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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Read Theory - Read Theory (Tanner)

Grades
2 to 12
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Read Theory offers over 1,000 interactive reading comprehension exercises. Learn to think critically, draw inferences, understand scope and global concepts, find or recall details,...more
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Read Theory offers over 1,000 interactive reading comprehension exercises. Learn to think critically, draw inferences, understand scope and global concepts, find or recall details, and infer meanings of vocabulary words. Get detailed reports to track and analyze progress using percentages, bar graphs, and tables. Sign up with an email and be sure to know your reading level. Then it is simple: Read the passage, take a quiz, and see answers and explanations for answers after finished with the quiz. If you are unsure of the appropriate reading level, visit a reading assessment site. Try Literably, reviewed here, to assess oral reading comprehension or News in Levels (use Test Your Level of English), reviewed here.

tag(s): guided reading (42), reading comprehension (88)

In the Classroom

Take your students to the next level in their reading and reading skills! Sign up students yourself (assigning a password and username). Students can sign up for themselves if they have an email (and school policies permit). The first task is to provide the reading level. Use this site to differentiate reading levels for your students. Set up a learning center for use during your L.A. block. This will allow you one-on-one time to begin the program. In a learning support or remedial reading class, especially at upper levels where "reading" is no longer a regular subject, this tool will allow students some autonomy in improving their skills. It will also let them see progress. Discuss with individual students the questions they answered, where the answer was in the reading, etc. Be certain to save this site in your class favorites and list it on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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WebNotes - Ryan Damico

Grades
4 to 12
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Highlight and add notes to web pages with this tool. View the demonstration video for an overview of all features available through WebNotes. Organize your notes and other information...more
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Highlight and add notes to web pages with this tool. View the demonstration video for an overview of all features available through WebNotes. Organize your notes and other information into folders. Access anywhere from your browser plug-in or the WebNotes bookmarklet. Sign up for your WebNotes account using your first name, email, and password. Follow directions to add WebNotes onto your computer's browser or load the bookmarklet to your toolbar.
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tag(s): browser (7), note taking (23)

In the Classroom

Check to be sure you can install the add-in or bookmarklet on school devices or have students install on their own devices. Consider creating a class account for use by students. However, in order to attribute the work to individual students have them initial their entries. Discuss appropriate and inappropriate comments with students prior to using. Be aware that students can use this service as a type of a proxy server to view blocked pages while at school.

Use this tool to share citations within academic groups or to discuss design changes on a class or group page such as a wiki or blog. Use this site to help ESL/ELL students learn new language skills by highlighting and explaining certain phrases on web pages. Use with classes, having students add comments or questions to any page you assign for discussion. Students can find pages of interest about a specific content topic and comment their likes and dislikes. Look at various political, environmental, or ethical viewpoints by adding URL's for both sides of the argument. Include guiding questions to build reading comprehension or to connect reading to concepts being studied. Learning support teachers may want to create notes together with students, annotating assigned text to show understanding and for learning target vocabulary.

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Wordsmyth - Wordsmyth

Grades
K to 12
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Keep the dictionary on the shelf and tap into the power of words with Wordsmyth, an online dictionary, thesaurus, and word reference tool. There are three "levels" of readers...more
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Keep the dictionary on the shelf and tap into the power of words with Wordsmyth, an online dictionary, thesaurus, and word reference tool. There are three "levels" of readers included at this site. WILD (Wordsmyth Illustrated Learner's Dictionary) is an online dictionary designed for K-3 early readers (or ESL/ELL students). Each entry includes a written definition with audio available. For older elementary students, try Word Explorer, containing words, synonyms, word mapping ideas, and more. You will also find images and animations for many topics including; the human body, the human mind, everyday life, history and culture, communication, living world, physical world, natural environment, economy, and government and law. The highest level (Comprehensive Dictionary-Thesaurus Suite) includes three reading levels and thousands of images to explore. It also offers definitions at three reading levels (great for differentiating). Outside of the three main references, there is much to explore. The search feature finds words with similar spelling. Use the anagram feature to help to form words with given letters in your Scrabble game. The Crossword Puzzle finds words using key words and the number of letters in a word. If you register (free version, but requires email) you can create and save up to 10 word activities with up to 12 words per activity. Quizmaker makes fill in the blank, matching, and multiple choice quizzes. Design customized glossary pages with the words you choose with your applicable definition. Add the widget to your toolbar, a floating widget, or embed on your school web page. Check the blog for the word of the day, new entries, games, and upcoming teachers' tools, and roots and affixes.
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tag(s): crosswords (11), dictionaries (47), preK (236), quizzes (76), spelling (163), thesaurus (23), vocabulary (308), vocabulary development (104), word study (60)

In the Classroom

Capture your students with the power of words at all levels. Keep this link on your toolbar as a quick reference for easy access to improve reading comprehension and writing word variety. When starting a new content area unit, challenge your gifted students with advanced vocabulary words. In your school library, make this handy reference available for everyone as a bookmark and on your online reference page. In primary grades or with ELL students, bookmark the WILD section for easy access. Share vocabulary words with young students on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share the word of the day with your students at all levels and explore together. Create your own glossary page for up to 10 teaching units. Provide support for struggling readers or ESL/ELL students by showing them how to access and use this site. Encourage word games such as Scrabble, Upwords, or crossword puzzles, with Wordsmyth as a partner! Share this site on your class website for gifted students to explore at home (or in class) and find new challenging vocabulary to stretch their minds!

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Reading Strategies for the Social Studies Classroom - Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Grades
5 to 12
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This is an excellent resource of materials and strategies for comprehension of Social Studies reading materials. Each strategy provides one activity targeted at U.S. History and one...more
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This is an excellent resource of materials and strategies for comprehension of Social Studies reading materials. Each strategy provides one activity targeted at U.S. History and one targeted at World Studies. Strategies include ideas such as previewing text and visualizing information. It also provides an overview and teaching materials. Choose any resource to view in PDF format for easy printing.

tag(s): concept mapping (24), graphic organizers (46), reading comprehension (88), reading strategies (28), visual thinking (12), visualizations (14), vocabulary (308)

In the Classroom

Although geared toward struggling readers and Social Studies, this site is excellent for use with any content area reading lessons. Choose an activity for each month as a focus lesson. Incorporate the strategy throughout all lessons by modifying questions and included activities. Share with ESL/ELL and special education teachers as a resource for improving reading comprehension. This site works well with Common Core strategies for informational text throughout the curriculum.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Graphic Organizers for Reading Comprehension - Scholastic.com

Grades
1 to 12
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Looking for ready-made graphic organizers? This time-saving site has numerous organizers available to print in a pinch or to use on an interactive whiteboard. Use these versatile learning...more
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Looking for ready-made graphic organizers? This time-saving site has numerous organizers available to print in a pinch or to use on an interactive whiteboard. Use these versatile learning tools with any book across all grade levels. The categories on the site provide efficient and effective searching. Find graphic organizers for assessing students, plot and sequence, character analysis and setting, reading comprehension, and organizing patterns. Find idea webs, Venn diagrams, timelines, KWL charts, story trains, reading records, and more. Integration ideas accompany each organizer.
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tag(s): graphic organizers (46), guided reading (42), independent reading (97), reading comprehension (88)

In the Classroom

Print and save the graphic organizers for use throughout the year. The organizers also work well on interactive whiteboards or projectors. These organizers are especially helpful when teaching different text structures found in informational text as required with Common Core. Use the organizers for writer's workshop or reading instruction. Share organizers when preparing for standardized tests to help students organize information. Use the organizers to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your student's thought process.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Newsela - Matthew Gross

Grades
4 to 12
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Use Newsela to differentiate nonfiction reading for various levels of readers. Newspaper writers rewrite a story four times for a total of five Lexile levels per story. Many stories...more
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Use Newsela to differentiate nonfiction reading for various levels of readers. Newspaper writers rewrite a story four times for a total of five Lexile levels per story. Many stories also have embedded, Common Core aligned quizzes that conform to the reading levels for checking comprehension. Register with your email and name of your school.

tag(s): differentiation (27), guided reading (42), independent reading (97), news (169), reading comprehension (88)

In the Classroom

Achieve two goals here: help students improve their reading comprehension and keep them current with what is happening in our nation and the world. Students must register with an email. Younger students can use a parent email or set up an account using your Google email. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. When assigning articles, choose to have the class read at one reading level, or choose individuals and set the reading level for them. There are five categories from which to choose. You may want to set up different articles at different learning stations on the computers in your room. Have the students rotate daily through the stations, completing one or two a day until they have completed all five articles. Since Newsela is cloud based, even absent students can complete the missed work easily. Teachers of gifted students can use this site to accelerate or enrich reading for students. Find each students individual levels for reading nonfiction. Teachers or Learning Support and ELL students will love this alternative way for their students to meet current events requirements.

Comments

This is an excellent site and allows differentiation while everyone is reading the same text. Renee, NC, Grades: 0 - 5

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Crocodoc - Crocodoc

Grades
6 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Upload documents, mark them up online, and share with others. Upload a document and use the easy tools to mark up the document. Comment by creating a point, marking an ...more
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Upload documents, mark them up online, and share with others. Upload a document and use the easy tools to mark up the document. Comment by creating a point, marking an area, or highlighting text and then adding your comment. Draw using the pen tool with your choice of colors. Add text boxes, highlight passages, or strike-out words. View annotations along the right side that show document changes. Invite collaborators, share, or download easily. Click on my documents to find your document list quickly and easily.
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tag(s): writing (316)

In the Classroom

Be sure to monitor student use. Require students to invite you as a collaborator in order to monitor use in the group. Check district policy about sharing student information including email addresses.

Anything students can do on a single computer, they can do collaboratively using Crocodoc, accessing their work from any online computer. Have students collaborate on revisions and editing exercises using their own writing or drafts you share with them. Share a poem for literature students to analyze and annotate together or a text passage for students to mark key terms and generate a main idea statement as part of reading comprehension exercises in small groups. Have student groups collaborate on sample open-ended test responses for high stakes tests, then compare the group responses on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Even better, re-share results with other groups jigsaw-style for multi-layer collaboration.

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TV411 - Reading - Education Development Center, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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Find entertaining videos, web lessons, and downloads to support learning about reading comprehension, test prep, and libraries and books at TV411. Each video includes a short description...more
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Find entertaining videos, web lessons, and downloads to support learning about reading comprehension, test prep, and libraries and books at TV411. Each video includes a short description of contents, then just click to view the video. Below the video text includes skills addressed. For example, the video Dorothea Lange, Photographer addresses the skill of reading pictures. Skills addressed include summarizing, point of view, newspapers, highlighting, and study skills. Most videos are approximately three to five minutes long and include links to related web lessons and print-ables to download. Although this site was originally created for adult English language learners, it would be useful with all secondary students.

tag(s): context clues (7), maps (246), news (169), newspapers (47), poetry (213), point of view (8), summarizing (12), word study (60)

In the Classroom

View videos on your interactive whiteboard as part of your reading comprehension or study skills unit. Use on an as-needed basis to address classroom deficiencies in particular areas. Have students complete the web lessons on their own during computer center time. Create links to certain videos on your class website or blog for students to view at home. Check out the Teachers portion of the site to find activities for improving or introducing skills along with ideas for using the videos in the classroom. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to provide suggestions for study skills and improving reading comprehension. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ESL Games World - eslgamesworld.com

Grades
1 to 12
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ESL Game World is the place to go for interactives, PowerPoint activities and templates, printable board games, ESL/ELL games for kids and adults, grammar games, vocabulary challenges,...more
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ESL Game World is the place to go for interactives, PowerPoint activities and templates, printable board games, ESL/ELL games for kids and adults, grammar games, vocabulary challenges, and reading activities. Some of the featured activities include Snakes and Ladders, Hangman, and Wheel of Fortune games/templates. Some spelling appears to be different from Standard American English. Check to be sure. Avoid the online store section to stay with free activities.
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tag(s): grammar (211), grammar review (36), verbs (38), vocabulary (308)

In the Classroom

Find ways to assist your ESL/ELL students in an engaging way! You can also use many of the games to reinforce basic skills with native speakers. Customize some of the activities for the content areas you are studying. Use as a whole class activity on your projector (or interactive whiteboard) to practice vocabulary, grammar, and content. Add as a resource for ESL/ELL learning or even struggling readers. Ideas and materials are gathered in one spot to help you reduce the time you need to meet your ESL/ELL students' differentiated needs. Add this link to your class website or share with parents as a resource.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Synonyms and Antonyms - Learning Today

Grades
4 to 6
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This simple interactive provides practice with synonyms and antonyms for vocabulary in an engaging manner. Hints are provided. Go beyond vocabulary matching and dig deeper into the...more
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This simple interactive provides practice with synonyms and antonyms for vocabulary in an engaging manner. Hints are provided. Go beyond vocabulary matching and dig deeper into the word meanings.

tag(s): antonyms (26), synonyms (38), vocabulary (308), vocabulary development (104)

In the Classroom

Use Synonyms and Antonyms at a center or share the site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use as a model for your current vocabulary words. Have students find synonyms and antonyms for your words. Students can also create sentences for each vocabulary word. This is an excellent way to improve word study skills. Use in your writing class to remind students to use spicy vocabulary words. Use this site to increase your students' vocabulary, the key to improving reading comprehension!
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Exobrain - Colin Dunn and Nick Gauthier

Grades
1 to 12
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Exobrain is an easy to use brainstorming and mind mapping tool. Register using email and a password to begin creating a board with "nodes." Give the central node a name ...more
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Exobrain is an easy to use brainstorming and mind mapping tool. Register using email and a password to begin creating a board with "nodes." Give the central node a name then drag your mouse to create additional nodes. Create links between nodes by dragging a line between them or remove links by hovering over the line and clicking the scissors. Free accounts allow for three cloud-based maps. Access using the unique url generated for each mind map. The introductory video requires Flash, the remainder of the site does not. Be aware: maps can be viewed publicly. Be sure to check your district policy on publishing student work online.
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tag(s): mind map (26)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to map out a poem, story, or novel students are reading. Use in managing (and even color-coding) information in any content area. Assess prior knowledge with a class brainstorm. Use as a plan for projects to show all information and all steps for its completion. This would also be a great tool for group projects for your students or even in YOUR grad classes! Teachers in lower grades can create whole class maps together. Share the maps on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Since you can only create three maps for free, you might want to compare with other mind-mapping tools reviewed at the TeachersFirst Edge.

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ReadWorks - ReadWorks.org

Grades
K to 6
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ReadWorks provides a free, research-based, and Common Core-aligned reading comprehension curriculum for grades K-6. Search through hundreds of lesson plans organized by grade level,...more
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ReadWorks provides a free, research-based, and Common Core-aligned reading comprehension curriculum for grades K-6. Search through hundreds of lesson plans organized by grade level, topic, or book titles. Register to download materials and save lessons to your folder. (A valid email and password is required). Other areas of the site provide information about using and teaching the provided lessons and differentiation. Choose the non-fiction portion of the site to obtain over 1,000 reading passages along with question sets to support learning activities. Click on the skill/strategy link located by a passage to find other material addressing that skill.

tag(s): characterization (14), context clues (7), figurative language (17), guided reading (42), independent reading (97), main idea (10), parts of speech (64), plot (10), point of view (8), reading comprehension (88), reading strategies (28), sequencing (32), themes (8), vocabulary (308)

In the Classroom

This site is a must-bookmark site for access throughout the year. Search for lessons addressing specific skills to use in your classroom. Share with others in your building and be sure to check out the 5th and 6th grade novel study units for classroom use, perhaps with gifted 3rd and 4th graders too!
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Introducing Text Structures in Writing (5th Grade) - Utah Education Network

Grades
4 to 6
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Introducing Text Structures in Writing is a comprehensive lesson plan to introduce the idea that science writing organizes in identifiable patterns called text structures. Common Core...more
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Introducing Text Structures in Writing is a comprehensive lesson plan to introduce the idea that science writing organizes in identifiable patterns called text structures. Common Core Reading/LA Standards focus on these text structures in informational texts. Use the provided links to many materials such as word cards, sentence strips, definitions, and graphic organizers to print materials in PDF format. Lists include suggested books for different text structures such as sequence, description, and compare and contrast. Use extension and assessment ideas as additions to the lesson plan. Although labeled for 5th grade, this lesson would be appropriate for use in any classroom learning to read and understand non-fiction and informational text.

tag(s): process writing (33), reading comprehension (88), reading strategies (28), sequencing (32), writers workshop (19), writing (316)

In the Classroom

Print materials included with this lesson and use as an addition to a current writing and reading comprehension units. This would make an excellent addition to standardized test preparations to help students analyze and assess readings provided during testing. Extend this lesson beyond science texts. Use lesson components and ideas for social studies and all other non-fiction reading materials.
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Wild Kratts - Kratt Brothers Company / 9 Story Entertainment production.

Grades
2 to 7
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Join Aviva, Chris, Martin, Jimmy, and Koki on their quest to save the animals of our world. Based on the PBS television show, explore biology, zoology, and ecology of our ...more
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Join Aviva, Chris, Martin, Jimmy, and Koki on their quest to save the animals of our world. Based on the PBS television show, explore biology, zoology, and ecology of our planet. You will also learn small ways to make a big impact on saving our world. With a login, you can save points earned from games and receive special powers from animals to compete and survive in the games using your avatar. You do not need any email account to register/sign in. Explore the avatar creation area, games, creaturepedia, habitats, and videos to help learn about animals. Click on the Teachers Link (For Grownups) at the top of the page to find lesson plans, printable PDFs, objectives, and more.
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tag(s): africa (178), animal homes (29), animals (227), ecology (130), habitats (70), zoology (7)

In the Classroom

Capture kids' interest in biology, zoology, and ecology with Wild Kratts. Joining in adventures with the gang, allows students to learn about animals, habitats, and the planet. Use this site as a resource in science. Share the videos and/or interactives on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Add the site as an enrichment area for everyone to explore. Use the adventures to inspire either narrative or expository writing. Use as a technology resource for digging in deeper for your common core content area. With using your avatar, students can experience and make connections with each of the animals given. ESL/ELL and learning support students will find this site useful with reading, video, and demonstrations of the different featured animals. Your science club will enjoy the experiences of the Wild Kratts. Using the area you live in, have students work in groups to study the animals, birds, reptiles, fish, and arthropods. Create a wiki with the research of your area. Or have students create their own blogs highlighting what they have learned. Have students create blogs using Throwww (reviewed here). This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. There is no registration necessary! Share your research and stories with other classes in your own school, students' families, and more.
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Inklewriter - Joseph Humfrey and Jon Ingold

Grades
4 to 12
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Create interactive, choose your own adventure ("branching") style stories with inklewriter. This site is ideal for anyone to create a story and then share with others via a unique URL....more
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Create interactive, choose your own adventure ("branching") style stories with inklewriter. This site is ideal for anyone to create a story and then share with others via a unique URL. These stories allow for others to create their own path or choose an existing one. Begin by choosing to read stories or create your own. Type parts of the story including the title, author, beginning, introduction, and add sections as needed. After each paragraph is the option to create different outcomes of the story, offering choices the reader makes. The site contains excellent tutorials for getting started with stories. When finished, share the url for your story using Twitter or Facebook or copy the URL to share and bookmark as you wish. Of course, your "story" need not be fiction! You could also write an opinion piece with branches for people to ask click on questions about facets of your argument! NOTE: When you click to begin writing, you should click SIGN IN and choose to make a new account. Do this before you start writing in order to be able to save. The tool will then save your work as you go along. Although you do not HAVE to sign in before you start, it is risky to sign up later! Here is a sample to show just ONE way to use Inklewriter besides the obvious use for storytelling. Inklewriter has also made it easier for teachers to sign up students WITHOUT student email addresses. Read the directions about how to do this lower on the page under "Signup and email addresses."

tag(s): creative writing (136), digital storytelling (86), narrative (20), persuasive writing (44)

In the Classroom

View stories on the site together to understand the components of the site and discuss how different choices in characters and settings lead to different story outcomes. (Be sure to preview stories before sharing, since there is "public"' content.) Watch the tutorials together on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) before students begin to write stories. Use a graphic organizer to "map out" the story before writing. Create a short story together as a class to become familiar using the site. Assign a group of students to create an interactive story each week to share on your classroom website or blog. Have students create a story diagram before beginning a story on inklewriter; then use the site to complete the project. Create class stories to teach about literature, geography, reading comprehension, history, science concepts, and more. As a more "serious" approach, use Inklewriter to present opinion pieces where you take a position and allow readers to click on questions about it. They could also click on statements expressing opposing views so you can write counterarguments to their points. This could end up being a powerful way to present an argument and evidence as required by Common Core writing standards. A graphic organizer for planning and organizing evidence is a must! Teachers of gifted could use this for students to develop elaborate fictional or informational pieces. If you work with students who struggle, scaffold with a template for them to organize their thoughts.

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Inhabitat - Inhabitat, LLC

Grades
7 to 12
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Find technological improvements and enhancements that make a difference in today's rapidly changing world. This site's mission statement is "Good design is green design." Search articles...more
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Find technological improvements and enhancements that make a difference in today's rapidly changing world. This site's mission statement is "Good design is green design." Search articles about improvements in architecture, interiors, energy, technology, transportation, fashion, art, and kids. Read blog posts about advancements in each of the categories. Below the posts are related topics of additional interest. This site appears to be updated often, so be sure to check back.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): ecology (130), environment (287), inventors and inventions (99), persuasive writing (44), resources (102)

In the Classroom

When discussing environmental topics, be sure to share this link on your class website or on a class computer for students to access information about great technological breakthroughs. Use when students are researching technological advancements of their choice. Challenge individual students or cooperative learning groups to read one of the articles and report their findings to the class, making connections to some of the topics you study. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. If you teach about advertising techniques inventions, challenge your students to select a "product" from this site to create a new advertisement using a specific technique. The innovative ideas will spark their interest! Use articles from this site for reading comprehension selections that will interest even the most reluctant readers. The articles are also useful prompts for persuasive writing or debates.

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ePub Bud - ePub Bud, a not for profit organization

Grades
K to 12
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EPub Bud is a multifaceted site where you can create and share your writing, read ebooks published by others, participate in activities, and join or create groups. You can read ...more
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EPub Bud is a multifaceted site where you can create and share your writing, read ebooks published by others, participate in activities, and join or create groups. You can read and create ebooks for and on any device. EPub Bud uses the standard .epub file format. Go to the page titled "How To Read These ePub eBooks" to see all the different readers and browsers and recommendations for how to read the ebooks. This is perfect for those with more than one device requiring different formats or when sharing eBook resources with others. Use many formats such as doc, PDF, HTML, and more to convert. Also, see their Upload/Convert page. ePub Bud, developed for children's books, also has adult books. You can learn to create books that include audio, too.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): ebooks (34), independent reading (97), literature (218)

In the Classroom

What better way to publish for an authentic audience than to have your student's short stories, research, children's books, and novels published here? Use for students to "publish" their own works easily. Write and collaborate using Google Docs, download the document, and then convert using this tool. Use in elementary reading to make instant ebooks from their own writing or from vocabulary words in upcoming units. Use for whole-class collaboration and create a book to share on eBook readers. The books you or your students create can also include audio and video. Offer this site to students who use digital devices to read. You can use this resource to convert eBooks for sharing in a class using a variety of devices. Since there are also adult books on ePub Bud, you will want to supervise any downloading of books by students to read in your classroom. ESL/ELL and learning support students may benefit from being able to hear or see books in a different way. Use these texts in language arts to analyze or manipulate on your interactive whiteboard to teach reading comprehension skills, parts of speech, transition words, vocabulary study, and writing style. Teacher librarians can encourage students to share student-written eBooks or book reviews in the school media center on almost any type of device.

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Science Video Animation - Russell Kightley media

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore an impressive set of science and engineering animations to help explain difficult concepts. View animations and posters. Understand what the visual is about by reading the background...more
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Explore an impressive set of science and engineering animations to help explain difficult concepts. View animations and posters. Understand what the visual is about by reading the background information. Animations and posters cannot be used off the site without purchasing, but this is an excellent resource for viewing and sharing in its online version. Topics include different types of engines, how an eye works and vision problems, convection, waves, and more. There are also several animations about geometric solids.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): atoms (52), cells (96), colors (74), diseases (55), dna (67), earth (212), electricity (74), energy (168), engineering (84), geometric shapes (126), light (42), machines (30), molecules (37), solar system (107), sun (65), vision (85), waves (21)

In the Classroom

Use the simulations to help explain topics and concepts in class. Language arts teachers can use this site as a source for nonfiction reading comprehension. Science and language arts teachers can use the site as a learning center for students who need enrichment. Find great animations to help visualize various topics from different viruses to diesel engines, the Doppler Effect, to the garden sundial, and the vertical sundial to name just a few. Check the readability of the animations you want students to use on their own by using the The Readability Test Tool reviewed here.

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Magic Town - MindShapes

Grades
K to 3
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Magic Town is a virtual world where characters from children's books come alive. Izzy and Max greet you upon your arrival at Magic Town. They show you around the ...more
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Magic Town is a virtual world where characters from children's books come alive. Izzy and Max greet you upon your arrival at Magic Town. They show you around the virtual world and suggest a visit to the Big Tree to meet Louis, the resident storyteller, a friendly old lion. Magic Town presents books using a special interactive storytelling format called "Livebook." You can choose from four ways to interact. The Explore mode reads the book aloud with animations, pausing to flash when you should click on a character to make it move. Periodically, the story stops and the narrator asks a reading comprehension question. You answer it by selecting from three visual options. The Play mode reads the story aloud and periodically stops to flash so you know to click on things in a scene to move the story forward. Another option is to simply watch as the story animates and listen to the words read aloud. The last option is to read the book with someone or by yourself without narration but with animation. You must subscribe to the site to even see the Livebooks, requiring an email and password to login. Most of the site is available through a paid subscription. However, there are 20 ebooks offered for free with more additions expected, so it is worth a look.

tag(s): independent reading (97), literacy (85), reading comprehension (88)

In the Classroom

Create a classroom account and share login information for students to use to interact with stories at home and on classroom computers. Use this site on your interactive whiteboard as a reading center. This site would be wonderful to use with struggling readers, learning support, or ESL/ELL students to increase reading comprehension. If you like interactive books, find more in TeacherFirst's collection of interactive audio books.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Spreeder - 7-Speed-Reading

Grades
7 to 12
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Learn to read at a faster pace with much better reading comprehension using Spreeder, a free online speed reading service. This method trains you to achieve results, using passages...more
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Learn to read at a faster pace with much better reading comprehension using Spreeder, a free online speed reading service. This method trains you to achieve results, using passages of your choice. Simply load (or copy and paste) the text, and Spreeder will pace through it at a speed appropriate for you. You can adjust your speed as your reading comprehension increases. There have been several costly speed reading programs introduced in the past; however, comprehension has often been sacrificed. Spreeder starts with finding the your base rate for reading with full comprehension and gradually allows settings to be changed to increase the words per minute that maintain high comprehension. There is also a feature to increase "chunk" size, an effective strategy used in reading instruction.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): reading comprehension (88), test prep (83)

In the Classroom

In this era of high-stakes testing, it is imperative that students be able to read and comprehend at an expected rate in order to complete the tasks within the designated time. Think about the implications for improving state test scores and PSAT or SAT college entrance exams! Demonstrate Spreeder on your classroom projector or interactive whiteboard by copying and pasting practice passages from your state's Department of Education link to state testing. Link to SAT practice sites such as College Board SAT Preparation Center (reviewed here) or Test Prep Review (reviewed here). Provide opportunities for students to try it on individual classroom computers. Provide a direct link to Spreeder from your classroom web page or wiki. This will enable motivated students to take charge of increasing their own reading speed, or you may want to incorporate it with homework assignments and make parents aware of it.

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