Ideas and resources to help parents support reading

This collection includes handouts and web resources to share with parents in support of reading at home. There are also great tools to use in classroom projects students can create as part of a reading activity. Be sure to read "In the Classroom" portions of reviews for loads of ideas. Invite parents to see the projects online so your students can revisit them and reinforce learning at home. Reading is everywhere!

 

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Activity of the Month - Dr. Jean

Grades
K to 1
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This site offers a list of monthly "newsletters" full of teaching ideas and parenting tips/suggestions. Each months activities reflect the seasons and their special holidays. Many...more
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This site offers a list of monthly "newsletters" full of teaching ideas and parenting tips/suggestions. Each months activities reflect the seasons and their special holidays. Many activities include letters, words, and book activities. Besides the basic activity, quite a few of the monthly offerings include downloadable books to print and use, original song lyrics, and links to other related websites. This site is great to use with young ESL/ELL students too who need lots of fun reinforcement with learning the alphabet and pre-reading skills. This site includes many math activities as well.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): crafts (40), literacy (102), poetry (229), preK (275), seasons (37), songs (52)

In the Classroom

This site is excellent for enrichment. Share this link on your teacher web page and/or in a parent newsletter for those who trying to encourage the habit of reading and handling books.

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Story Blocks - Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy

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K to 1
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This early literacy site contains many video clips to assist parents and teachers in getting students ready to read. Rhymes and songs are modeled for use with younger children. ...more
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This early literacy site contains many video clips to assist parents and teachers in getting students ready to read. Rhymes and songs are modeled for use with younger children. Each aspect of literacy is explained before you hear the targeted text. Materials are available in both Spanish and English.

tag(s): literacy (102), poetry (229), rhymes (33), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Use the songs and chants on these videos to interest children in reading. Many songs and rhymes have actions that the children can do while saying the text. Have the children lead the class once they are familiar with offerings. Project the rhymes on your interactive whiteboard and follow along with the motions on the screen. Write down some of the words in the song and use them as sight words for the week. Have student helpers hold up the "sight word" as it is shared. Choose 3-5 new words from each rhyme. Share this site with ESL and learning support staff.

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Welcome to Mrs. Waltke's Literacy Page - Kristi Watkie

Grades
K to 5
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Literacy coach Mrs. Waltke's web page is full of resources to support the teaching of reading and writing. At first glance, the site is "old fashioned," but don't be fooled! ...more
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Literacy coach Mrs. Waltke's web page is full of resources to support the teaching of reading and writing. At first glance, the site is "old fashioned," but don't be fooled! This site appears to support only a Scott Foresman curriculum in Tennessee, and also created solely for kindergarten students. By digging a little bit deeper you will discover many useful tools, links, and lesson ideas. Download free resources such as sight word flipbooks, checklists, word ladders, and dominoes. Many of the links are to sites designed for kindergarten students; however, others include links to activities for all elementary students. Kristi Waltke's site is a portal of valuable resources that reflect a wide range of professional knowledge and collaboration skills.

tag(s): assessment (99), guided reading (46), literacy (102), reading comprehension (114), reading strategies (43), spelling (168), writing (355)

In the Classroom

Educators new to teaching or changing grade levels will find a wealth of useful advice such as; on how to build a chart stand with PCV pipes, use Elkonian boxes, and develop reading fluency. Veteran teachers, literacy coaches, and school leaders will find Mrs. Waltke's site a model to emulate in their own school. An impressive part of this site is the Excel template weekly lesson plan that integrates a drop down menu of state standards Tennessee. This is a great way help educators target specific subsets of skill while creating curriculum, documenting, and sharing lesson plans. Share a link or two at time with parents for at home practice or extra help for individual students.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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TeachersFirst's Audio Books with Text Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books with accompanying text so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature...more
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books with accompanying text so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature and other reading selections in audio form as they reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment. Be sure to explore each site, as many include multiple types of activities, including the audio books and texts.

tag(s): audio books (32), preK (275)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways.

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TeachersFirst's Interactive Audio Books Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books in interactive form so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience reading with...more
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books in interactive form so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience reading with audio and visual prompts or interactivity to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment as they read. Be sure to explore each site, as many include multiple types of activities, including the interactive books.

tag(s): audio books (32)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the audio books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways.

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TeachersFirst's Audio Books Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature and other reading...more
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature and other reading selections in audio form to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment.

tag(s): audio books (32), listening (92), preK (275)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the audio books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways.

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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Webquest - Pershing Middle School teachers-San Diego, California

Grades
5 to 8
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This engaging, standards based webquest enables students to put themselves in the same time and place as the characters of this historical fiction novel to gain a better understanding...more
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This engaging, standards based webquest enables students to put themselves in the same time and place as the characters of this historical fiction novel to gain a better understanding of life for the African Americans during the 1930s, while reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. The integrated language arts tasks take students through the process of analyzing the characters and their motivation for reacting the way they do. Easy to use rubrics are provided for evaluating students' work. Several of the research links (under Process) are not active. However, this webquest could still be very useful, as the material is solid, students would simply need to find their own research to use.

tag(s): black history (59), racism (18)

In the Classroom

As you plan to teach the novel, include this well-organized webquest as part of the ongoing and post reading learning activities. Use it in its entirety or choose parts to meet your time frame and purpose. Attention is given to all aspects of literacy: reading, critical thinking, writing, infusion of technology, and presentation. Both individual tasks and group work is involved. Students are active participants, and everything they need to increase their appreciation for this literary work is available to them, including vocabulary, clear instructions, and links for further information and details. You may want to find some additional research links for students to use to replace the links no longer active. You may want to share the project with social studies teachers for a joint effort and shared time. Introduce it on your classroom whiteboard or projector, and then make sure that you have scheduled time in the computer lab or with a class set of laptops. Students can jazz up their multi-media presentations by creating an online book using Bookemon reviewed here, or a podcast by using Podomatic (reviewed here). Be sure to make them directly available from your class webpage to share with colleagues and parents.
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Tar Heel Reader - University of North Caroline

Grades
K to 12
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Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide...more
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Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide free resources to give everyone an opportunity to learn to read and write. All books are free and available for download as slideshows using PowerPoint, Impress, or Flash. Book topics include biographies, fairy tales, history, science, math, nursery rhymes, poetry, food, and more! All stories have speech enabling, can come in as many as fourteen different languages, and are compatible with touch screens. Since a wide range of age groups use this site, they have a rating system to suggest what is suitable for younger readers. Tar Heel Reader is also a great way to write books. Upload images from your computer or Flicker, add text, create, and share student stories with an authentic audience of readers. Tar Heel Reader is a great way to engage students with reading material, increase class participation, and create inclusive instruction for those with illiteracy or learning disabilities.

** This site does contain some materials NOT suitable for all classrooms. Be sure to read the "rating" system, and contribute your own opinions (as the ratings are only as reliable as the pool of contributing voters). Books rated 'E' are meant for everyone but a 'C' means to use caution as it may not be proper material for some. Determine what titles are suitable and save them to the favorites file for students to access.

tag(s): literacy (102)

In the Classroom

Increase your big book collection ten fold by projecting Tar Heel Readers onto an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use interactive shared reading lessons to strengthen student recognition of common sight words, concepts of print, decoding skills, and use syntax cues and unlock the meaning of text. Ask students to circle known sight words, count the number of words in a sentence, trace capital letters, or point to the first letter of a word during a choral read. Help ESL/ELL students by creating books out of photos from class field trips, events, or experiments. Integrate text that uses key vocabulary words and creates reading materials that are both relevant to grade level curricular standards and match your student's readability level. All books you publish on the web site are public domain and available to all other users. Be sure to get parent permission before publishing student books on-line. In order to create a book, users will need to register. Unfortunately, this requires users to email gb@cs.unc.edu to request of an invitation code. With this code, simply create a username, submit your name, and email address. Set up a single teacher account and have all the students use that login to avoid safety concerns. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further reading practice.
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Kinder Site - Joel Josephson & Ziv Avidor

Grades
K to 6
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This international, award winning site provides a large collection of games, stories and songs for pre-school and kindergarten age children. They are beginning to extend similar services...more
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This international, award winning site provides a large collection of games, stories and songs for pre-school and kindergarten age children. They are beginning to extend similar services for children age seven to twelve. English Language learners may be able to access the site in their primary language as the site is available in seven languages. Some stories, songs, and games on the English speaking site are in Spanish. You can search for material by age, content, or by "educational," "playability," or "fun" value. Save appropriate activities on your "my page" for future use. There are some advertisements and a few video ads before interactive activities meant for older students. Ignore the advertising; the site content is worth it. Every link and site on Kindersite conforms to "Department of Children, Schools and Families" (UK) guidelines for safe sites for children.

Kindersite collaborates with outside institutions to develop educational projects that compile resources, generate new curriculum models, create training materials, and implement teacher-training seminars. Researchers can gather user data from Kindersite that represents varying population sizes, geographical groupings, and languages.

General Tips and Reminders: Some sites originate from the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English. There is some advertising on the right side of the page. Some links may direct students to sites that also contain advertising. Warn your students to avoid them.

tag(s): literacy (102)

In the Classroom

Invigorate shared reading with Kindersite's songs and stories. View the colorful illustration and text on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Some stories and songs highlight the tracking of words. Other sites provide character voices when you click the text in quotations. The animation will definitely engage everyone even those who wiggle on the carpet. Differentiate computer centers with the "my page" function. Save interactive tasks that target the instructional needs of students. Make a shortcut to the "my page" site collections on classroom computers and use it as a center. Be sure to take advantage of the professional resources Kindersites provides as well. Post a link to this site on your school website for parents to access at home.
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Voices in the Dark - Sean Puckett and Dawn Keenan

Grades
K to 12
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The website "Voices in the Dark" is a source for audio recordings of classic novels, legends, poems, and essays. There are approximately 150 ageless titles such as Charles Dickens's...more
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The website "Voices in the Dark" is a source for audio recordings of classic novels, legends, poems, and essays. There are approximately 150 ageless titles such as Charles Dickens's "Christmas Carol" and Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Each audiobook comes with an accompanying text transcript and are typically short. Receive regular updates by subscribing to their syndication feeds through RSS or podcasts. The audio files come in both low and high bitrates MP3 files that will match your computer's storage space and Internet bandwidth capabilities.

tag(s): fluency (23), literacy (102)

In the Classroom

Engage your class in real world learning while building fluency and reading skills. "Voices in the Dark" is always looking for people to contribute to their on-line library of audio books. Consider having your class submit an audio recording of their own to the collection. First choose a genre to focus on such as Fairy Tales or Aesop Fables. Review the page that contains directions on how to select stories, create a recording, and submit work. There is a list of links full of public domain books from which to choose. They provide tips on how to record your reading and directions on how to submit your work. Sites such as Audio Pal reviewed here may be helpful in creating your recordings. Of course, check with your administrator before attempting this project and obtain parent permission before sharing or posting student work.

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Building Schoolwide Literacy With Free Web 2.0 Tools: A Grade by Grade Elementary Model - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 8
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TeachersFirst offers this model for elementary (or middle) schools to build skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening systematically in a schoolwide model including students,...more
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TeachersFirst offers this model for elementary (or middle) schools to build skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening systematically in a schoolwide model including students, teachers, and parents. The free web 2.0 tools suggested here are by no means the only tools that might work. These exemplary tools were chosen by the TeachersFirst Editors for ease of use and versatility in classroom and home use, and could easily be implemented at grade levels other than those suggested here. As students and teachers master a new tool at each grade level, they develop rich literacy skills and vital technology skills, all in the context of reading, writing, speaking and listening across the curriculum.

tag(s): listening (92), speaking (24)

In the Classroom

Explore the tools and project suggestions by grade for your individual use as a teacher or work together with others in your school to build literacy across all subjects and grades by systematically adopting and repeatedly using a fixed collection of tools so students master the tool skills as an aside to reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Try the practical suggestions for implementing this model in your school or grade level team.

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Monkey Business - Houghton Mifflin

Grades
K to 2
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The Monkey Business game for sentence word order and others on this site develop early language and reading skills using activities and interactives full of rich stories and characters...more
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The Monkey Business game for sentence word order and others on this site develop early language and reading skills using activities and interactives full of rich stories and characters to engage students in learning adventures. It is part of the Earobics series from Houghton Mifflin which teaches the foundation of literacy and reading skills that are building blocks for many state curricula. You need not use this series to benefit from the games, however. Monkey Business is one of many activities in the Games Goo section of the Earobics program. The Parent and Teacher pages of Game Goo describe each activity in detail and list the educational standards that are addressed. Click to Quit this game to visit the Home page and other options.

tag(s): literacy (102)

In the Classroom

Use Monkey Business and other GameGoo stories to help students develop early reading and language skills and reinforce skills taught in class. Introduce this site (and activities) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Why not use this site as a language arts learning center to reinforce sequencing skills? Headphones will ensure that other students are not distracted or confused by sounds when multiple games are being played in stations or a lab.
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Reading is Fundamental - Parent Resources - Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

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K to 8
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The celebrated RIF program offers this site for parents to support their children's literacy. You will find resources from infancy to the teenage years and some for the entire family....more
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The celebrated RIF program offers this site for parents to support their children's literacy. You will find resources from infancy to the teenage years and some for the entire family. While there is more available for younger children (through elementary school), the Whole Family area and some of the activities are enjoyable for teens, as well. Click to find practical tips to support your growing readers, monthly features, interactive books, activities for family heritage, authors, polls, a personal bookshelf to collect book recommendations, and more. You can even search for activities by age and activity type.

tag(s): authors (118), literacy (102)

In the Classroom

Provide this link to parents in support of your in-school reading program. Struggling students can use RIF's Reading Planet (reviewed here) or Leading to Reading (reviewed here) activities both at home and at school to provide the repetition and review they need for skill mastery. Be sure to share this link before school breaks so parents can support literacy at home to prevent "summer slide."
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RIF Kids: Reading Planet - Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

Grades
K to 5
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RIF, the long-established organization for promoting reading, offers this site for school-aged readers and their parents. Young readers may join (or not) and access activities to do...more
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RIF, the long-established organization for promoting reading, offers this site for school-aged readers and their parents. Young readers may join (or not) and access activities to do alone or with family (Activity Lab), book ideas (Book Zone), writing starters and contests (Express Yourself), and educational games (Game Station). Many of the activities are ready to go in a classroom or at home. Several of the activities are available in both English and Spanish. New writing activities appear monthly, including story starters for members to complete. Feature authors and new additions make this site worth a look every month.

tag(s): authors (118), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Many of the games would be terrific as literacy centers or on an interactive whiteboard or projector to reinforce basics. Make this link available on your class web page for parents, students, and younger siblings to access from home. Parent notifications on games and contests with prizes and required parental consent for students to join make this a very safe site. Teachers may want to offer some of the writing contests as regular classroom activities or for enrichment or to adapt them for use with newer technologies. The visual poetry idea, for example, would work well as an interactive book created using Bookemon, reviewed here. Each student could make a visual poem and illustration in a whole-class book.
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Reading is Fundamental - Educator Resources - Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

Grades
K to 5
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There's plenty to see in this educator's page from the long-running RIF program. There are useful tips and resources for teachers and others interested in fostering reading, writing,...more
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There's plenty to see in this educator's page from the long-running RIF program. There are useful tips and resources for teachers and others interested in fostering reading, writing, and literacy skills in young children and elementary students. There are lesson plans in pdf format, links to activities on RIF's Reading Planet site, downloadable literacy activity calendars (English and Spanish), and much more. Especially useful is the Activity search for lessons and more for different curriculum strands and ages. Though many are geared for younger children (preschool and primary grades), there are some options for upper elementary, as well, including interdisciplinary lessons to include music, etc.

tag(s): literacy (102), literature (275)

In the Classroom

Explore this site in conjunction with the student options on RIF's Reading Planet (reviewed here) and Leading to Reading (reviewed here). As you plan new literacy centers, be sure to explore the options here. You may also want to share the link to the parent area of the RIF site on your class web page so parents can promote literacy at home. Not sure if the home has Internet access? Send the monthly literacy calendars home via backpack express and offer Reading Reward points for completed activities students bring in to share with the class. Reading Rewards points can be good for a free book or extra time on the classroom computer exploring (what else?) RIF activities! Reading specialists, principals, teachers, and literacy coaches will be interested in sharing some of the articles with other professionals and paraprofessionals.

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Literacy Connection Calendar - Literacy Network

Grades
K to 3
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Wonder no more what parents can do each day during Reading Month (March). This online calendar gives parents 31 separate primary level reading activities to do during that month or...more
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Wonder no more what parents can do each day during Reading Month (March). This online calendar gives parents 31 separate primary level reading activities to do during that month or any time. Each activity explains how it fits into literacy, whether it boosts comprehension, increases fluency, or enhances vocabulary. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a pdf version of the activities.

tag(s): literacy (102)

In the Classroom

If parent involvement with homework is weak, you may want to do the activities in your classroom instead, by showing the activities daily on your whiteboard. Make a list of students who accomplished the reading tasks. Be sure to list this link on your class webpage during your school's designated Reading Month. In fact, make sure the link is on your school's homepage as well. With older students, challenge cooperative learning groups to come up with 2-3 additional classroom or home activities to do during Reading Month, or any time of the year. List the activity suggestions on your class website, blog, or wiki.
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Early Childhood Handouts - Zero to Three

Grades
K to 1
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A series of pdf handouts and web information assist parents with helping children develop pre-literacy and other developmental skills. Click on Early Language & Literacy to find out...more
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A series of pdf handouts and web information assist parents with helping children develop pre-literacy and other developmental skills. Click on Early Language & Literacy to find out how to use books and stories to help children prepare for school-age tasks and reading. Other topics include Brain Development, Health & Nutrition, Social & Emotional Development, and several others. Though the information and handouts seem to be for much younger children, they will also be helpful for parents new to English and the American school system. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): parents (55), preK (275)

In the Classroom

Print out these handouts and copy when meeting pre-kindergarten parents for the first pre-registration meeting. List this site on your class website. Use with international parents whose cultures might not include using books and America's free public libraries. Encourage international parents to tell stories from their cultures and families to help children succeed in school.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Every Child Ready to Read - Public Library Association

Grades
K to 2
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This group of pdf printable brochures suggests behaviors and activities that can assist parents, preschool teachers, and early elementary teachers in getting children ready to read....more
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This group of pdf printable brochures suggests behaviors and activities that can assist parents, preschool teachers, and early elementary teachers in getting children ready to read. Available in both color and black and white formats, the brochures are also downloadable in Spanish. The brochures encourage people to use books, songs, stories, and word games to reinforce the importance of reading in education. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): literacy (102)

In the Classroom

Make these brochures available to parents of the very young. The added bonus of having some of the brochures available in Spanish makes the development of good readers a task shared by parents and educators alike. PLace some on the table in your conference waiting area or send them home in backpacks!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Ed Pubs - US Department of Education

Grades
K to 12
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This site offers free publications about teaching, literacy, reading instruction, child development, math, and school safety. The offerings include materials for all levels (brochures,...more
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This site offers free publications about teaching, literacy, reading instruction, child development, math, and school safety. The offerings include materials for all levels (brochures, posters, videotapes, newsletters, and more). The intended audiences include students, teachers, parents, and administrators. Many publications and also site information come in Spanish and English.

tag(s): literacy (102)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your class website so parents can learn about this free resource. Include links to specific publications tha fit your class' needs. Or choose helpful information with your particular parents/students and share the pdf files as print-outs at conferences or via email to help parents.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Adolescent Literacy - adlit.org

Grades
4 to 12
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The focus of this site is to encourage better literacy and reading enjoyment among pre-teens and adolescents. A sister site to Reading Rockets and Colorin'Colorado, Adlit...more
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The focus of this site is to encourage better literacy and reading enjoyment among pre-teens and adolescents. A sister site to Reading Rockets and Colorin'Colorado, Adlit offers summer reading strategies, book lists, book clubs, classroom technique hints which encourage development of reading attack skills, and a special section on authors and their best books. For a Spanish language version of the main topics available as an A to Z list, click on the left side of the screen ( En Espanol ). This site has everything you already know about teaching reading in easy-to-use formats. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. Get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): authors (118), independent reading (125), reading strategies (43)

In the Classroom

If you need ideas to get students reading for fun and to help develop their confidence, try this site. Highlight this on your class website so parents can try the activities with their older students. When doing author biographies, share this site with your class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to check out the "Classroom Strategies" link for even more literacy ideas.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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