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.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomChoose whatever fits your curriculum or as a daily warm-up for current events. This provides a great alternative to reading news articles and is especially motivating for visual learners and students who struggle with reading comprehension. After your class views the video, use the daily discussion activities designed to promote critical thinking. You are also able to print the learning activities to assign as group work or for homework. There is even a news quiz. You may want to distribute copies of the transcripts for ESL students to refer to, for use as a research source, or to use for practicing reading comprehension for state exams and other assessments. Enhance learning by challenging cooperative learning groups to research one topic at this site and share their findings with the class by creating an interactive online poster (infographic) using Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here.
Grades7 to 12
Be aware: this site has several advertisements, some pop-up.
In the ClassroomJust try to take the dictionaries away from your students when you project a Vocab-u-lous activity sheet on your whiteboard (or projector) or hand them the printable version of the worksheet. These are useful for SAT preparation and other tests that assess vocabulary, as well as building a strong vocabulary necessary for better reading comprehension and oral and written communication. When using this activity with a class set of computers, provide a link from your class web page to a reputable online dictionary. For additional practice, provide this link on your class website for students to access at home.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomMake this site a link on your class web page during a unit on space or all year round. Gifted students and those with a passion for space will find endless discoveries. Include this site as a research source when assigning projects about space or the planets. If you have more able students in upper elementary or middle school, use this site as a differentiated alternative for them to research at a higher level. Inspire students to read in content areas by sharing space-related "current events" articles from this site. These selections would work well on interactive whiteboards for practice using highlighters to find main idea, context clues, and other comprehension skills. No whiteboard? No problem! Use your projector and eMargin, reviewed here, to highlight and annotate as a class. If you assign portions of the site to the entire class, you may need to assign "reading buddies" for weaker readers and they can use eMargin together. Challenge students to narrate space image galleries (search for the blog entry on the "New Flickr collection of historical NASA photos") or design and explain their own devices for space exploration on Thinglink, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomOffer this site to students who wish to use digital devices to read. Keep in mind that many of the selections are older, in the public domain due to the expiration of copyright. ENL/ESL and SPED students may benefit from being able to hear or see books in a different way. Use the texts you find as language to analyze or manipulate on your interactive whiteboard to teach reading comprehension skills, parts of speech, transition words, vocabulary study, and writing style. Allow students to copy/paste text into the whiteboard software so they can "work with words" from literary works instead of worksheets.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to encourage your students to read about science outside of the classroom. Share the link on your website or class wiki. Start by assigning an article to students and have them highlight and annotate important information and questions they have and discuss it in class or on a blog. Have students use a digital tool like Hypothesis, reviewed here, for highlighting and annotating. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, have students create blogs sharing their learning and understanding using Weebly, reviewed here. Or, if you are teaching a unit on something specific, such as Earthquakes, once students have learned essential vocabulary, have them read the issue and follow the links on the page. Have students discuss in class what they have learned. Then, have small groups create "Top Five Facts" to summarize what they have learned. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to explain the "Top Five Facts" the group wishes to share with the class. Use a site such as Blabberize, reviewed here. Reading teachers can also use the articles on this site for reading comprehension practice with nonfiction selections.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomThis site will work well for classrooms with individual spelling lists as students can input their own list to create printables and online activities for spelling practice. Watch the animated biographies on your interactive whiteboard as part of your President's Day activities. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Share the link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to access from home.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomMake this treasury a starting point for multicultural study of holidays around the world or for a more in depth study of Jewish traditions. Assign student groups to learn about specific aspects of the holiday and share their findings on a class holiday guide wiki. ith younger students, share specific links on a projector or interactive whiteboard and give students a chance to share and compare their own holiday traditions with the ones mentioned. You could even use some of these resources in upper elementary or middle school as reading comprehension exercises during the holiday season: write a summary or formulate a statement of a text-based site's main idea.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site with ESL/ELL learners as designed. Share the lessons on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If individual computers are available, have students view the lessons independently (with headsets) and create multimedia projects to demonstrate what they have learned. Have students create an interactive online poster using Genial.ly, reviewed here. Better yet, if students get used to the video and exercise formats, have them produce similar videos teaching a few lessons about their home cultures! Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube, reviewed here.
Special ed teachers and those seeking combination video/text lessons to use to teach listening/reading comprehension may find these lessons valuable, as well.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomMark this collection as a MUST have for teaching reading to students struggling to apply more than decoding skills. Pay special attention to some of the "In the classroom" tips for unexpected ways to use these sites to teach reading along with other subjects.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this when technology access is low or you want to print an activity for students to do when you are not there to supervise the technology use. Create in class reading from blogs or other websites that are appropriate for your classroom. Make a pdf that can be opened on your interactive whiteboard without all the ads and clutter of the web page so students can annotate, highlight, and even practice reading comprehension skills such as "main idea." List this link on your class website for families to try at home! Use it to share articles with parents, as well--as long as you model proper behavior by giving credit.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomEncourage your students to revise and edit their writing by turning their stories into stopmotion movies. Have students work in small groups to visually re-create events from their own writing. This will help develop stronger characters, dialogue, and draw attention to the elements of time and place. The planning sheets are a helpful tool to help students examine story structure and sequence. Alternatively, develop reading comprehension and fluency by asking students to re-create a fable or folktale. The new term for this is "Readers stopmotion." Teachers may want to be comfortable using a digital camera and movie making programs before embarking on this project."
Challenge students to share their videos on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here or post them on your class website. Get parent permission before posting any student work on this sharing site and check with your school administrator to be sure that your school allows students to post videos on-line. Teachers may want to be comfortable using a digital camera/webcam and movie making programs before embarking on this project.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomDuring discussion of the Kingdom Monera, learn more about bacteria and our health with these articles which many will find informative and interesting. Consider creating blog posts or newsletter articles that can be shared between classes. Identify the common misconceptions of the role of bacteria in our lives. Create a class bacteria wiki. Learn more about wikis at the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. These text articles can also be copied easily to your interactive whiteboard software for practice with science notetaking, main idea, summarizing, and more as part of content area reading practice.
Grades3 to 12
There are additional features if you choose to subscribe, particularly the Visual Thesaurus interactive word maps, which can be saved and printed, and an online edition in multiple languages for English-speaking students learning other languages and ESL/ELL students.
In the ClassroomTeachers and students can use the VocabGrabber on an interactive whiteboard, projector, or individual computers to highlight vocabulary specific to a literary work or curricular subject area, to improve reading comprehension by choosing key concepts and literary terms, and to build background knowledge for a given text. As an added benefit, have students click on the VocabGrabber when typing their own assignments such as a poem or an essay, to avoid repeating the same word. They simply type in a word and generate a list of synonyms and more descriptive words. VocabGrabber enables students to see how words are used in context, instead of memorizing word lists. Additionally, VocabGrabber is extremely helpful for students preparing for standardized tests. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the Gateway for information or supplementing the curriculum. Additionally, the Gateway can be used to introduce projects or investigations of world issues. Connect with the journalists to show actual research and personal investigations into these stories. Connect reading and writing across the curriculum no matter your content area using statistics, geography, and many other skills. For example, "Water Wars" is a must see no matter what subject you teach. Use one of these issues as a theme for building reading comprehension and research skills, perhaps creating a class wiki guide to the topic or inviting students to write blog posts as the different people affected by the problem. Why not provide this link on your class website for students to share with their families to promote interesting discussions at home, as well.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomHave the students make a cumulative map of all Hudson's voyages together in order for them to get a chance to become intimately familiar with the map making process. Try a site such as Zeemaps, reviewed here. Zeemaps allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location on a map where each story takes place. Have each cooperative learning group focus on a different exploration. Compare their creations with the online map which has all four voyages combined. Assign students in a group each a few pages of an imagined journal Henry might have written on each voyage. The most interesting part will be to imagine what happened to him after people no longer heard from him! Use this site as the starting point for individual research papers. Encourage students to find other resources that contribute to their knowledge of Henry Hudson. Have students write a talk Hudson might give if he suddenly woke up today (like Rip Van Winkle). Or make it more Web 2.0 and have students write blog entries. The text passages on this site are also ideal for reading comprehension practice. Project them on an interactive whiteboard for practice in main idea, summarizing, and more.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): weather (156)
In the ClassroomStudents could be assigned different false science statements to research and design their own science news articles comparing fact and fiction. Why not make this a multimedia project and have students complete a podcast, online poster, or narrated photo! For podcasts, try podOmatic, reviewed here. To create an online poster use a site such as Padlet, reviewed here. Challenge cooperative learning groups to find a photo related to their topic (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then label the photo by adding voice bubbles to explain what they learned using a tool such as Phrase.it, reviewed here. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Vesteezy, reviewed here. A class could also be assigned a specific false science fact to research and participate in a class blog or message board discussion via the class web page or wiki site. Students could also use the fiction as the basis for their own "Myth busters" episodes. Reading teachers looking for passages to use in reading comprehension practice, such as finding main idea and supporting details will find these non-fiction passages informative and interesting for their students. Make a temporary copy of one of the explanations to display in your interactive whiteboard software as students highlight key ideas and separate out supporting details using the whiteboard tools. Your science teachers will LOVE you for it!
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to tell your students that they are NOT the "dummies" referred to in this site! Then go beyond the obvious use of this site as a reference to use it to teach informational writing, reading comprehension, or any curriculum content. Share text-based articles on a projector or interactive whiteboard and have students analyze the keywords and structure of sequential direction-writing or informational writing before they try it on their own. Use the pens and highlighters to note transitions and other ways of organizing directions, including formatting. Use articles to teach basic comprehension skills by copy/pasting sections and having students drag them into the correct sequence on the whiteboard to form logical directions. In science or social studies classes, have students view models on this site, then work in groups to write their own how-to wiki on curriculum topics such as "How to tell a fungus from a bacterium," "How to solve simultaneous equations," or "How to form a government." If you have access to video equipment, have students write scripts and produce video versions of their how-to instructions and post them on a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThe sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using podOmatic, reviewed here. In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.
Grades1 to 12
One disadvantage of the site is that you can only enter a keyword when you get to the third step. After a book list based on interests appears, then you can search by keyword to make the search zero in on specifics. When teachers or students select books for a reading list, they can then click to see the complete list of books they have selected. Clicking on a book title leads to another screen, but it does not contain a book summary; instead, it has a list of other keywords for the book along with other book data.
In the ClassroomThis site is great for teachers searching for books at specific lexile levels. Learning support and ESL/ELL teachers can find books to accompany units in content area classes but on the correct lexile level. Students can also use the site by entering their grade levels and what kind of readers they are. Use this site to differentiate the learning experience for all levels of students. Rather than having students complete traditional book reports, why not have them complete a multimedia project? Provide some choices such as a podcast, using PodoMatic (reviewed here), interactive venn diagram comparing characters (reviewed here), or online book using Bookemon (reviewed here).
GradesK to 3
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