With this week’s posts focusing on Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day, reading takes center stage not only here but in classrooms and homes around the country. While reading is celebrated during this one very special day honoring a great author, when this week ends reading needs to continue in any way, shape, and form throughout the every day of the week.
As a former first grade teacher, I’m a strong advocate of literacy in any form. Exposing kids to fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, Sunday comics, reading recipes, and digital content are rich forms of text that provide kids with a wealth of words to increase their vocabularies, provide background information, deepen understanding about a topic, as well as just being fun.
I share electronic books, apps, educational toys, and sites that promote literacy for all ages through my site to aid parents as they allow their children to discover the pleasure reading. Children need novelty and whether a reluctant or avid reader, digital content provides interactive experiences and exposure to text in age appropriate ways that keep kids reading.
Here’s a roundup of some great educational websites and apps that I’ve found through my years of teaching, parenting, and publishing this blog that promote literacy for all kinds of readers at different stages and ages:
- BookFlix is an online literacy resource pairing fiction and nonfiction texts to reinforce early reading skills for kids in preK-3rd grade. The ad-free site relies on trusted educational companies like Weston Woods (a favorite of classroom teachers!) for the fiction video storybook titles and the nonfiction eBooks are by Scholastic and contain 85 fiction-nonfiction pairs that organized by theme. Graphics accompanying each of the categories make it easy for children to navigate the site and find favorite titles. Themes include Animals & Nature, Earth & Sky, People & Places, Music & Rhyme, Family & Community, ABC’s & 123’s, Adventure, Imaginations, and Celebrations. I love Bookflix so much that it’s included as a Website of the Week.
- One More Story is an online subscription story site that features a wonderful collection of stories that children can listen to while reading along. Besides listening to multicultural tales like Crow Boy, Little Miss Techie enjoys listening to favorites like Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig, Stellaluna, and A House is a House for Me. She also just discovered The Ugly Vegetable illustrated by Grace Lin. Captain Computer enjoys Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh and Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day. For my full review, visit my post titled Website of the Week: One More Story.
Literacy with Favorite Characters:
- SuperWhy has been proven to aid children in their acquisition of early literacy skills is because the show presents multiple experiences with storytelling and language in each episode. The well designed website is easy to navigate and allows beginning readers to have hands-on practice with the concepts they are exposed to through the show. A full review of the site can be found on my post: Learning with SuperWhy on PBSKIDS.org and PBS Parents & Teachers Sites
Harry Potter fans (aka Potterfiles) should make their way to the Harry Potter website specially designed for young readers as part of the The Real Magic of Harry Potter campaign. This site is for Potter-philes ages 7 and older and features games, spells, and mysteries for readers who are just beginning their adventures with Harry. The digital experience allows children to wield their wands via the mouse to unlock magic through Harry Potter themed games that correspond to each year at Hogwarts. Year 1 involves practicing wand skills while year 2 requires using logic to solve puzzles to turn teacups into turtles, buttons into beetles, and make dogs from rocks as part of transfiguration. For more information, read my post titled Scholastic’s Redesigned Harry Potter Site Introduces New Generation of Readers to Hogwarts.
Reading on the Go– Make the most of your travel time by taking audio books or interactive book apps wherever you go. Here are some of my favorite publishers:
PicPocket Books– PicPocket’s large selection that ranges from classic content from established publishers, simple board books for younger children, concept books, easy readers for those beginning readers, fairy tales, and the fact that there is a culturally diverse selection. I love that my kids can enjoy the same illustrations found in the print versions but that the picture book application allows them to listen to the text as it is read by the narrator, touch the screen to turn the pages, and learn to read by seeing words highlighted as they are read and replaying them with the touch of a finger.
Oceanhouse Media– Oceanhouse makes a great selection of engaging digital books for readers at all stages and I especially love them for the many Dr. Seuss titles they make available for reading on the go!
- Ruckus Media– Ruckus has an entire library of classic stories in the form of original apps for iPad, iPhone, Droid, and other mobile media platforms that are narrated by celebrities like Meryl Street, Denzel Washington, Garrison Keillor, Rosemary Wells, John Cleese, BB King, and Robin Williams. We love The Velveteen Rabbit!
- Audible Kids– Download favorite children’s titles in the form of audio books for on the go listening. Being able to listen to stories is a skill that differs from reading text on a page! Audible Kids features an easy to use site with a dizzying array of books for all ages.
Tales 2 Go– With an easy search format, this affordably priced ($24.99/year) service allows you to access stories on-demand in many ways on multiple devices. The service features over 1,300 audio stories from top publishers and storytellers and allows you to purchase only what you need.
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama