TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Dec 19, 2021

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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What a Character! Using Fictional Characters to Help Students Fall in Love with Reading - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Fictional book characters engage and inspire readers in different ways. This curated list includes suggestions for books with memorable characters and consists of picture books, chapter...more
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Fictional book characters engage and inspire readers in different ways. This curated list includes suggestions for books with memorable characters and consists of picture books, chapter books, and book series. In addition, you will find suggested activities to help learners analyze characters through the author's words and interactions with other characters within the books. Finally, extension activities provide additional ideas that extend learning by looking at characters from a different point of view. Information is correlated to AASL National Library School Standards and ISTE Standards for Students.

tag(s): book lists (124), characterization (12), critical thinking (101)

In the Classroom

Include books from this list on your recommended books list to share with students. Engage students further by using FlipGrid, reviewed here, to create student-produced short book reviews. Create a topic for each book title, then ask students to share a review of the book creatively using the site's tools to add text, stickers, incorporate a whiteboard, and more.

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OK2Ask: Engage & Inspire with Reading Treks - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from February 2021. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from February 2021. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

TeachersFirst Reading Treks are built using Google Maps to chronicle the journey that a story character takes over the course of a book. Each stop along the way adds to student comprehension as they explore the information, visuals, and videos embedded in the map. Give your students context for the stories they are reading by using Reading Treks in your lessons. As a result of this session, teachers will: 1. Understand how to use Reading Treks in the classroom; 2. Learn how Reading Treks are created; and 3. Plan a new Reading Trek you will create for your instructional setting. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): literacy (85), professional development (264), reading comprehension (123), reading strategies (56)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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TeachersFirst Reading Treks - Make Learning a Journey - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Your students can visit the world and build their background knowledge when they choose to read a book in conjunction with Reading Treks. Find fiction and informational books at every...more
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Your students can visit the world and build their background knowledge when they choose to read a book in conjunction with Reading Treks. Find fiction and informational books at every reading level. Each Reading Trek unit has a downloadable PDF with Common Core State Standards, ISTE Standards, Grade Level, Ideas and Activities for using the Reading Trek in class, and a list of Helpful Resources. There is also a Google Maps (KMZ) file. Under the About TeachersFirst Reading Treks on the home page find step-by-step instructions for when you're ready to use a Reading Trek. TeachersFirst is just getting started creating Treks for books. Do you have a suggestion? Select Suggest a Trek from the left menu to let us know about it. We'd love to hear from you!

tag(s): independent reading (104), maps (217), reading comprehension (123), reading lists (72)

In the Classroom

These units are perfect for use with a whole-class novel, literature circles, or individual reading! Ask students to keep a journal about what they are reading and learning. Replace traditional paper and pen journals using an easy virtual journaling tool such as Penzu, reviewed here. With Penzu you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. If you are conducting literature circles a good tool to use for small group assignments and communication is Asana, reviewed here, or Edmodo, reviewed here. For students or student groups to share their book with their peers, challenge them to enhance their learning and design an interactive multimedia poster using Genially, reviewed here.

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Toppsta - Georgina Atwell

Grades
K to 12
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Read, review, and discover the best books for children at Toppsta. Use the keyword search to find books or search for ages up to 18 years old and young adult. ...more
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Read, review, and discover the best books for children at Toppsta. Use the keyword search to find books or search for ages up to 18 years old and young adult. Each book title includes a summary along with reviews submitted by site members. Reviews indicate the age of the reviewer and number of reviews. Login to Toppsta to save books to your wishlist or create your own book reviews. This site was created in the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English.

tag(s): book lists (124), independent reading (104), preK (230), reading lists (72)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students as a resource for finding books for independent reading. Include a link on your class website or blog for access at home. Present a new book each week to students on your interactive whiteboard or share your wishlist with your school's media center to include with book orders. After reading reviews, enhance student learning by having students create a video sharing their own book reviews. Use Adobe Spark Video Maker, reviewed here, for this video project. Have students or groups share their own book suggestions using Dotstorming, reviewed here. Dotstorming creates free online bulletin boards.

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The Classroom Bookshelf - Mary Ann Cappiello, Erika Dawes, Grace Enriquez & K Cunningham

Grades
K to 12
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Discover ideas for new, captivating literature to include in your classroom! Each blog entry focuses on a recently published book. In addition to a summary of the book, entries discuss...more
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Discover ideas for new, captivating literature to include in your classroom! Each blog entry focuses on a recently published book. In addition to a summary of the book, entries discuss several different teaching methods incorporating the book along with extensive lists of links to additional information and similar books. In addition to the blog entries, use links to find book lists by topic as well as classroom and curricular ideas. This blog is a must-read for teachers of all subject areas and is free! This blog is a sister to The School Library Journal which costs for a subscription.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blogs (73), book lists (124), literacy (85), literature (220), preK (230), reading lists (72)

In the Classroom

Every teacher will want to bookmark this site as a resource for book ideas throughout the school year. Be sure to share this site with your school's media teacher for finding new materials to add to your school library. Search to find books on any topic or subject to use in your classroom library. Create a classroom center with books found through this blog. Don't forget to look through the many excellent classroom teaching ideas. Create a link to The Classroom Bookshelf on your class website for parents; they will appreciate the many book ideas to read at home. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create video book reviews using a tool like Moovly, reviewed here, or Powtoon, reviewed here, and share them on a site such as TeacherTube, reviewed here.

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Epic! For Educators - Suren Markosian and Kevin Donahue

Grades
K to 6
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Epic! offers thousands of high-quality free books for educators teaching grades K-7. Create an account using your education email to begin. Add up to 30 student profiles to your account...more
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Epic! offers thousands of high-quality free books for educators teaching grades K-7. Create an account using your education email to begin. Add up to 30 student profiles to your account to receive personalized recommendations based on reading ability and interests. Students can access books on any device and educators receive feedback including time spent reading, page flips, and books read. Students earn badges and rewards as they reach milestones. Resources include classroom posters, lesson plans, teacher tips, presentations, and letters to parents in PDF format. Find educational videos by Smithsonian, Blue Wonders, Animal Wonders, and Encyclopedia Britannica. Epic! also offers titles in Spanish. Tutorial videos reside on YouTube as do some of the educational videos. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): classroom management (137), DAT device agnostic tool (158), ebooks (35), independent reading (104), movies (55), reading lists (72), video (240)

In the Classroom

Create your free educator account and share with students as part of your independent reading activities. Adjust reading preferences and profiles as students increase skills or change interest in reading materials. Be sure to share with parents to use at home. What a wonderful, engaging way to keep students accountable for reading at home and for remote learning.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Wendy, OK, Grades: 2 - 4

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BookBub - Josh Schanker

Grades
7 to 12
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Looking for a new book to read? Bookbub has it covered. Enter your email address and begin telling BookBub your preferences in genres and your preferred reader device or app ...more
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Looking for a new book to read? Bookbub has it covered. Enter your email address and begin telling BookBub your preferences in genres and your preferred reader device or app (Nook, Kindle, iBook, Google Play, Kobo). You will be presented with a list of authors to follow based on your genres, and then you create your password. Next you will get a list of books recommended for you. Best of all, many of the books are free. You can always put a book under bookmarks, and be alerted when it has a reduced price or is available for free. You will even get an email when one of your favortite authors is publishing a new book. Under your account and notifications select how often you would like to receive BookBub updates - daily, weekly, and various other choices.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): book lists (124), independent reading (104), reading lists (72)

In the Classroom

Sign up for BookBub and receive daily emails with book excerpts. Share the excerpts with your class as a way to hook some students into reading or to offer book suggestions. Use the emails as an example of a service that students may want to try. A valid email is required to join this site. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here. Substitute oral book recommendations by having students choose an interesting excerpt from a book they are reading and share with it others via email or on your classroom blog or website. Be sure to have students use the title and author in the subject line! This will also provide a record for those looking for a new book.

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Share What You're Reading - Scholastic, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
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Use this handy tool to share favorite books and discover new ones. Read the advice for writing a good review at the top of the form before starting. After writing ...more
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Use this handy tool to share favorite books and discover new ones. Read the advice for writing a good review at the top of the form before starting. After writing the review submit to Scholastic by filling in a simple form that asks for first name, last initial, and no email required. To discover the next book to read select from a grade level or genre list and then find an interesting title and click to read the review.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): book reports (29), independent reading (104), reading lists (72)

In the Classroom

Introduce students to this tool using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Share the list of books already reviewed, and read a few reviews together. Read the guidelines for writing a review, and create a book report for a book read in class. First, model by creating a rough draft. Next, copy and paste the final version of the rough draft to Share What You're Reading. Last, show the students how to publish. Set up a station in class where students can write up other books they read. Another idea would be to use the published reviews for grammar exercises. Not only can you edit and revise a review, but it could also be a "book talk" to introduce students to a title.

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Planet Publish - Planet Publish

Grades
4 to 12
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Find free downloadable ebooks of many classics. Some titles available are: Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Little Women, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer,...more
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Find free downloadable ebooks of many classics. Some titles available are: Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Little Women, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, The Iliad, The Red Badge of Courage, Oliver Twist, Heart of Darkness, A Christmas Carol, and many others. Find an introduction (or Gallery) to the books by scrolling down the page. View the menu on the right to see all titles. Download the PDF to get the full book.

tag(s): literacy (85), literature (220), reading lists (72)

In the Classroom

When studying the classics, and using close reading techniques, pull up your PDF copy of the ebook to project on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use short passages to determine your literature circles. Read part of a story, and have students write the ending of the scene. Download to computers at centers for center time. Add to your classroom website to have ample reading material available for your students. Challenge your gifted students to read as many classics as possible. Locate classics to compliment your study of time, era, or author.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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What Should I Read Next? - Thoughtplay Ltd.

Grades
K to 12
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Not sure what to read next? Enter a book title you have enjoyed and view a generated list of similar titles. With a free registration, you can save a list ...more
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Not sure what to read next? Enter a book title you have enjoyed and view a generated list of similar titles. With a free registration, you can save a list of favorite books. When you view the list of similar books, you will notice a tab to click which leads to the listings on Amazon.com. Although a commercial site, there is a summary of the books and often, a few pages are available to preview the internal contents to see if you may like a book.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): book lists (124), reading lists (72)

In the Classroom

Refer students to this site when they are enthusiastic about any particular book. They will be delighted to find an extensive list of similar books. If your school policies allow students to register at sites, they can keep a list of favorites. Or, use a class email to register and keep a list of favorite titles your class has read. Provide this link on your class website for students (and parents) to access at home and find some "new reads."

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Reading Rockets - WETA Washington D.C.

Grades
1 to 6
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Reading Rockets is a comprehensive guide for parents, teachers, librarians, principals, school counselors, speech therapists, school psychologists, preschool caregivers, summer care...more
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Reading Rockets is a comprehensive guide for parents, teachers, librarians, principals, school counselors, speech therapists, school psychologists, preschool caregivers, summer care providers, and anyone interested in keeping kids reading! This site is an amazing resource to answer your reading needs. Updated continually, it keeps you informed with the latest research. New teachers, seasoned teacher, parents, principals, and anyone who works with students (reading) can benefit from the information included. Teachers will find: classroom strategies, how to help struggling readers, professional development webcasts, how to build strong parent teacher relationships, booklists, and how to use books in your curriculum. For principals, discover information on school level leadership, supporting teachers, closing the achievement gap, and working with parents. Find over 80 interviews with award winning authors, an author study tool kit, themed booklists, holiday gift guide, research-based articles, parent letters, launching young readers (series) on ipod, reading adventure packs, and other great tools. A librarian toolkit offers free video modules on finding the right book, becoming aware of print, reading as dialogue, and writers secrets. Many detailed articles discuss information about speech pathology, dyslexia, comprehension, motivation, phonics, writing, and spelling.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): authors (98), book lists (124), dyslexia (10), literacy (85), literature (220), parents (60), phonics (39), reading comprehension (123), reading lists (72), reading strategies (56), speech (68), spelling (88)

In the Classroom

Reading Rockets is a fantastic resource for teachers, librarians, parents, and principals. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter for the latest information, blogs, thoughts, and ideas for teaching reading. Use this website as a resource for your classroom, library, or even with you school action committees. Provide a link to this site on your class webpage. Install widgets for reading, and find the latest apps to support literacy. Join reading blogs, and add widgets to make your reading strategies complete. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

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Oxford Owl Reading - Oxford University Press

Grades
K to 6
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Find pre-reading and beginning reading help for the very youngest readers through the pre-teen years. From phonics lessons to online books to story videos read by professional story...more
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Find pre-reading and beginning reading help for the very youngest readers through the pre-teen years. From phonics lessons to online books to story videos read by professional story tellers, this site offers comprehensive reading help and activities for educators and parents. There are plenty of activities that accompany the free e-books. Many other activities encourage reading. On the e-book page are also suggestions for other similar or related books. In addition, a special section addresses the problem of reluctant male readers. Assistance for instructors is also available. Accompanying book lists are arranged by level of reader interest. Although the site has links to books for purchase, there is enough free material to warrant inclusion in your reading helps lists. British English speakers read the e-books, so be prepared for the difference in accents.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): independent reading (104), preK (230), reading lists (72), reading strategies (56)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce one of the free online books on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Then encourage students to use it individually or in pairs. Refer your ENL/ESL and learning support students to this site for extra, assisted reading practice.

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Audio Books Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books so all students, including emerging readers and ENL/ESL learners, can experience literature and other reading...more
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These educator-reviewed resources from TeachersFirst offer audio books so all students, including emerging readers and ENL/ESL learners, can experience literature and other reading selections in audio form to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment.

tag(s): audio books (19), listening (70), preK (230)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your professional favorites AND share it on a class web page for access by students and parents. 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.

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Into the Book - Wisconsin Educational Communications Board

Grades
K to 6
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This interactive site is a MUST-HAVE for anyone who teaches reading. To get started, simply type in your name and you will be given a user ID (for example, Melissa ...more
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This interactive site is a MUST-HAVE for anyone who teaches reading. To get started, simply type in your name and you will be given a user ID (for example, Melissa might be Melissa0039). *BE SURE to SAVE the user ID provided. The site saves your work and you can log-in with the user ID to go right back to where you left off! The site includes sections for both students and teachers. You will land on the student page, You can click on the "About" section at the bottom of the page and then click "Home" on the top left to see the teacher information.

The "Teachers Section" includes a treasure of information (see the tabs on the LEFT side). Some of the information on other sections of the Teacher Page involves an online course. But there is enough FREE stuff on the left side to make this site phenomenal: podcasts, videos, and many lesson topics. Find lesson plans, videos, teaching tips, research, and more about Prior Knowledge, Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, Summarizing, Evaluating, Synthesizing, and Using Other Strategies. The Student portion offers interactive, technology-based activities for each of the comprehension concepts. Check out the student-created Visualizing activities, including drawing pictures and adding music using the online tools.

tag(s): reading lists (72), reading strategies (56)

In the Classroom

Share the tools (podcasts, videos, and other interactives) on a projector or interactive whiteboard to introduce students to this site. Then have students try some of the interactives on individual computers or at a learning center! Take advantage of these ready to go lesson plans, printables, and teaching tips. What a fabulous site to integrate into your language arts classes! Have students use this site to create multimedia presentations. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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