September is International Literacy month. To commemorate the day, help students build positive associations with literacy by taking home a book bag filled with items to encourage literacy interactions with their families.
Social storytelling fun; artwork inspires, but limits creative freedom
Pros: A huge collection of curated art provides kid-authors with distinct and inspiring illustrations.
Cons: Students can't add their own art to stories, which limits creativity a bit.
Bottom Line: For anyone interested in kid-authored storybooks, this is a great resource.
Site for reviewing and sharing books makes reading a social adventure
Pros: It's clean, colorful, and really appealing to young readers; all instruction is written in kid-friendly language.
Cons: There isn't much room for kids to write reviews in their own words.
Bottom Line: This safe, simple social network lets kids share their reading success with friends, creating healthy competition and confidence.
Well-structured lessons encourage deep analysis, thoughtful writing
Pros: High-interest texts can spark classroom discussions, and the CCSS-aligned critical reading framework provides helpful feedback tools for teachers.
Cons: Lessons/texts could be more timely. Further options for collaboration and discussion among students would make the platform more lively.
Bottom Line: This is a ready-to-go, research-backed resource that focuses intently on CCSS-aligned and AP-level critical reading and writing skills.
Boundless, flexible tools promote instructional, independent reading
Pros: Great teacher tools track progress with great visuals in real time; built-in texts make for especially easy use.
Cons: Quizzes may take the joy out of independent reading, especially for struggling readers.
Bottom Line: A stellar literacy platform for assessing student reading levels and promoting further reading.
Let's have some fun with the Dewy Decimal System! The Dewey Decimal system is a way to categorize books, just like a grocery store categorizes food. Introduce your students to the Dewey Decimal system using this hands-on activity. Students will organize grocery store items into related groups. This process will then be compared to the organization of books using the Dewey Decimal System. Students will end the lesson by organizing a selection of books in a library media center according to the Dewey Decimal Classification System.
Solid choice for leveled readings and progress-tracking
Pros: In addition to the huge library of leveled texts, teachers get a detailed view of students' progress, even as they read independently.
Cons: You won't find great literature in the program's libraries, and students may be enticed to speed through books just to earn points.
Bottom Line: Trusty -- if a tad dated -- tool for helping younger students become proficient in many aspects of reading.
Fairy tales have been an oral and written tradition in many cultures around the world. Share online fairy tales with your class by choosing one from this excellent resource. Many tales are told and retold through several different cultures and by many different authors.
The opposite of everything is celebrated on the 25th for Opposite Day. Check out this word game exploring antonyms then create an original story about them. For ideas click the nouns and opposites buttons until the opposites you want to write about appear.
Title: Whooo's Reading
Summary: Innovative take on independent reading ditches multiple-choice quizzes
Pros: Questions push students to read critically; supports a shared, meaningful independent reading program.
Cons: Avatars and rewards likely not suitable for older students; auto-generated questions can be too general.
Bottom Line: A convenient, well-intentioned tool for supporting a quality, interest-driven independent reading program, but make sure to tweak the auto-generated scores and questions.
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Valerie Bourbour is a certified educator and past Co-Director of The Academy of Ormond Beach. Ms. Bourbour has experience in online learning platforms and aims for student success.