Reading in the Content Areas

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

 

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Public Domain Books On-Line - Jeff Kelley

Grades
3 to 12
3 Favorites 2  Comments
This privately done digitized library focuses on books published before 1923, primarily those with magnificent illustrations. Books digitized are in the public domain and are also available...more
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This privately done digitized library focuses on books published before 1923, primarily those with magnificent illustrations. Books digitized are in the public domain and are also available to the large digitization projects going on now with the Google Books project. This site's charm is its ease of use. Users can search by author's last name or by using a list of subject categories. Because the project is fairly small, it's fun to browse through the offerings before deciding on a specific choice. The quality of the digitization is very good and appears to offer complete works. Some books have been reformatted, presumably to allow viewing consistency.

tag(s): air (146)

In the Classroom

Because these books are in the public domain (i.e. older), their language is not "contemporary." The texts would make excellent pieces for reading comprehension passages or culture study of past times, and you need not be worried about copying/pasting text from these into other software and/or making copies. You could even use them as passages on an interactive whiteboard to practice "main idea" or parts of speech.

The illustrations are simple and beautiful. Print out some great artwork for your classroom bulletin boards, copyright-free!

The myths/legends collection would be great for upper elementary or later mythology units. Students can also use the passages and illustrations to create multimedia "tales" of their own. Give them the opening passage and let them write the rest.

Comments

The myths/legends collection would be great for upper elementary or later mythology units David, VA, Grades: 4 - 8
The illustrations are simple and beautiful. David, VA, Grades: 4 - 8

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Headliners - Headliners/formerly Children's Express

Grades
3 to 12
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Formerly Children's Express, this relaunched site offers contemporary stories, mostly about life in the UK, at levels children can easily understand. The site is intended to develop...more
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Formerly Children's Express, this relaunched site offers contemporary stories, mostly about life in the UK, at levels children can easily understand. The site is intended to develop learning through journalism for ages 8-19. Stories are offered in writing, and some are also on video. Although a bit slow to load, the archive offers stories organized by subject matter. The focus is on young people, with lots of interviews and hot topics. Qualified UK youngsters can become writers for upcoming news pieces, and all users can read about how these young people became reporters. Requires Windows Media Player in order to hear the broadcasts.

tag(s): journalism (54), news (260)

In the Classroom

Use the stories to teach reading comprehension skills, especially inferencing, since American students will need to use context to figure out some of the terminology and background written by British students. Try projecting a story and asking student how to find context clues to explain what the story is about. If you have an interactive whiteboard, use the tools to mark clues. Then use these stories as models for writing activities on topics that matter to your students.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Graphic Organizer Maker - Recipes4Success/Tech4Learning

Grades
1 to 12
14 Favorites 0  Comments
This handy online tool lets you create customized graphic organizers "on the fly" and print them from the web site. There is a paid version of the site, but this ...more
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This handy online tool lets you create customized graphic organizers "on the fly" and print them from the web site. There is a paid version of the site, but this FREE tool lets you choose the type of organizer you want, customize the Title and Directions, and print. Organizer types include Venn diagrams, KWL, scientific method, and many more. Learning support teachers will want to use this for students to create study materials.

In the Classroom

Use these printed organizers as study support for any content area topic. Many are excellent options for reinforcing reading skills in the content areas, even for senior high students. Include this on your teacher web page so students can create their own organizers to study for tests or prepare presentations.

To make a new organizer, simply click "new," write title and directions, and print the small "print" icon. It may be easiest to take their default directions and change them for your purposes. Note that you LOSE your work when you close the page, so make sure you have printed first!

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Create your own R.A.F.T.S. Prompts for Science - Northern Nevada Writing Project

Grades
4 to 12
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Looking for writing prompts that are fun and geared toward a science? Look no further! This web site offers a great way to create writing prompts simply by ...more
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Looking for writing prompts that are fun and geared toward a science? Look no further! This web site offers a great way to create writing prompts simply by clicking on an icon and receiving the luck of the draw. User chooses the subject and by random selection, the web site chooses the Role, Audience, Format, Topic and Strong Verb. May be tricky for lower grades and will require several walk-through lessons. Great for students who struggle with brainstorming writing topics.

tag(s): writing (365), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

This is a great way to find ideas for literature contracts, guided reading assignments, teachers who are having writer's block. Great way to tie science to language arts using a write-to-learn approach. This is a sure way to build content area reading comprehension of your science textbook.

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Thanksgiving Writing Prompts and More - ABC Teach

Grades
1 to 5
1 Favorites 0  Comments
On this webpage you will discover reading comprehension activities (for primary and upper elementary), coloring pages, interactive activities for most subject areas, and writing prompts...more
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On this webpage you will discover reading comprehension activities (for primary and upper elementary), coloring pages, interactive activities for most subject areas, and writing prompts all based on a Thanksgiving theme.

tag(s): reading comprehension (127), thanksgiving (34), writing (365)

In the Classroom

Use the entertaining prompts to start your class blog entries or journal writing activities for Thanksgiving. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, have students create blogs sharing their learning and understanding using Pen.io, reviewed here. This blog creator requires no registration. If you are teaching younger students and looking for an easy way to integrate technology and check for understanding, challenge your students to create a blog using EasyBlog, reviewed here. After completing a couple of the writing prompts, challenge older students to choose one and create a script for their story; then put it into a Thanksgiving podcast. Use a tool like Buzzsprout, reviewed here.

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WorldWise Schools - Teaching About Culture Lesson Plans - Peace Corps

Grades
2 to 12
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This site is a much-expanded remake of the Peace Corps collection of lesson plans and activities for cross-cultural understanding around the world. Teachers can search for lesson plans...more
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This site is a much-expanded remake of the Peace Corps collection of lesson plans and activities for cross-cultural understanding around the world. Teachers can search for lesson plans by topic, region of the world, grade level, or academic subject. All readings and materials are included (many as pdf - Acrobat Reader files). Many lessons include readings that would also work well for teaching reading comprehension, espceially for your less-than-proficient readers. Simply choose the area of the world, subject, and/or grade level for which you want a lesson plan, and you will see quite a list.

tag(s): cultures (107)

In the Classroom

Search for lessons on a specific region as you teach about it or use these selections as general readings for comprehension. They may also be helpful in getting to know students who enter your classroom from other cultures. The lessons would be very helpful in developing background knowledge to understand cross-cultural literature selections in a language arts class.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Black Wings: African American Pioneer Aviators - Smithsonian- National Air and Space Museum

Grades
5 to 12
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Inspire future aviators or encourage students to pursue their dreams with this site that traces African American aviators through the years. There are many images and short passages...more
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Inspire future aviators or encourage students to pursue their dreams with this site that traces African American aviators through the years. There are many images and short passages of text. The reading levels are not for younger students. Black Wings permits students to download and use images in their reports, as long as they are classroom projects, either printed or electronic, such as in PowerPoint. Images may not be published on web pages or burned to CD. Be sure to visit the What's New section for featured interviews with aviators. What a terrific and interesting primary source!

tag(s): africa (165), african american (109)

In the Classroom

Use this one as part of reading comprehension practice and find that your students are actually interested in what they read. Have students create projects about their favorite aviator or aircraft on a poster, in a PowerPoint presentation, or using Inspiration software.

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Learning Resources to Promote Literacy - Western/Pacific Literacy Network

Grades
5 to 8
4 Favorites 0  Comments
This literacy resource provides students with full texts of a wide variety of news stories, then challenges them with related interactive activities testing reading comprehension. Each...more
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This literacy resource provides students with full texts of a wide variety of news stories, then challenges them with related interactive activities testing reading comprehension. Each full text is accompanied by an abridged version, and a story outline - great features for differentiating instruction as needed.

tag(s): literacy (107), reading comprehension (127)

In the Classroom

Use for independent, self-paced reading practice. An excellent preparation activity for state standards testing.

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Reading Comprehension - RHL

Grades
4 to 6
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This collection of printable worksheets addresses a variety of comprehension skills using short poems, essays, articles, and stories. Each text sample is followed by content-related...more
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This collection of printable worksheets addresses a variety of comprehension skills using short poems, essays, articles, and stories. Each text sample is followed by content-related discussion questions or multiple-choice quizzes.

tag(s): reading comprehension (127)

In the Classroom

Add to your arsenal of educational tools for state assessment testing preparation. Distribute the worksheets and divide your class into cooperative groups so that students can share in discussions of the readings and related activities.

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Learning Resources - CNN

Grades
8 to 12
21 Favorites 0  Comments
Improve reading comprehension of non-fiction text with this online activity that uses actual CNN news stories to strengthen skills in making inferences and drawing conclusions. Differentiate...more
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Improve reading comprehension of non-fiction text with this online activity that uses actual CNN news stories to strengthen skills in making inferences and drawing conclusions. Differentiate your reading instruction by allowing students to choose a story of interest, then select the full or abridged version, based on reading ability. Follow-up activities testing vocabulary and comprehension are provided (see links to the left of each story).

tag(s): reading comprehension (127)

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Children in Victorian Britain - BBC

Grades
4 to 7
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Although this page has been archived and is no longer updated, all links are functional. Catch a glimpse of what life was like for children in England during the age ...more
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Although this page has been archived and is no longer updated, all links are functional. Catch a glimpse of what life was like for children in England during the age of Queen Victoria with this delightful resource. Enter the Interactive portion of the site and choose one of three portals - school, work, or play. Each section offers a captioned video presentation, audio clips with accompanying transcripts, and an interactive game. Printable activity sheets are included.

tag(s): britain (35), england (56), victorian (21)

In the Classroom

Use as an independent computer station in your classroom to strengthen reading comprehension. Just add a worksheet of content-based questions. Or project and view the videos in class to generate a discussion of how the lives of children in Victorian England differed from the lives of children in 19th century America.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ABYZ News Links

Grades
9 to 12
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Choose a country and publication, then tap into the latest news of the day with this easy-to-use directory that links to newspaper Web sites from around the world. This is ...more
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Choose a country and publication, then tap into the latest news of the day with this easy-to-use directory that links to newspaper Web sites from around the world. This is an excellent resource for building authentic reading comprehension skills in a world language class.

tag(s): news (260)

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Reading Comprehension Connection - Merit Software

Grades
4 to 11
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Give your students some independent practice in reading comprehension with this collection of interactive lessons. Select a subject (vocabulary in context, reading for understanding,...more
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Give your students some independent practice in reading comprehension with this collection of interactive lessons. Select a subject (vocabulary in context, reading for understanding, or reading strategies) and a skill level. Check out the lesson summaries for guidance in determining the reading levels addressed by each module. This site offers great practice for state assessments. Be aware: this site does sell software but teachers can use this portion of the site for free.

tag(s): assessment (119), reading comprehension (127)

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Brainchild Online Assessment - Brainchild

Grades
5 to 7
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Simulate a reading comprehension assessment with this interactive quiz. Short texts are followed by multiple-choice questions. After completing the activity, students can view a summary...more
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Simulate a reading comprehension assessment with this interactive quiz. Short texts are followed by multiple-choice questions. After completing the activity, students can view a summary report that provides links back to missed questions. Click on the "Study" buttons to practice specific areas of weakness. A great prep activity for state assessment testing.

tag(s): assessment (119), reading comprehension (127)

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What Makes A Compound Word? - Education Development Center

Grades
5 to 8
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This interactive tutorial introduces compound words and strategies for revealing their meanings. Includes an instructive slide show followed by some completion, click-and-drag, and...more
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This interactive tutorial introduces compound words and strategies for revealing their meanings. Includes an instructive slide show followed by some completion, click-and-drag, and reading comprehension activities. Preview content and difficulty level before turning your students loose on this one.

tag(s): word study (78)

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Sounder - Lesson ideas - Easyfunschool

Grades
6 to 7
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Here's one of the rare sites with a brief lesson for the well loved story Sounder. This one, created by Easy Fun School, has some facts about the author ...more
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Here's one of the rare sites with a brief lesson for the well loved story Sounder. This one, created by Easy Fun School, has some facts about the author William Armstrong and a few vocabulary word suggestions. A set of Questions and Activities are included that can be great for reading comprehension, class discussions, and as short writing assignments. Teachers will find the questions useful when planning the study of this compelling story.

tag(s): sound (104)

In the Classroom

If you are using the questions as short writing assignments, consider having students answer them using an online blogging tool. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, have students create blogs sharing their learning and understanding using Telegra.ph, reviewed here. This blog creator requires no registration. If you are teaching younger students and looking for an easy way to integrate technology and check for understanding, challenge your students to create a blog using EasyBlog, reviewed here. Some of the questions call for reasearch. Challenge students to present their results in a multimedia presentation such as Adobe Spark, reviewed here.

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Children's Picture Book Database

Grades
1 to 5
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One of the faculty Miami University of Ohio has created an on-line database designed to help teachers build thematic units for young children around picture books. The only user interface...more
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One of the faculty Miami University of Ohio has created an on-line database designed to help teachers build thematic units for young children around picture books. The only user interface is a fairly sparse search engine which prompts with selections of keywords for each of the various categories. While awkward at first, this becomes more intuitive as you use it. Search results include bibliographic information and short plot summaries. Once you get the hang of it, this could be a nice way to build thematic units for younger children.

tag(s): book lists (133)

In the Classroom

Use the book reviews on this site for recommendations to parents who want suggestions on outside or summer readings. The lists are separated by topics, concepts, and skills for building content area reading across all academic subjects. You can also browse by categories, abstracts, or an A-Z list.

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