TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 16, 2018

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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Elementari - Nicole Kang and David Li

Grades
3 to 12
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Create interactive digital stories with Elementari. Features include drag and drop text, illustrations, and shapes. Choose from image filters and a variety of fonts to personalize the...more
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Create interactive digital stories with Elementari. Features include drag and drop text, illustrations, and shapes. Choose from image filters and a variety of fonts to personalize the look of your story. Other tools include the ability to animate illustrations or text and to create interactions by touch. Use interactions to play a sound, go to a new page, or animate a feature. After creating your account begin by selecting the option to write your story. Follow the prompts to add images, backgrounds, audio, and more. When finished, preview your story then publish. After publishing, share using social media links or the provided embed code. You can also create a class with 30 students. Students do not need email to use Elementari. Students with existing accounts can also connect to your classroom. Students can choose an avatar from the ones provided and cannot upload any pictures. Teachers must approve stories before they can be published. Be sure to check out the Curriculum Guide!

tag(s): creative writing (171), digital storytelling (153), writing (367)

In the Classroom

Offer students the option to share their writing using Elementari by adding illustrations and sounds. From the home page find the upload button at the top of the page. Upload up to 10 5mb images and 10 mb audio files. Create stories together, as a class, as you move through a unit or topic. Enhance student learning by adding images and ideas your students suggest. Use in a flipped or blended classroom to deliver course information. Assign several student groups a different topic and redefine their learning by having each group create their own version as they learn more about the topic. Challenge gifted students to modify the "standard" class text with the additional material they discover, by going deeper and learning about related topics. In lower grades, create teacher-made digital stories for students to use as a learning tool.

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TeachersFirst Reading Treks - Make Learning a Journey - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Your students can visit the world and build their background knowledge when they choose to read a book in conjunction with Reading Treks. Find fiction and informational books at every...more
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Your students can visit the world and build their background knowledge when they choose to read a book in conjunction with Reading Treks. Find fiction and informational books at every reading level. Each Reading Trek unit has a downloadable PDF with Common Core State Standards, ISTE Standards, Grade Level, Ideas and Activities for using the Reading Trek in class, and a list of Helpful Resources. There is also a Google Maps (KMZ) file. Under the About TeachersFirst Reading Treks on the home page find step-by-step instructions for when you're ready to use a Reading Trek. TeachersFirst is just getting started creating Treks for books. Do you have a suggestion? Select Suggest a Trek from the left menu to let us know about it. We'd love to hear from you!

tag(s): independent reading (122), maps (292), reading comprehension (131), reading lists (77)

In the Classroom

These units are perfect for use with a whole-class novel, literature circles, or individual reading! Ask students to keep a journal about what they are reading and learning. Replace traditional paper and pen journals using an easy virtual journaling tool such as Penzu, reviewed here. With Penzu you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. If you are conducting literature circles a good tool to use for small group assignments and communication is Sembly, reviewed here, or Edmodo, reviewed here. For students or student groups to share their book with their peers, challenge them to transform their learning and design an interactive multimedia poster using Genial.ly, reviewed here. As an option, and for a real challenge, have students redefine their learning and create a music track to go with parts or all of the book using Booktrack, reviewed here, and share the link on their mutimedia poster.

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Book Creator - Red Jumper Limited

Grades
K to 12
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Create beautiful, multimedia digital books with Book Creator. Follow the site's prompts to add video, text, images, and audio to your book. When finished, publish and share your book...more
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Create beautiful, multimedia digital books with Book Creator. Follow the site's prompts to add video, text, images, and audio to your book. When finished, publish and share your book using the site's web-based reader for access on any device. Be sure to follow the short tutorial after signing up to learn about the many features for creating, storing, and sharing your books. The free plan offers one activity library with storage of up to 40 books. At the time of this review, Book Creator only works with Google Chrome or the iPad app.

tag(s): collaboration (42), digital storytelling (153), ebooks (38), preK (282), reading comprehension (131), writing (367)

In the Classroom

Create books together, as a class, as you move through a unit or topic. Enhance student learning by adding images and ideas your students suggestions. Use in a flipped classroom to deliver course information. Assign several student groups a different topic and redefine their learning by having each group create their own multimedia versions as they learn more about the topic. Students can combine their books later as a class book. Make a digital bookshelf of all the versions for all to use. Challenge gifted students to modify the "standard" class text with the additional material they discover, by going deeper and learning about related topics. In lower grades, create teacher-made e-books for your young readers, perhaps adding audio - your own voice reading the text.

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Share What You're Reading - Scholastic, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Use this handy tool to share favorite books and discover new ones. Read the advice for writing a good review at the top of the form before starting. After writing ...more
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Use this handy tool to share favorite books and discover new ones. Read the advice for writing a good review at the top of the form before starting. After writing the review submit to Scholastic by filling in a simple form that asks for first name, last initial, and no email required. To discover the next book to read select from a grade level or genre list and then find an interesting title and click to read the review. The More to Explore menu on the left links to How to Write a Book Report with Rodman Philbrick, which is more extensive in depth with Writing Tips, Challenges, and Revision Guidelines.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): book reports (36), independent reading (122), reading lists (77)

In the Classroom

Introduce students to this tool using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Share the list of books already reviewed, and read a few reviews together. Read the guidelines for writing a review, and create a book report for a book read in class. First, model by creating a rough draft. Next, copy and paste the final version of the rough draft to Share What You're Reading. Last, show the students how to publish. Set up a station in class where students can write up other books they read. Another idea would be to use the published reviews for grammar exercises. Not only can you edit and revise a review, but it could also be a "book talk" to introduce students to a title.

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Unite for Literacy Library - Unite for Literacy

Grades
K to 8
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The Unite for Literacy Library offers many online books for young readers with audio. Browse through the home page to choose books to read from the library shelves. Narrow down ...more
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The Unite for Literacy Library offers many online books for young readers with audio. Browse through the home page to choose books to read from the library shelves. Narrow down your choices using picture icons for different themes such as animals or families. Select and click a book to read. Click the speaker icon to hear each page. The narration is also available in many languages from Arabic to Vietnamese.

tag(s): audio books (22), independent reading (122), preK (282)

In the Classroom

This site is one you must bookmark if you work with young readers! Create a link to the site on classroom computers for students to explore and listen to books on their own. Unite for Literacy is perfect for use with ESL/ELL students for reading and hearing books in both English and their native language. Share a link to the site on your website or newsletter for use at home. World language teachers can use this site to have students listen to books in the language they are learning.

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Novel-Ties: New books you can't wait to discuss - Multnomah County Library

Grades
4 to 8
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Discover current fiction titles for 4th through 8th graders at Novel-Ties. Find a series of video book talks divided into categories discussing current fiction books perfect...more
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Discover current fiction titles for 4th through 8th graders at Novel-Ties. Find a series of video book talks divided into categories discussing current fiction books perfect for tweens and young teens. Choose from categories such as Bullying, Girl Power, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy, and more. Each link leads to a book talk hosted on AuthorStream, reviewed here, discussing the book followed with some Discussion Topics and Related Websites. Videos work best on computers or laptops. Not all features work on mobile devices.

tag(s): book lists (129), book reports (36), independent reading (122), reading lists (77), video (264)

In the Classroom

Be sure to bookmark this site on classroom computers for students to use as a resource to find reading material that suits their interests. Share with your school's media specialist for use when ordering library books. Share on your class web page as a resource for parents. Use Novel-Ties and AuthorStream as a model and have students transform their learning by creating their own book talks as an alternative to a traditional book report. Consider using a tool such as rawshorts, reviewed here, for short book talks or moovly, reviewed here, for longer book talks. Post the videos on your teacher website for parents to enjoy.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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2Titles - 2Titles.com

Grades
8 to 12
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Answer a few questions on 2Titles and this tool will suggest several young adult books you might enjoy. If you have read those titles, just click on the "previously read" ...more
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Answer a few questions on 2Titles and this tool will suggest several young adult books you might enjoy. If you have read those titles, just click on the "previously read" button and get another in its place. If you are not interested in a suggestion, click on "Don't show this again" and get another in its place. Easy-peasy! Register with email. Registration allows you to fill out the form for whom to contact with your wish list. This tool is free. You do not have to purchase any books. Warning: students should be 13 or older to use this site. Some adult books are recommended such as Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

tag(s): book lists (129), independent reading (122), reading lists (77)

In the Classroom

Students are always asking teachers to recommend another book just like the one they love! With the plethora of young adult books being published today, it is hard to keep up. Instead, recommend this site to your avid readers to find a new read. After reading the selected book, challenge students to create a book presentation to share with their classmates. Replace paper posters and use Cube Creator, reviewed here, for this and hang them around the room, or extend learning by creating a Fakebook, reviewed here, page for the a book and have a different Fakebook on each computer with students rotating around the room to find an interesting book. Modify student learning by having them create a video about their book with Plotagon, reviewed here, and have the videos on different computers around the room. Alternatively, students could redefine their learning by creating an interactive, multimedia poster using Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here, and give an oral presentation. Do make sure the student is 13 or over because books like Kite Runner are also recommended. You may want to get written permission from parents, or email the parent with the 2Titles recommendation and a bit of a warning.

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My Storybook - myStorybook.com

Grades
1 to 12
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Get into digital storytelling by creating a colorful short story with the tools offered at My Storybook. There is a basic tutorial when you click Create a Storybook. Get started ...more
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Get into digital storytelling by creating a colorful short story with the tools offered at My Storybook. There is a basic tutorial when you click Create a Storybook. Get started using clipart from My Storybook, upload your images, or use their draw tools to create your own artwork. Click the text box and change the font, font color, and size. Add more text and pages for your book, too. Saving and sharing require an email address. Share by sending the URL to several social networking sites or via email. There is a way to create an ebook or PDF, but those options aren't free. Read storybooks created by others by clicking the menu icon and then Library at the top.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): digital storytelling (153), writing (367)

In the Classroom

Show students creation possibilities by viewing a few of the books from the library using a projector or interactive whiteboard. Create a class book to begin. Start with a storyboard. If you usually do this with pen and paper, replace these and use an online tool such as Amazon Storybuilder, reviewed here. Using a storyboard and My Storybook is an effective way to teach students about story elements, dialogue, character development, and more. World language classes can label images, or tell a story in the language they are learning. Work together to complete biographies of famous people. Challenge students to tell the story of different famous events in history or explain their understanding of cell division using My Storybook. Art students can create a story around their artwork. Autistic or emotional support teachers can create stories demonstrating interpersonal behavior skills. Digital storytelling is an amazing way for students to internalize any subject or concept. It also is an excellent assessment tool.

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Gretchen, FL, Grades: 3 - 8

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Bookopolis - Kari Ness Riedel

Grades
1 to 7
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Bookopolis is more than an online social reading club for children ages 7-12. It has an education portal to keep track of and review a reader's work. In the New ...more
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Bookopolis is more than an online social reading club for children ages 7-12. It has an education portal to keep track of and review a reader's work. In the New Book section, find a book by grade level and read ratings and reviews from other readers. Bookopolis includes digital reading logs, reading log prompts, and suggests places to find comprehension questions about the book. Through the dashboard, monitor and comment on the reader's writing and reading logs. The activities and features on the site are aligned with many of the Common Core Reading and Writing standards. There are several video tutorials on getting started and how to use the dashboard. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable.

tag(s): book lists (129), book reports (36), classroom management (152), guided reading (46), independent reading (122), reading comprehension (131), social networking (102)

In the Classroom

Create your account with your email, teacher name, username, and some basic information. Create your dashboard by adding a class and class name. You can create multiple classes. View the several teacher dashboard video tutorials to get started. Student accounts can be created manually or by importing an xls or csv file. Students will automatically be "friends" with other students in the same class, but can also invite students from different classes. Share this site with students (and parents at back to school night) using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Show students the video tutorial "How to Add Books" to get them started. Students can create bookshelves for books they are reading, that they have read, and that they want to read. Students can earn badges and points for the books they read. This tool will get students excited about reading since they can connect with friends to share book reviews and swap book recommendations. Students also practice persuasive writing, comprehension, and typing skills by completing reviews, reports, and reading logs online.

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Ed on the Web Owlets - Les Snowdon and Maggie Humphreys

Grades
K to 3
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Ed on the Web for Owlets is an online reading club for children ages 7 and under. Every month features recently published books with reviews, reading activities, and author interviews....more
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Ed on the Web for Owlets is an online reading club for children ages 7 and under. Every month features recently published books with reviews, reading activities, and author interviews. Scroll down to explore Edtime Stories, Ed's Word Zone, and Ed's Numbers. Some specific topics include Ed's Fun with Numbers, Ed's Spelling Corner, Ed's Poetry Zone, and several others. Check out the archive and find many more Edventures into reading with wonderful books! This site was created in the UK. American English speakers may notice some slight spelling differences.

tag(s): addition (224), guided reading (46), independent reading (122), literacy (106), numbers (192), poetry (225), preK (282), reading comprehension (131), reading lists (77), subtraction (186)

In the Classroom

Imagine the excitement of featuring new books on an interactive whiteboard or projector every month with your students. Use the suggested reading activities during learning centers. Start following Edventures in your class. Share Ed's Poetry Zone during Poetry Month. Provide this link on your class website for families to use to find books, spelling activities, word fun, and math practice. Share the Number Quizzes on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the activities in Ed's Word Zone to create interactive learning stations or as an activity in your 1-1/BYOD classroom. Start a class blog with children suggesting their favorite book. Put the blog URL on your class website so that families can follow the class favorites. Haven't started blogging yet? Check out TeachersFirst's Blog Basics. Allow families to add reading activities on the blog to accompany the stories. Help parents, grandparents, and children discover newly published books and interesting ways to share them!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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CurriConnects - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Use CurriConnects to find books related to curriculum topics or subject areas. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help...more
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Use CurriConnects to find books related to curriculum topics or subject areas. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help students build the important reading strategy of connecting what they read to prior knowledge. Share CurriConnects as links on your class web page or wiki or share them with school and local libraries where students can select books to accompany what they are studying. Topics include Earth Science, Explorers, Frontiers and Settlers, Geographic Wonders (landforms), Inventors and Inventions, Maps, Math in Use, Medicine and Health, The Artists's Eye (books with outstanding illustrations and books about artists), What Do You Do? (careers). More are being added on an ongoing basis. Grade ranges vary.

tag(s): book lists (129), independent reading (122), reading lists (77)

In the Classroom

Share CurriConnects as links on your class web page or wiki or share them with school and local libraries where students can select books to accompany what they are studying. Explore the many ideas TeachersFirst offers for using CurriConnects in your classroom. Be sure to share these lists with ESL/ELL teachers for reading selections to build student vocabulary and understanding of curriculum.

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Bookemon - Bookemon, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing....more
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Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing. This is the ultimate in "digital storytelling." Click "Explore" to browse many "public" examples on the templates page of books created by others. Take advantage of the free apps that make Bookemon even easier to use with any device! Use Bookemon Reader to READ books you created in Bookemon or Bookemon edCenter (available for both iOS and Android). BookPress for iOS devices only allows you to CREATE books from scratch, including using photos from your iPad/iPhone. InstaPress (for iOS only) offers options to make books from documents, pdfs, etc. to be shared on mobile devices as eBooks. Here is an example of a book created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors. Once you set up free membership on this site, students (or teachers) can select to create from a blank start or to use the templates provided. You can also create a book starter of your own as an example so students can follow the prompts you have created. The book creator allows you to upload your own images and to create books from a Word document or PowerPoint file you have already made. EdCenter users can collaborate on books.

After you save and publish the work, share the URL so people can read the entire book online, either among an audience of "just my friends" or publicly. They also offer the embed code to place your books on a class or school web page, wiki, or blog. The easiest option is to copy the address of the new window displaying the interactive book. There is an option to have the book printed for a fee, but this is not required. You can also read books created by others (if they make them public). Use the fully-public option to create learning materials for classes to access year to year for at-home review or reading practice.

This site requires a simple registration. Teachers can set up an edCenter for their school or class in accordance with school policies. See more detailed suggestions "In the Classroom" below and in our sample book! Newer mobile device options include players to view your books on iPads and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (171), digital storytelling (153), writing (367)

In the Classroom

SKIP the profile and friends areas to get to the book creator to play with the tools a bit. Before you get too involved, create an edCenter to minimize advertising and create books in your own teacher-friendly class environment. Use the edCenter to register students and establish privacy settings for your class. No student emails are required.

On the Create Books page, choose from using a blank book, starting from a file, or using a template. Choose "school" to see projects from other classes or a sample created by you or a student team working in advance along with you. Explore ready-made themes (seasonal, topical, etc.) or use "open theme." Choose book dimensions (match layout shape to any uploaded files, such as PowerPoint slides). Enter settings and description of your book (editable later), including who is allowed to "see" it: everyone, just friends, or private. Again choose a "theme" - more of a category where Bookemon will list your completed book. A logical option is "school." Experiment with tools to upload files (within file limits), add images, add text, etc. Written help is offered as you go, but there is no video demo. SAVE often. Turn margins on to avoid chopping content. To share the book, you must "publish" it (i.e. finalize).

Once published, locate the book under "My Books" and use options to share (by email--and see the URL to copy from there), "Make a new edition" to create a new version--also useful for treating the original as a template for later books), Post to Other Sites offers embed codes. The BEST option is to click the book COVER which opens a new window without ads or "stuff," and copy the ADDRESS of that window to paste into email, etc. You can also mark that clean window view as a Favorite on a classroom computer!

Use your edCenter settings to manage social networking features. This will avoid the "public" Bookemon features such as opportunities to share address books, use social tools such as Facebook to share your books, etc. Teacher-controlled edCenter accounts are probably the easiest option for managing within school policies.

With younger students, have them begin their work in PowerPoint then upload for whole-class books. See an example, created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors . The example is full of ideas for classroom use from Kindergarten to high school, including science concept tales, poetry books, general writing, math problem solve-its, and more. ANY grade can use this tool, depending on the amount of direction by the teacher. (By the way, the correct answer to the problem in the sample book is c. 27.) Another idea: have students create personalized books for their parents or grandparents for special occasions (Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Grandparent's Day).

Use the mobile device features offered in your BYOD classroom to make and share books, PDF's, and more. Tip: Use this site for a guided introduction to social networking as a class, an excellent teaching opportunity for digital citizenship in the context of a project.

This is one of the best creative tools for gifted students to go above and beyond regular curriculum. Don't let the "juvenile" appearance fool you. Even older students can write and include images to create and share books of any length. Any independent research or writing project can become an interactive book. Even advanced science experiments and lab reports can be shared online using this tool. Once you have one book, you can use that as a template for others. Inspire your gifted students to create literary magazine or even a personal online "portfolio" of writing, artwork, or photography presented in interactive book form.

Comments

This is one of my all time favorite creative tools. Very versatile. Great for making "buddy books" or for teacher-created learning "books." Make one as a whole class to summarize a science unit in primary grades. I even use it personally to make fee online "gifts" for children I know. I did purchase one print version, and it looked great. Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10

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Reading Suggestions - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This site, created by our teacher-editors, offers a reading list for students in all grades. Simply click on the grade level that you wish to explore and a book list ...more
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This site, created by our teacher-editors, offers a reading list for students in all grades. Simply click on the grade level that you wish to explore and a book list will be provided. Most books offer a short description and some link to other titles by the same author. New titles are added frequently, so be sure to check back.

In the Classroom

Save this site in your classroom computers' favorites, so students can easily access the site to find new books to read! Share this link on your class website. This is an excellent resource to provide for summer reading.

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TogetheRead - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Share family reading and activities around a monthly theme using this outstanding series by our partner site, TogetherForLearning. Interwoven into each TogetheRead theme are questions...more
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Share family reading and activities around a monthly theme using this outstanding series by our partner site, TogetherForLearning. Interwoven into each TogetheRead theme are questions and activities based on reading strategies for effective readers. Parents and children of all ages can select books from the annotated lists, read together, and do related free or low-cost activities. Written in language understandable to parents and without education "jargon" so familiar to teachers, these themes will help any child become a better reader and enjoy sharing family time. Books are grouped into age bands: preschool/picture books, early elementary, upper elementary to middle school, upper middle school to young adult, and mature teen to adult books. Activities accompany each age group, and participants can contribute their own activity suggestions, as well.

tag(s): independent reading (122), parents (54)

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Share this link on your teacher web page or in a newsletter. You might even talk to your parent organization about promoting TogetheRead as a whole-school activity. Maybe even host a TogetheRead family evening in the gym or library.

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