TeachersFirst's Audio Books

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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. Be sure to explore each site, as many include multiple categories of books and different download or listening formats. Some selections are audio only. Others include text to follow on the site as you listen, while others include options to interact with the book by clicking, responding, and watching animations. 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. Narrow your search by choosing TeachersFirst's specialized collections of audio books with accompanying text or audio books with interactive features.

 

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Audio Books for Free - audiobooksforfree.com

Grades
K to 12
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This site offers free audio recordings of books in the public domain downloadable on computer, mobile phone, PDA, PSP, CD-MP3 portable player, portable MP3 player, portable DVD player,...more
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This site offers free audio recordings of books in the public domain downloadable on computer, mobile phone, PDA, PSP, CD-MP3 portable player, portable MP3 player, portable DVD player, or IPod. The collection is quite comprehensive and includes classic children's literature as well as fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, religion, self-help, humor, travel, and memoirs. All recordings offered at this site are human read.

Be aware: you must register for this site. Once registered, it is rather time consuming finding the FREE resources. The free audio stories are described as having "bearable quality" however, our reviewers found the quality fine. Most stories are available for free, just be sure to click on the correct box to ensure they are free!

tag(s): audio books (32)

In the Classroom

With younger students, it may be best to share the audio books on your projector or interactive whiteboard (as the Free ones can take some time to find and use). Share this link on your class website for parents to explore at home with their students.

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Free Classic Audio Books - Free Classic Audio Books.com

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6 to 12
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This site has a collection of free classics in the public domain downloadable for mp3 and m4b audio book format for iTunes and iPods. Of special interest at this ...more
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This site has a collection of free classics in the public domain downloadable for mp3 and m4b audio book format for iTunes and iPods. Of special interest at this site is the recently added section where readers may find books that are not available at other free book download sites. Also distinguishing this site is that some books offer "human narration" and some have "text to speech" technology doing the reading.

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers as a reference. Suggest it to students as something they can use on their IPODS. Share this link on your class website for students to access at home.

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Storytime - Barnes and Noble

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K to 3
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Barnes and Noble is offering one book a month on their new story time site. The presentation of the book is in video format, using the still picture pages from ...more
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Barnes and Noble is offering one book a month on their new story time site. The presentation of the book is in video format, using the still picture pages from the book. Hear the story read by the author or another celebrity. Despite the commercial offerings on the page, the story time book is well presented and orated. Options include clicking the slanted arrow to get to the full-screen presentation of the book page. Readers can also send the video to their friends by clicking on the page icon. Click in the lower right sidebar to see a preview of what book will be featured in the coming month.

tag(s): time (144)

In the Classroom

Use the full-screen version once a month to "read" a new book to your class! Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Another idea: bookmark this site on classroom computers or add the link to your class web page for students to access in a learning center and follow along with the book in front of them. Use the next month preview to obtain the book in your school library or on interlibrary loan. Don't forget the headsets! Then have students write and draw their own page or alternate ending to "add" to the book!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Library of Congress Read.gov - Library of Congress

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K to 12
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Here you will find the English teachers dream come true! Read.gov is from the Library of Congress and is a new website for readers of all ages. The site offers ...more
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Here you will find the English teachers dream come true! Read.gov is from the Library of Congress and is a new website for readers of all ages. The site offers pages specifically designed for kids and teens, as well as adults, educators, and parents. There is so much here: Contests, books online, book lists, and more. The webcast section is truly extensive. There are Webcasts from famous authors such as R.L. Stine, Jon Scieszka, Jan Brett, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Neil Gaiman, and many more. These webcasts also include interesting topics like "Mystery Writers Discuss Their Craft" and "The Nuts and Bolts of Historical Fiction" among others.

A special feature of the site is an exclusive story, called "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure." The Exquisite Corpse was a game in which someone would start a story, fold over their part, and the next person would add to the story and on it would go until the last person ended the story. For this Exquisite Corpse, Jon Scieszka started the story and passed it on to Katherine Patterson, who passed it on . . . and so it goes for 18 episodes. The entire story will take a year to write to the finish. There is an illustration that goes with each segment.

tag(s): authors (118), writing (355)

In the Classroom

Check out "The Exquisite Corpse Adventure" and have students listen to the stories. As a challenge ask students to look at the differences in writing style for each of the authors. Project a chart about the plot and the writing style on your interactive whiteboard or projector, and have students list the differences and similarities in writing style. Students could also keep a chart of similarities and differences for the illustrators. Another idea for an activity is to have the students read the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling and then have them read the very touching national contest winner letter to the author about his poem. Students could then write their own letters to an author of a favorite book or poem. Have students create podcasts to read their letters to the authors using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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Animated Books - Frank Asch

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K to 3
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This is the website of author Frank Asch, known for his Moonbear picture books. Five of his books are available to the user. Each story is animated and read by ...more
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This is the website of author Frank Asch, known for his Moonbear picture books. Five of his books are available to the user. Each story is animated and read by the author. In addition to the online books, users can access several other areas on the site. The section for kids includes ideas for games and information about the author. There is a section for teachers with lesson ideas and a complete list of Frank Asch's published works.

In the Classroom

Use the suggested lesson ideas to create centers or a unit based on Frank Asch books. Allow students to listen to the online stories at a computer center. Display and watch one of the stories on the interactive whiteboard, discuss the actions of the characters and main idea of the story.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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

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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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Signed Stories

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K to 5
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The goal of Signed Stories is to increase the literacy of deaf children; however, it is a great resource for all children. After choosing a story, you will see the ...more
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The goal of Signed Stories is to increase the literacy of deaf children; however, it is a great resource for all children. After choosing a story, you will see the text, hear the story and see it in sign language. Almost 100 titles are available and can be searched by topic or by browsing all titles. Some stories offer more options than others. Many stories have pause and rewind buttons, so you can replay to see signs again.

In the Classroom

Use stories on the interactive whiteboard or projector to teach story elements - pause as the story is read to allow students to retell details to the stopping point then make predictions of what will happen next. Help students understand disabilities and adaptations to disabilities through watching the stories being told in sign language. This is also a great resource for students with deaf/hearing impaired parents or students/teachers trying to learn or practice sign language. In sign language classes, consider creating your own signed story videos for children's books and share them on a tool such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
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Online Audio Stories - Abbey Rice

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K to 3
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Bring classic children's stories to your classroom in an engaging and easy-to-use manner! This site contains many stories such as Jack in the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, The Princess and the...more
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Bring classic children's stories to your classroom in an engaging and easy-to-use manner! This site contains many stories such as Jack in the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, The Princess and the Pea and more in both audio and video format. Choose the story you want to read by genre, theme, author and other choices. Click to play and you are ready to listen and read along with the storyteller. One great feature of this site is that you can click on any word in the story and choose a language to see the word translated - a great addition for ESL students and families. All stories can also be downloaded in mp3 format, meaning that they can be played on most audio players and ipods. Note: This site may take long to load. Be patient.

tag(s): air (163), audio books (32), folktales (66)

In the Classroom

Download stories onto a mp3 player for students to listen to during reading time. Play the audio version of stories while following the written version on the interactive whiteboard. Use the stories during a fairy tale unit to compare and contrast characters. Share this link on your class web page for families to enjoy at home. These stories are worth playing over and over. Be sure to provide this link on your class website for students to explore both in and out of the classroom.
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Listening and Reading Comprehension - Childtopia

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1 to 5
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This site offers a variety of children's stories that children can listen to while they watch scenes or graphics corresponding to the story. Besides the stories, there are both listening...more
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This site offers a variety of children's stories that children can listen to while they watch scenes or graphics corresponding to the story. Besides the stories, there are both listening and reading comprehension sections for each story. Both the audio and the text are available. As the story is being read, the words are highlighted on the page. Also available is the full screen option for the story. The reading comprehension questions use both aural and text format and also use an interesting illustration to capture the reader/listener's attention. Stories and all activities are also available in Spanish, Catalan, French, and other languages. There are some advertisements on the side. Select the full screen option to avoid them.

In the Classroom

Have students try out this site on individual computers, with head phones, or let them listen in pairs. Before they go to the questions, ask them to list the questions the site might ask them after they have seen the model of one story. Share this link on your class web page, wiki, and/or in a parent newsletter. Share the site with special language teachers at the elementary level.
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Curious Corner - The Art Institute of Chicago

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K to 7
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What student could resist matching sounds to characters in a painting, searching for hidden animals in illustrations, matching shapes to a drawing or creating their own curious collections?...more
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What student could resist matching sounds to characters in a painting, searching for hidden animals in illustrations, matching shapes to a drawing or creating their own curious collections? Students will make personal connections to art as they work through unique interactive art activities: story time, match up, and play with art. The parent and educator resources include tips for looking at art together, engaging follow up activities, podcasts, video clips, and lesson plans. Don't miss this site!

tag(s): artists (75), literature (275), matching (24), painting (66)

In the Classroom

This colorful website will appeal to lower elementary students immediately, but its activities are stimulating for older students as well. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard. Have pairs of students explore the site together and create multimedia presentations to share with the class. You could create a class wiki for students to share their thoughts on the podcasts, video clips, or artwork. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Another idea, have students create online books demonstrating their new knowledge using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
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Crawford the Cat - Perennial Pictures Film Cooperation

Grades
K to 2
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Crawford the Cat is a website that teaches young children about health issues like brushing your teeth and social skills like working together. There are numerous 5-minute videos teaching...more
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Crawford the Cat is a website that teaches young children about health issues like brushing your teeth and social skills like working together. There are numerous 5-minute videos teaching students about good table manners, trying new food, exercise, colds and flu, and several other health/science topics. The site includes videos, online books, printables and interactive games.

tag(s): dental health (23), hygiene (10), preK (275), social skills (20)

In the Classroom

This site works really well with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Students can view the videos on the board and then play the games on the interactive board. The printables can be used by an entire class or for individual students who need skills reinforcement, and the books can be used as a center. The students have the choice of having the books read to them or reading on their own, so the site addresses the abilities of all students.
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Professor Sneeze - Marie, Muriel, and Myriam Dielemans

Grades
K to 6
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Follow animals through short stories, fiction, and cute drawings to learn about climate change. Learn about the changes which have been fact checked, and bring the phenomena to young...more
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Follow animals through short stories, fiction, and cute drawings to learn about climate change. Learn about the changes which have been fact checked, and bring the phenomena to young students clearly and simply. Click on one of three age groups to view a variety of activities: Download the story, read the story, use suggested related activities, and learn to draw the animals in the stories. Many also have the option of printing printable versions of the stories. Goals and educational notes are provided as well. Note: the audio versions of the stories do not always work, depending on your browser and platform (Win/Mac). Pretest or use the versions with text on screen.

tag(s): arctic (44), climate (92), climate change (64), environment (317), polar (19)

In the Classroom

Use these stories to learn about climate change as well as the organisms that live in colder regions affected by climate change. Read aloud to students or allow students to read together in small groups. Create story organizers to keep track of the basics of the story. Determine characteristics of the principal character in the story. Discuss what students know about that type of animal and discuss other information or stories that allow students the opportunity to understand more about the animal. Use some of the suggested activities to create ice floes or make paper ice crystals. Discuss other animals that may be affected and create conventional or multimedia posters that enlighten and inform others. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Use this story to help children find a voice and create their own stories or poems. Share the stories by creating an online book using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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Reading is Fundamental - Parent Resources - Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

Grades
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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Toon Book Reader - Paws

Grades
K to 4
7 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Read cartoon books online using this interactive site. Choose from one of six cartoon books. Choose to read the book in English, Spanish, or French and navigate through the pages ...more
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Read cartoon books online using this interactive site. Choose from one of six cartoon books. Choose to read the book in English, Spanish, or French and navigate through the pages using the left and right arrows. Use the "Start Over" button to begin again or click "Read To Me" to hear audio of the pages. Want to read another book? Click "Library" to view the choices.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students read aloud together to practice choral reading. Use this site for D.E.A.R. reading or other free time reading (be sure to provide headsets). Allow students to choose from the books. Even non-readers can use this site! Identify information, story lines, and grammar components within the stories as groups. Create story boards that outline the telling of the stories. Use a graphic organizing (online) tool such as bubble.us (reviewed here). Compare and contrast stories or characters using an online Venn diagram creator (reviewed here). Students can re-write endings or the sequels that would follow these books. Use these books as inspiration for student-made cartoon books in world language classes. Have the class or individuals create online books to share using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
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