources for Kids
IXL Math – This is a site that our elementary school is using to help students build math confidence. Yes, it is a little bit beyond our usual scope, but as the tag line suggests this is “math for your left and right brain.” I love the mix of word and number problems, as well as the variety of presentation (vertical and horizontal number problems) within a particular skill area. The material is captivating and it gets you-know-who spending more time on math than we could have achieved on our own.
In response to a query within the Kidlitosphere Yahoo! Group, Wendy Old created a list with places kids can go to post their stories and poetry. For Teens Who Write is filled with links to author and teacher sites that have space for teens to post, as well as resources what let you upload your work. Wendie is going to be updating the list, so if you have a suggestion, be sure to leave it in the comments at Wendies’ Wanderings.
Resources for Parents
Picture Books and Pirouettes is the blog of children’s poet and dancer Kerry Aradhya. Kerry and guests not only review children’s books that have a dance connection, but also talk about them in the context of teaching dance. Very fun.
Kiboomu.com – There is a lot to love about this site created by two Montreal Moms. There pages with songs (and download links), crafts, and recipes. The front page is a blog, where you’ll find lots of ideas and book reviews, too.
Resources for Educators
Brenda Power and the folks at Choice Literacy have created a new Podcast Center where you can scroll through all of the podcasts and vodcasts by literacy experts like Donalyn Miller talking about engaging readers; Franki Sibberson‘s conversation with Patrick Allen; Gail Boushey and Joan Moser talking about writing journals; and lots, lots more [I kid you not!]
Reading is in the midst of a revolution … or is it? It’s interesting to contrast this 2009 video by Shift Happens with all of the discussions we’re having in 2011. In some ways so much has changed in two years, but in other ways, it’s still the same continuum. The “hottest” gadgets on the planet are / continue to be the ones that encourage (and some might say require) us to use our literacy skills — reading AND writing. 2011 could well be the year of the book App and thankfully, before we get too much further down the road, some of the most trusted sources for children’s and young adult literature are stepping in to help guide us. In an article for the Huffington Post, Monica Edinger (Educating Alice) offers a nice set of links to organizations who are reviewing Children’s Book Apps.
We have added a few new videos to the Videos about Reading page on the Wiki. Our goal is to expand the library with short, hands-on “tutorials” that demonstrate different ways to engage kids with literacy, particularly reading. This three-minute video shows you how to introduce a book before reading.