TeachersFirst's Audio Books

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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.

 

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Library of Congress Read.gov - Library of Congress

Grades
K to 12
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Here you will find the English teachers dream come true! Read.gov is from the Library of Congress and is a new website for readers of all ages. The site offers ...more
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Here you will find the English teachers dream come true! Read.gov is from the Library of Congress and is a new website for readers of all ages. The site offers pages specifically designed for kids and teens, as well as adults, educators, and parents. There is so much here: Contests, books online, book lists, and more. The webcast section is truly extensive. There are Webcasts from famous authors such as R.L. Stine, Jon Scieszka, Jan Brett, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Neil Gaiman, and many more. These webcasts also include interesting topics like "Mystery Writers Discuss Their Craft" and "The Nuts and Bolts of Historical Fiction" among others.

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.

tag(s): authors (119), writing (356)

In the Classroom

Check 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.

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Tar Heel Reader - University of North Caroline

Grades
K to 12
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Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide...more
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Find free on-line books perfect for emergent readers. The author of the site, the Center for Literacy and Disabilities studies at the University of North Carolina, wants to provide free resources to give everyone an opportunity to learn to read and write. All books are free and available for download as slideshows using PowerPoint, Impress, or Flash. Book topics include biographies, fairy tales, history, science, math, nursery rhymes, poetry, food, and more! All stories have speech enabling, can come in as many as fourteen different languages, and are compatible with touch screens. Since a wide range of age groups use this site, they have a rating system to suggest what is suitable for younger readers. Tar Heel Reader is also a great way to write books. Upload images from your computer or Flicker, add text, create, and share student stories with an authentic audience of readers. Tar Heel Reader is a great way to engage students with reading material, increase class participation, and create inclusive instruction for those with illiteracy or learning disabilities.

** 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 Classroom

Increase 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 gb@cs.unc.edu 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.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Signed Stories

Grades
K to 5
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The goal of Signed Stories is to increase the literacy of deaf children; however, it is a great resource for all children. After choosing a story, you will see the ...more
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The goal of Signed Stories is to increase the literacy of deaf children; however, it is a great resource for all children. After choosing a story, you will see the text, hear the story and see it in sign language. Almost 100 titles are available and can be searched by topic or by browsing all titles. Some stories offer more options than others. Many stories have pause and rewind buttons, so you can replay to see signs again.

In the Classroom

Use 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.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Online Audio Stories - Abbey Rice

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K to 3
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Bring classic children's stories to your classroom in an engaging and easy-to-use manner! This site contains many stories such as Jack in the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, The Princess and the...more
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Bring classic children's stories to your classroom in an engaging and easy-to-use manner! This site contains many stories such as Jack in the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, The Princess and the Pea and more in both audio and video format. Choose the story you want to read by genre, theme, author and other choices. Click to play and you are ready to listen and read along with the storyteller. One great feature of this site is that you can click on any word in the story and choose a language to see the word translated - a great addition for ESL students and families. All stories can also be downloaded in mp3 format, meaning that they can be played on most audio players and ipods. Note: This site may take long to load. Be patient.

tag(s): air (135), audio books (24), folktales (48)

In the Classroom

Download 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Professor Sneeze - Marie, Muriel, and Myriam Dielemans

Grades
K to 6
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Scroll down the page to find Mr. Sneeze and his fact and advice about climate change. Follow animals through short stories, fiction, and cute drawings to learn about climate change....more
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Scroll down the page to find Mr. Sneeze and his fact and advice about climate change. Follow animals through short stories, fiction, and cute drawings to learn about climate change. Learn about the changes which have been fact checked, and bring the phenomena to young students clearly and simply. Click on one of three age groups to view a variety of activities: Download the story, read the story, use suggested related activities, and learn to draw the animals in the stories. Many also have the option of printing printable versions of the stories. Goals and educational notes are provided as well. Note: the audio versions of the stories do not always work, depending on your browser and platform (Win/Mac). Pretest or use the versions with text on screen.

tag(s): arctic (47), climate (95), climate change (71), environment (296), polar (17)

In the Classroom

Use 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.

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Reading is Fundamental - Parent Literacy Resources - Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

Grades
K to 8
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The celebrated RIF program offers this site for parents to support their children's literacy. You will find resources from infancy to the teenage years and some for the entire family....more
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The celebrated RIF program offers this site for parents to support their children's literacy. You will find resources from infancy to the teenage years and some for the entire family. While there is more available for younger children (through elementary school), the Whole Family area and some of the activities are enjoyable for teens, as well. Click to find practical tips to support your growing readers, monthly features, interactive books, activities for family heritage, authors, polls, a personal bookshelf to collect book recommendations, and more. You can even search for activities by age and activity type.

tag(s): authors (119), literacy (108)

In the Classroom

Provide 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."
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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RIF Kids: Reading Planet - Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

Grades
K to 5
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RIF, the long-established organization for promoting reading, offers this site for school-aged readers and their parents. Young readers may join (or not) and access activities to do...more
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RIF, the long-established organization for promoting reading, offers this site for school-aged readers and their parents. Young readers may join (or not) and access activities to do alone or with family (Activity Lab), book ideas (Book Zone), writing starters and contests (Express Yourself), and educational games (Game Station). Many of the activities are ready to go in a classroom or at home. Several of the activities are available in both English and Spanish. New writing activities appear monthly, including story starters for members to complete. Feature authors and new additions make this site worth a look every month.

tag(s): authors (119), puzzles (200)

In the Classroom

Many 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Toon Book Reader - Paws

Grades
K to 4
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Read cartoon books online using this interactive site. Choose from one of six cartoon books. Choose to read the book in English, Spanish, or French and navigate through the pages ...more
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Read cartoon books online using this interactive site. Choose from one of six cartoon books. Choose to read the book in English, Spanish, or French and navigate through the pages using the left and right arrows. Use the "Start Over" button to begin again or click "Read To Me" to hear audio of the pages. Want to read another book? Click "Library" to view the choices.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (54)

In the Classroom

Introduce 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Computer Lab Favorites - Scholastic

Grades
K to 5
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All of the activities at this site are designed to take 15-30 minutes and include language arts, math, science, social studies, and Spanish. You can also choose your grade levels: ...more
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All of the activities at this site are designed to take 15-30 minutes and include language arts, math, science, social studies, and Spanish. You can also choose your grade levels: k-2 or 3-5. There are over 50 interactive stories and activities here to share. Examples of activities include Rhyme with Reggie, Myth Brainstorming Machine, Practice Counting Stars, Figure out a Pizza Puzzle, Tour the Mayflower, Build a Plane, Build a Dinosaur, Play Sports on the Moon, Make Weather Happen, and countless others.

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.

tag(s): dinosaurs (49), pilgrims (16), poetry (223), preK (287), spelling (158)

In the Classroom

Save 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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C Beebie's Stories and Rhymes - BBC

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K to 2
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This collection of online written and oral interactive stories features British pronunciation, but the story clips are short and easy to understand. Many of the characters are also...more
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This collection of online written and oral interactive stories features British pronunciation, but the story clips are short and easy to understand. Many of the characters are also on American television (64 Zoo Lane, Teletubbies, Jakers, and others). Students will enjoy learning clicking to the next page of the story as they view the animation and frequent rhyming sequences. Some of the stories also require readers to click on elements of the story in order for it to continue, or to hear special dialog. All the stories are also available in print format. The home part of the site keeps track of the places readers have looked at and offers games and links to other C Beebie features.

This site requires Flash and Windows Media or similar player. The printable pages require Adobe Acrobat. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): interactive stories (27), rhymes (29)

In the Classroom

Add 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!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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English Online France: Free online ESL/EFL Academic Reading and Writing Exercises - Glenys Hanson and Fiona Robertson, et. al.

Grades
4 to 12
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Although this site is constructed for students who are learning English, the language and the writing, it is a great site for all students who need practice in such skills ...more
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Although this site is constructed for students who are learning English, the language and the writing, it is a great site for all students who need practice in such skills as writing paragraphs, listening skills, word choice, reading strategies for academic texts, and reading for thinking. Almost all of the links include interactive exercises which allow students to work independently, testing themselves as they go. The site includes tutorials, self-quizzes, and more. There are links to podcasts, videos, songs, "Grammar Safaris," and many other English topics. If you go to Internet Resources (the link is found at the top of the page), you will find addition subject areas: Business English, Science and Technology, Reading, Art, and others. There is also a link to Primary Level. Go there to find interactive flashcards, online stories, and printable pages, and much more.

Be sure to check out the videos, which include commercials from the 1960s!

tag(s): vocabulary (289), writing (356)

In the Classroom

This 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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