Reading in the Content Areas

TeachersFirst offers this collection of web resources well suited to teach reading in the content areas, especially in science and social studies classes, but in almost ANY subject area. See "In the classroom" ideas and strategies for teaching reading across the curriculum and find texts to use on the computer, in print, or in interactive whiteboard/projector. Sometimes using web-based texts can be more engaging, and often these are more up-to-date. Practice with these resources is certain to help student mastery of informational texts.

 

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Y2K for Kids - US Government

Grades
1 to 12
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Y2k for kids. ...more
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Y2k for kids.

In the Classroom

Though Y2K is far behind us, this is a good way to explain the panic people felt at the coming of year 2000. Use the site as a reading comprehension activity, having students read the information and then practice their summarization skills via writing activity. This would be great for a middle school Social Studies class.

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The Mystery Spot: Access Excellence Mysteries - Access Excellence at the National Health Museum

Grades
7 to 12
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The Mystery Spot provides interactive modules great for building reading comprehension and science reasoning. It has seven modules that challenge you to read and research different...more
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The Mystery Spot provides interactive modules great for building reading comprehension and science reasoning. It has seven modules that challenge you to read and research different diseases, and problem solve your way to a correct diagnosis of the issue. Modules include convenient links to further information about the diseases, symptoms, and medical tools used so you gain a thorough understanding of the content. Best of all, they are fun and engaging!
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tag(s): critical thinking (108), diseases (66), problem solving (272), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive modules early in the school year to develop critical thinking skills. Or, use as an end of the year activity to review different diseases and problem solving strategies that students have learned. Instruct students to read the activity and take notes. Encourage them to explore the extra links. Students can create charts to organize the information they have gathered. Students should submit their work and conclusions and discuss different possibilities.

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Toonlet - Toonlet

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4 to 12
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Create a free comic or avatar with Toonlet. With each character choose facial features, hair, arms, clothes, or expressions. Each box will hold one character, and fill in the corresponding...more
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Create a free comic or avatar with Toonlet. With each character choose facial features, hair, arms, clothes, or expressions. Each box will hold one character, and fill in the corresponding speech bubble. Share, embed, print, or tweet each comic. Once saved, it becomes public for all to see. Follow your favorite creators. Other parts of this website include tips and tricks to make your comic stand out, a blog, and a collection of comics.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74)

In the Classroom

Use Toonlet as a resource for a variety of subjects. In language arts, characters can discuss the plot of a novel or reveal their thoughts. Start a creative way to share reading responses. Characters can devise a new ending to the plot, or even a sequel. Build characterization through conversations. Use Toonlet as a storyboard for a digital storytelling project. World language students can create comics in the language they are learning. In content area classes, use Toonlet as an exit slip for students to share their new learning. In a short story, a character can teach another character the content. Characters can take on the roles of famous people in history to give personal reflections about reasons behind a decision. Use as a way to solve conflicts, role-play difficult situations, or even face challenges or fears. A personal diary takes on a new meaning. Give creative expression to those who feel they lack drawing skills.

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Newsela - Newsela

Grades
8 to 12
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Being able to understand how current events have been shaped by the past is a critical reason we expect students to learn about human history. Newsela is a data base ...more
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Being able to understand how current events have been shaped by the past is a critical reason we expect students to learn about human history. Newsela is a data base of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad theme (e.g. War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are both student-friendly and can be accessed in different formats by reading level. With Common Core standards emphasizing non-fiction reading comprehension, Newsela also allows you to select articles based on those standards. A free account is required to use Newsela, both for teachers and for students, but students sign up using a teacher or parent provided code rather than an email address. Teachers can create classes and assign reading-level specific articles to individual students, or download printable PDF copies of the article in any of its reading-level versions. There is an upgraded fee-based Pro Version which allows teachers or administrators to track reading progress, but most of the features are free and there is no advertising.

tag(s): commoncore (92), independent reading (126), news (261), reading comprehension (116)

In the Classroom

The ability to provide differentiated versions of the same current event article based on reading-level makes Newsela an important addition to teachers' ability to provide relevant, high interest, non-fiction reading content to their instruction. A free teacher account includes the ability to print PDF versions of each article, as well as providing a weblink to each version that can be sent to students on an individual basis. Articles are indexed by theme and by Common Core aligned standards and updated daily.

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Vocabulary.Co.Il - www.vocabulary.co.il

Grades
1 to 12
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Sharpen your students' vocabulary skills to improve reading comprehension in a fun and engaging way using Vocabulary.co.il . Find a variety of games, videos, articles, and quizzes...more
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Sharpen your students' vocabulary skills to improve reading comprehension in a fun and engaging way using Vocabulary.co.il . Find a variety of games, videos, articles, and quizzes improving the many different aspects of vocabulary such as analogies, compound words, contractions, homophones, idioms, parts of speech, prefix, root word, spelling, syllable, synonym typing, and word play. Resources for FCAT, SAT, PSAT, GMAT include games, links, articles, or programs to improve and perfect these topics.
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tag(s): vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

In the classroom, keep Vocabualry.co.il handy as another way to use to instruct about vocabulary in every curricular subject. Use lessons on the IWB, or even at centers. Use as needed for differentiation purposes. Add to your class web site, to provide extra reinforcement or enrichment.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Learning Today Reading Curriculum - Learning Today

Grades
K to 5
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Learning Today offers tutorials, practice, and assessment activities sorted into five areas of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, high frequency words, vocabulary development,...more
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Learning Today offers tutorials, practice, and assessment activities sorted into five areas of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, high frequency words, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension. Choose a concept then choose from grade levels kindergarten through 5th grade. Most grade levels include one interactive tutorial (some include two), practice, and assessment for the concept. Each activity begins with a statement of learning objectives addressed along with directions for completing the activity. Many of the other activities on this site are fee-based; however, these free activities are worth exploring for classroom use.
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tag(s): phonics (75), reading comprehension (116), reading strategies (44), sight words (37), vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Create links to activities on classroom computers for students to practice independently. Share a link to activities on you classroom website or blog for practice at home. Differentiate for your students using the different tutorials on an interactive whiteboard or projector (or better yet, laptops).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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VizLab - IBM Research/ New York Times

Grades
5 to 12
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Wonder what information really means? Use Viz Lab to make meaningful representations of data and statistics in a graphical format. Use data from the day's news by clicking on "Get ...more
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Wonder what information really means? Use Viz Lab to make meaningful representations of data and statistics in a graphical format. Use data from the day's news by clicking on "Get Started." Choose the "Visualize" button to choose data sets and then the manner to be displayed. Show the data sets as a tag cloud, word tree, wordle, bar graph, matrix, bubble chart, and much more. Click "Publish" at the bottom and "Share this" to embed a live or static image on a wiki, blog, or site. This site uses Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): data (148), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

You will want to familiarize yourself with this tools a bit or have some students play with it then demonstrate how it works. Share these visualizations on an interactive whiteboard to teach both how to CREATE and how to INTERPRET visual representations of data. Use the news in a different way to look at and analyze trends. Use these tools for discussing data that most students would not tackle. Look at statistics and meaning in data sets. Research reasons for the data sets for presentation to the class or in a blog.

With many states requiring interpretation of graphs as part of their standards for reading in the content areas, this site provides both constructive and interpretive experience for your students -using meaningful and current data from the news. Make it real with hands-on manipulation of REAL information, on a whiteboard together or in small groups. Assign students in small groups to create and explain a visual representation of information that they believe their side of a debate topic on current events. Embed the graphics in your class wiki so both sides can refer to them during the actual debate. seems to be gone 2/7/2011. Send them to ManyEyes. CHS
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Money Farm - WTTW

Grades
4 to 6
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Kids can learn a lot about earning, saving, and investing money with this collection of short lessons that are followed by interactive quizzes. The brief texts can be used for ...more
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Kids can learn a lot about earning, saving, and investing money with this collection of short lessons that are followed by interactive quizzes. The brief texts can be used for content specific reading comprehension practice.

tag(s): currency (20), money (193), reading comprehension (116)

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Mystery of the Poison Dart Frog - North Carolina Museum of Art

Grades
4 to 6
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Learn about the history, culture, and biology of Costa Rica's rainforest while uncovering a mystery using ancient pieces of artwork as clues. This is an excellent activity for strengthening...more
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Learn about the history, culture, and biology of Costa Rica's rainforest while uncovering a mystery using ancient pieces of artwork as clues. This is an excellent activity for strengthening reading comprehension and problem-solving skills within the context of history and social studies. It would work well as an independent activity in the computer lab. Also available in Spanish. The site requires Flash!

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Are You There God? - KidReach

Grades
4 to 6
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Here's a site that can help teachers and students begin a dialogue about puberty. Users will find online questions about the book's storyline, as well as online questions designed...more
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Here's a site that can help teachers and students begin a dialogue about puberty. Users will find online questions about the book's storyline, as well as online questions designed for students to respond in paragraph form. The site asks the user to log on for a response from KidReach to answered questions. The puberty related questions and those regarding reading comprehension strategies can be used by teachers to promote student self awareness.

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