TeachersFirst's Audio Books
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.
GradesK to 12
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.
In the ClassroomCheck 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. Extend student learning and have students create podcasts to read their letters to the authors using a site such as PodOmatic,reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
** 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 (108)
In the ClassroomIncrease 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomUse 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.
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomDownload 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.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomUse 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. Modify learning and have your students create an interactive online poster using Canva, reviewed here. Use this story to help children find a voice and create their own stories or poems. Transform learning and share the stories by creating an online book using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomProvide this link to parents in support of your in-school reading program. Struggling students can use RIF's Reading Planet, reviewed here, for 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."
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomMany 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.
GradesK to 4
tag(s): comics and cartoons (54)
In the ClassroomIntroduce 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. Enhance learning and 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. Redefine learning and use these books as inspiration for student-made cartoon books in world language classes using Write Comics, reviewed here. Modify learning and have the class or individuals create online books to share using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 5
If you click on the Student View a spinning wheel will appear. Students can spin to choose a random activity! Many of these activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites on your classroom computers. Introduce this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. If a student finishes early and needs some enrichment or is struggling and needs some extra practice, look here for some interactive help! Share this site on your class website for students to access outside of the classroom.
GradesK to 2
This site requires Flash and Windows Media or similar player. The printable pages require Adobe Acrobat. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomAdd this link to your classroom computer for students to use for extra reading practice. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Set this site up as a learning center (or using individual computers, if available). Don't forget the headsets! List this link on your class website. Use free printouts to reinforce what was learned in the stories and for students to take home or do as homework. The "Watch and Listen" link at the left will take parents to a page where they can download podcast versions of the stories to take in the car!
Grades4 to 12
Be sure to check out the videos, which include commercials from the 1960s!
In the ClassroomThis site has so much to offer, the possibilities are endless. Obviously, this site is handy with ESL and ELL students. But there is SO much here to explore for teachers of elementary (social studies or language arts), AND secondary teachers trying to reinforce grammar skills, connect history and writing, and more.
Share portions of this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. With primary students, set up learning stations. Have cooperative learning groups explore the site together. Have groups investigate a specific area of this site and create a multimedia presentation to share with the class: wiki, blog entry, podcast, online book, or video. Need some "technology tips?" Try enhancing students' learning by having them create a podcast using podOmatic, reviewed here. Share "student-created" videos on a tool such as TeacherTube, reviewed here. Transform learning and have students write online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.