TeachersFirst's Interactive Audio Books

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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. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the interactive books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways. See TeachersFirst's full collection of audio book resources and collection of audio books with accompanying text.

 

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Scratch - Lifelong Kindergarten Group, MIT Media Lab

Grades
1 to 12
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Want to get in touch with your inner child? Get Scratch! Warning: The use of this application is quite fun and engaging! Scratch is a downloaded program that creates interactive ...more
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Want to get in touch with your inner child? Get Scratch! Warning: The use of this application is quite fun and engaging! Scratch is a downloaded program that creates interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. This application can be used for bringing simple ideas and projects to life. It has great use as a paint program without using the animations. Downloads/install files are available for Mac or PC. Other links include a Getting Started pdf, Help screens to show what each block controls and how to use, and a Reference Guide which provides an overview of the interface. A support page is also available for help in using the application.

Material created can only be viewed within the program. Drawings are not saved as a jpg or pic file. However, a "snapshot" of the screen can be created by using these keys in Mac: apple, shift, and 4 and click/drag to surround the portion to save. In PC use: control/print screen. These snapshots can be uploaded or used as a picture in other applications.

tag(s): animation (65), coding (53), drawing (82)

In the Classroom

Quick start: Click stage and in the center pane, click on backgrounds. Click on paint to make a new background. Different colors, pens, and materials can be used to create the background or an image can be brought in from your computer. Objects in Scratch are called a Sprite and can be added in by choosing the folders below the screen. By clicking the script tab, blocks can be moved in to create motion, add sounds (even record your own message), and change the look of the Sprite. Blocks are linked on to each other to create a series of events. A control block dragged to the top of the blocks control which key starts the event. Advanced options include adding variables and other controls.

Be sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Projects can be shared online; however an account is required.

Work is saved to the computer itself and only shared online via an account. To avoid problems concerning content made by outsiders or issues with sharing, save the work locally and either create your own gallery on a supervised class website/wiki or set up a single account where you share the "best" projects online via your own log-in. Remind students of the school's Acceptable Use Policy and consequences of violations, if you do allow them to join/share. Images used should adhere to all copyright rules. Use pictures taken in class or those with Creative Commons licensing (and provide attribution!).

Practical tips: Students quickly catch on to this program when allowed to play and easily see what they can make from it. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they will do/draw/say in their creation in order to keep tabs on what students and their creations.

Possible uses: For the lower grades, Scratch provides unlimited possibilities. Use as a new way to show vocabulary usage. Use the paint program to add information to a picture from your class field trip or science experiment. Use Scratch to help in storytelling a concept in a new and unique way, such as how rocks are formed. In the upper grades, use Scratch to show complex material in a new way. For example, students can draw DNA and show replication, etc. through their drawings and storytelling. Draw the different movements of landforms in plate tectonics. Draw or illustrate solutions to Math problems.

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Browser Books - Kathy Cassidy

Grades
K to 1
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Have you ever needed a second reading teacher in your primary classroom? You will come close when you visit this site. Browser Books' name says it all. ...more
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Have you ever needed a second reading teacher in your primary classroom? You will come close when you visit this site. Browser Books' name says it all. Your students will choose from a list of books to read. Click on the arrow at the bottom right on each page, and the page turns to the next. You won't need to answer, "What's this word?" when your students read these online books. Click on each word and hear it read aloud. Students will love the kid-friendly faces in each book. Books are leveled from pre-Kindergarten to first grade. The Moosejaw, Canada web creator of this site deserves the awards she has garnered.

In the Classroom

Your students will find the easy navigation at this site a bonus. Give them a laptop to read these books in their cozy reading spot (with headphones), or choral read with the entire classroom or group using an interactive whiteboard. Individualized reading opportunities abound using these books. For computer savvy parents, assign this as extra homework reading. They will not complain about this homework assignment.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Barnaby Bear Stories - BBC

Grades
K to 1
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This website is an awesome introduction to geography and more! The site offers two illustrated, interactive stories. Both involve an adorable bear named Barnaby. One story takes students...more
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This website is an awesome introduction to geography and more! The site offers two illustrated, interactive stories. Both involve an adorable bear named Barnaby. One story takes students to Paris, the other to Australia. The stories also contain new vocabulary words to learn, engaging questions, and creative storylines. The entire activity requires Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): australia (34), france (39)

In the Classroom

Use the site with or without audio (don't forget headphones or speakers). Use this website as a learning center for small groups of students to explore together. Or make the journey a class adventure by using an interactive whiteboard. This website could also be used to teach basic geography vocabulary, awareness of geographic locations (Australia), and reading skills together.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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CAST UDL Book Builder - CAST

Grades
K to 12
18 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This fabulous, FREE online tool allows you to create your own interactive "books" to help young readers learn reading strategies to build comprehension. The tool allows you to enter...more
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This fabulous, FREE online tool allows you to create your own interactive "books" to help young readers learn reading strategies to build comprehension. The tool allows you to enter your own text, images, and hints. The finished product is a very polished-looking book in a form that you can save on your computer or burn to a CD and use over and over and over with students for years to come.

Be sure to try the model books and read the tips for writers and illustrators. Take the time to learn the tool. Click to see a sample we made for you and placed on our site.

tag(s): digital storytelling (153), reading comprehension (119), reading strategies (49)

In the Classroom

Locate or create your own copyright-free text and images for which you have the rights to make more than one copy (Fair Use does not apply!). Copy/paste the text and resize/upload the images--following simple directions to create the pages and accompanying hints. Be sure to learn about the three interactive characters who teach the strategies! Publish and download the files of the finished "books" and save on your computer. Extract the zipped files and save locally, on your network, or burn to CD so your students can access them directly.

The uses of this one are endless. If you take the time to get permission from the publisher to use text from some of your textbooks or reading books, you could create interactive versions to use in your classroom or with special ed students. More simply, use student-written stories and artwork (scanned -- or created in Paint) to create the "book." Imagine creating a class "book" at the end of a unit on Communities or Animals, and including images you take with your digital camera. If you copy the CD's, students could sign out the "book" and read it to relatives using their home computer. You can keep the "library" of past books to help future classes. Or ask your middle/high school or gifted students to create books as writing/service project for struggling readers to use.

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Children's Storybooks Online - Children's Storybooks Online

Grades
1 to 3
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These illustrated and animated online books - organized by level of difficulty - give students a chance to interact with the story and choose what happens next. Project them in ...more
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These illustrated and animated online books - organized by level of difficulty - give students a chance to interact with the story and choose what happens next. Project them in the classroom for a "spirit reading" activity, or use to encourage independent reading - at school or at home. Although this site offers stories for readers of three age groups, the best and most interactive stories are in the first section, Books for Young Children. Featuring limited vocabulary and repetition, the stories are well illustrated, and many contain links to riddles, mazes, and coloring books. Requires the Flash plug in. There is NOT sound for the stories, unless your computer has a read-aloud program built in.

tag(s): literacy (107), literature (275)

In the Classroom

Include this link on your teacher web page for students who have Internet access to reinforce reading skils at home. NOTE: Turn on your pop-up blocker to avoid annoying pop-ups form this site.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Clifford the Big Red Dog - PBSkids

Grades
K to 2
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This site offers interactive stories about Clifford and his friends. Students can read along as they listen to the story or read on their own. Story builder allows students to ...more
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This site offers interactive stories about Clifford and his friends. Students can read along as they listen to the story or read on their own. Story builder allows students to customize the story by choosing the topic and who the story will be about. Flash is required. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

Use this site as a center (if several computers or laptops are available) or as an activity that students can do when finished with other work. Don't forget headphones to prevent distractions to other students. Provide a link on your teacher web page for parents to visit the parents and teachers section for activities they can do with their child at home after reading other Clifford books.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Berenstain Bears Story Time - PBSkids

Grades
K to 2
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On this site students write a story by choosing words to fill in the blanks from pictures below each blank. The created story is available to read and print. ...more
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On this site students write a story by choosing words to fill in the blanks from pictures below each blank. The created story is available to read and print. In the caregiver section of the site lesson plans are provided for several TV episodes that deal with family and community, choices and decision making and socio-emotional development. Flash, Real Player and Adobe Acrobat are required for parts of the site. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site on a classroom computer for centers or for students to use in free time. This is a great link to include on your teacher web page for parents and children to do together at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Sesame Street - CTW

Grades
K to 2
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The Children's Television Network has created a delightful set of learning activities that strengthen skills in letter recognition, decoding, listening, problem-solving, and more. Led...more
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The Children's Television Network has created a delightful set of learning activities that strengthen skills in letter recognition, decoding, listening, problem-solving, and more. Led by the familiar cast of characters from Sesame Street, your youngest students will love to explore Elmo's World, the Game Room, and participate in interactive stories. The links include games, stories, art, music, mail, and Elmo's World. At the Games link you will find science activities about the weather, counting challenges, classification activities, musical fun, and numerous other educational activities. This site truly has something for all primary elementary classroom. The site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): classification (25), counting (120), listening (92), numbers (203), preK (292), sound (105), sounds (70)

In the Classroom

Use this rare find to motivate your students. Have students work on individual computers and explore this site on their own. With younger students, you may want to introduce the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. This is definitely one that you will want to share with your parents in your newsletter or on your class website.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Learn to Read - Starfall.com

Grades
1 to 3
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If you're looking for a resource that will engage reluctant readers or help new readers with unfamiliar vocabulary words, you may want to incorporate these fun and interactive stories...more
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If you're looking for a resource that will engage reluctant readers or help new readers with unfamiliar vocabulary words, you may want to incorporate these fun and interactive stories into your classroom. Students can read through the interactive texts independently, click on troublesome words, and listen to their pronunciations. Select from movies, videos, and games that illustrate special sounds, pronunciations, and spelling rules.

tag(s): sound (105), sounds (70), vocabulary (325)

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Book-Pop - Stephen Cosgrove

Grades
K to 6
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Book-Pop is a web enhanced reading adventure. Students may choose to read or listen to the stories. The pages are beautifully illustrated and filled with magic and imagination,...more
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Book-Pop is a web enhanced reading adventure. Students may choose to read or listen to the stories. The pages are beautifully illustrated and filled with magic and imagination, with themes that evolve around human values.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): listening (92)

In the Classroom

Make reading come alive by choosing one of the stories from this kid friendly collection. Preview it first to come up with a few discussion questions for students to think about throughout the reading. Project it on your whiteboard or at a student-run whiteboard center. Clicking on the "listen" icon will let the narrator do the reading, well-paced and expressive. Use the stories to enhance listening comprehension, or assign them for students to read or listen to with headsets from individual computers. If you choose a whole class approach, share a link to the same story on your class web page to enable students to view and listen to it over and over again from home, or to give students who were absent access to it.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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