TeachersFirst's Audio Books with Text
These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books with accompanying text so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature and other reading selections in audio form as they reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment. Be sure to explore each site, as many include multiple types of activities, including the audio books and texts. The helpful reviews suggest ideas for ways to use the books in the classroom or outside of school to reinforce literacy skills, improve English skills, or study literature in new ways. See TeachersFirst's full collection of audio book resources and interactive audio book resources for other options.
GradesK to 2
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In the ClassroomShare these stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Or better yet, create a link to stories on your classroom computers and use this site as a reading center. (Don't forget headsets.) Share a link to the site on your classroom website or blog for parents to access the site with their student.
Grades5 to 12
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In the ClassroomIf filtering blocks your at-school access, use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to convert online videos such as the ones you find on YouTube into a portable format you can play at school. World language students will enjoy hearing the news in other languages, but also seeing the English translations. If you have students in your classroom who are reading below grade level, have them watch the video twice: once to listen to the words, and the second time to read along with the dialog. Have students view these sample videos and then work in cooperative learning groups to create their own videos on topics they are currently learning in science, current events, or nearly any other subject area. Share the videos using a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here. High school social studies classes can compare news coverage from different countries/cultures about the same event to analyze the "spin" or bias.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomProject any of these beautifully appealing, magical films on your interactive whiteboard or projector when you are doing a whole class unit on folk tales or intersperse them throughout your year-long study of literature. Be sure to turn up speakers. Expose your students to the art of oral storytelling, and have them discover the lesson or moral the story teaches. Some of the tales are accompanied by interactive learning games, which students can do on individual computers or as a whole class. Allow students to explore this site on their own using laptops (don't forget the headsets).
GradesK to 5
tag(s): listening (91)
In the ClassroomShare these audio stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector(with speakers!). Allow students to explore this site during reading centers. (Don't forget the headsets.) Offer this link on your class website for students to visit at home. Use this site to share stories from around the world as listening activities or as tie-ins to geography study.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): literature (274)
In the ClassroomOffer this site to students who wish to use digital devices to read. Keep in mind that many of the selections are older, in the public domain due to the expiration of copyright. ESL and SPED students may benefit from being able to hear or see books in a different way. Use these texts as language to analyze or manipulate on your interactive whiteboard to teach reading comprehension skills, parts of speech, transition words, vocabulary study, and writing style. Allow students to copy/paste text into the whiteboard software so they can "work with words" from literary works instead of worksheets.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents could work independently or in pairs on a set of class computers while having everything right at their fingertips for reading, visualizing, and fully understanding the dialogue, stage directions, plot, and setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Provide a direct link to the Interactive Folio on your class web page or wiki for students to complete independent reading assignments. Project this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector for a whole class look at specific lines; everything is organized and easily navigated and retrieved by act, scene, or page number. After students' initial reading, use the Resource section, as a study guide and teaching tool. Create a class wiki for students to use to discuss various acts or scenes. To learn more about wikis, check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomOf course Women in History month is the perfect time to make this site available to your students, however, you may use this link anytime as a fascinating way to discover women's contributions to history. Use it in a general manner by displaying and demonstrating it on your classroom whiteboard to introduce the many female heroes who have contributed to and made a difference in our lives, or use it more specifically to springboard a research assignment. As an alternative to writing a report, have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. or for those even more advanced technology users, students can collaborate to create an interactive timeline with images and text by working with xtimeline reviewed here.
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomUse the suggested lesson ideas to create centers or a unit based on Frank Asch books. Allow students to listen to the online stories at a computer center. Display and watch one of the stories on the interactive whiteboard, discuss the actions of the characters and main idea of the story.
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 (103)
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 6
Kindersite collaborates with outside institutions to develop educational projects that compile resources, generate new curriculum models, create training materials, and implement teacher-training seminars. Researchers can gather user data from Kindersite that represents varying population sizes, geographical groupings, and languages.
General Tips and Reminders: Some sites originate from the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English. There is some advertising on the right side of the page. Some links may direct students to sites that also contain advertising. Warn your students to avoid them.
tag(s): literacy (103)
In the ClassroomInvigorate shared reading with Kindersite's songs and stories. View the colorful illustration and text on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Some stories and songs highlight the tracking of words. Other sites provide character voices when you click the text in quotations. The animation will definitely engage everyone even those who wiggle on the carpet. Differentiate computer centers with the "my page" function. Save interactive tasks that target the instructional needs of students. Make a shortcut to the "my page" site collections on classroom computers and use it as a center. Be sure to take advantage of the professional resources Kindersites provides as well. Post a link to this site on your school website for parents to access at home.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomEngage your class in real world learning while building fluency and reading skills. "Voices in the Dark" is always looking for people to contribute to their on-line library of audio books. Consider having your class submit an audio recording of their own to the collection. First choose a genre to focus on such as Fairy Tales or Aesop Fables. Review the page that contains directions on how to select stories, create a recording, and submit work. There is a list of links full of public domain books from which to choose. They provide tips on how to record your reading and directions on how to submit your work. Sites such as Audio Pal reviewed here may be helpful in creating your recordings. Of course, check with your administrator before attempting this project and obtain parent permission before sharing or posting student work.
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.
Grades1 to 5
In the ClassroomHave students try out this site on individual computers, with head phones, or let them listen in pairs. Before they go to the questions, ask them to list the questions the site might ask them after they have seen the model of one story. Share this link on your class web page, wiki, and/or in a parent newsletter. Share the site with special language teachers at the elementary level.
GradesK to 7
In the ClassroomThis colorful website will appeal to lower elementary students immediately, but its activities are stimulating for older students as well. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard. Have pairs of students explore the site together and create multimedia presentations to share with the class. You could create a class wiki for students to share their thoughts on the podcasts, video clips, or artwork. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Another idea, have students create online books demonstrating their new knowledge using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomThis site works really well with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Students can view the videos on the board and then play the games on the interactive board. The printables can be used by an entire class or for individual students who need skills reinforcement, and the books can be used as a center. The students have the choice of having the books read to them or reading on their own, so the site addresses the abilities of all students.
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. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Use this story to help children find a voice and create their own stories or poems. 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) or Leading to Reading (reviewed here) 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 (74)