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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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 (133), environment (322), inventors and inventions (89), persuasive writing (55), resources (106)

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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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 (54), cells (99), colors (78), diseases (71), dna (64), earth (223), electricity (93), energy (210), engineering (133), geometric shapes (169), light (54), machines (27), molecules (45), solar system (121), sun (69), vision (79), waves (22)

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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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. Use passages of your choice by simply loading (or copy ...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. Use passages of your choice by simply loading (or copy and paste) the text, and Spreeder will pace through it at a speed you set. You can adjust your speed as your reading comprehension increases. There is also a feature to increase "chunk" size, an effective strategy used in reading instruction. Get the free app for Chrome or use the practice box on the site. There is a paid "training" portion for this tool. This review is only for the free portion.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): reading comprehension (127), test prep (95)

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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Mother Nature Network: Earth Matters - MNN Holdings, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
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Find information and recent news about the environment, energy, animals, weather, environmental politics, and more. Search various topics through the drop down menu. Click on headlines...more
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Find information and recent news about the environment, energy, animals, weather, environmental politics, and more. Search various topics through the drop down menu. Click on headlines in the Latest News section. Images found in the Photo Galleries are impressive. Search through videos and articles, as well as blogger columns.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (320), climate change (70), earth (223), earth day (104), energy (210), environment (322), natural resources (58), nuclear energy (25), politics (98), solar energy (40), space (226), weather (205)

In the Classroom

Click on each topic for more information. For example, Choosing Energy shows latest news related to energy alone. Use the spectacular images as writing prompts or to encourage discussions. Find incredible photographic lists to use as a writing prompt and for further research. Research more information under the Learn more section. Use the information for research, understanding issues involved with the environment, for questioning the natural world, and to encourage action. Reading specialists can find informational reading passages to use for practice with reading comprehension. Clear out clutter on the page with the article using the Readability tool, reviewed here. Then share the article on interactive whiteboard for students to use the pens to annotate main idea, etc. In science class, have students read an article of choice and create a public service announcement type assignment. Consider using Tildee, reviewed here. With Tildee students can use text, screen shots, and video to develop their public service announcement. Be sure to provide a link of this site on your website or a classroom computer for easy access.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Bounce - ZURB

Grades
6 to 12
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Bounce allows you to upload from your computer or grab an image from the web to share with others. Make "bouncing around" on the web easier and more directed by ...more
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Bounce allows you to upload from your computer or grab an image from the web to share with others. Make "bouncing around" on the web easier and more directed by guiding people to what you want them to see. Once you grab or upload an image (screenshot), you can add notes and comments. Share via email or using the url on the page. Free registration is required to be able to share links, view projects, and collaborate.

tag(s): images (283)

In the Classroom

Create a detailed and guided "web quest" for students. This way they cannot be confused about what they should be looking for on a page; they can simply look for your comments and find their information. Help special education students and others keep track of and organize what they have found on the web for research projects. This would be an excellent tool for showing and teaching reading comprehension. Assign students a web article or story and have them notate it with their pre reading questions, main idea sentences or summaries of what they have read. They can share their links with you as an assignment submission or for others to view. Use Bounce for students to critique or analyze bias or misinformation on websites as part of an information literacy unit. Students could also use a picture of an animal or plant and add the taxonomical information to it in science class and create a "web trail" of insects using Bounce as an alternative to an old fashioned insect project. Collect and annotate from all over the web!

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Reel Life Wisdom - Doug Manning

Grades
5 to 12
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Capture your students' attention through movies! Reel Life Wisdom, offers a collection of over 3,200 hand-picked quotes from films across the ages. Search for great quotes by...more
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Capture your students' attention through movies! Reel Life Wisdom, offers a collection of over 3,200 hand-picked quotes from films across the ages. Search for great quotes by movie title, actor, or year. Quotes are organized by character qualities such as hope, faith and belief, and courage. Love: Connect to Your Supporting Cast quotes contain quotes on family, friends, contributions, and relationships. Random Bits of Wisdom quotes examine adversity, balance, discrimination, and responsibility among many others. Reel life quotes aim to inspire and support people proactively, self-managing their life. An RSS feed and email subscription ensure delivery of daily quotes to you.

tag(s): firstday (24), movies (69), quotations (25)

In the Classroom

Reel Life Wisdom supports character education programs with a parent PDF offering useful tips. Use relevant quotes in discussions on theme, choice, and empowerment. Lead your students to understand they are in charge of their lives. Improve reading comprehension of any text, by making connections or comparisons to a movie. Strengthen writing skills by critiques, explanations, and point of view essays. Challenge students to reach a deeper understanding of theme by finding a quote to match the theme. Use movies as an example for positive, effective goal setting strategies. Develop written or oral language by using the quotes as writing/speaking prompts. Challenge students to discover the many choices available to every individual. Encourage a meaningful sense of story development while connecting to each student's interest. The movies also offer a personal story into the study of people, government, and values. Create a thematic bulletin board of quotes on a topic, or have students generate word clouds from several favorite quotes on the same theme. Use a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here. Post the clouds for class inspiration. During the first week of school, share this site and ask each student to share a favorite quote on a class blog or wiki for students to get to know each other.

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DOGOnews - Meera Dolasia

Grades
2 to 12
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety ...more
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Need kid-friendly online news? This safe site, written for kids, by kids, offers news from a younger point-of-view. You can create a class page where you can load a variety of articles, add a book list, a calendar, favorite sites list, add lesson plan instructions, monitor student comments, and more. DOGOnews is kid friendly, colorful, and flexible. After all, DOGO means young or small in Swahili. You can select articles from a number of categories (Social Studies, Science, World, Current Events, etc.). There is an integrated dictionary for challenging words and maps for geographical context. Some of the articles include short video clips. Students may leave brief comments about each article (no login required). Also, typing the word "video" in the search box will bring up the Video of the Week for the past several weeks. The videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube. In addition, find a Book and Movie section with a brief summary for the book or movie, and comments. You don't have to join to read the articles, but you do need to join to create a class page. There are many benefits to creating a class page, and it's all free! Don't want to create a class page? You can also embed articles on your current web page.

tag(s): news (258), reading comprehension (127), sports (98)

In the Classroom

Non-fiction reading and background knowledge have found a new emphasis with The Common Core State Standards. It is more important now than ever to help connect students with quality, non-fiction reading and viewing material. Find great news resources and videos of the week to create assignments for your class at DOGOnews. You may want to create a class page and load several news articles. Have students choose from the articles, and email it to themselves. Have students print out the article and complete a "close reading" of the article by annotating it. Then have students who chose the same article get together in groups to discuss their reactions about the article, create a summary together, and create four or five open-ended questions about the article. Lastly, create groups of four, with each student having a different article, and have them present their article to the others in the group and ask them their open-ended questions to trigger a discussion. Create a class magazine from the articles. Or better yet, have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows you to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Strengthen reading comprehension by having an 'article du jour' on your interactive whiteboard or projector as students arrive. Link this site on your homepage.

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Print what you like - printwhatyoulike.com

Grades
K to 12
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Hate to waste paper? Use this free resource to print web pages without wasted white space, ads, or extra pages. Enter the URL (web address) of the website you wish ...more
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Hate to waste paper? Use this free resource to print web pages without wasted white space, ads, or extra pages. Enter the URL (web address) of the website you wish to print, rearrange the elements, and print! To rearrange, edit the items on the left navigation bar. Choose to show or hide the background, images, or margins. Change the font or font size. Save your changes as a pdf for later viewing. Create an account for more features such as "change sets" which allow your formatting options to be applied to other pages from the same website and clips. Use the clips or pieces from various web pages to create a simple page that houses them all. Add the bookmarklet to your browser by simply dragging it to your toolbar. Be sure to check out the demo and videos.

tag(s): conservation (123)

In the Classroom

Use in the classroom to save paper and printing ink. Teach students to remove unwanted images and change margins to fit the content on a page. Be sure students save the page as a pdf to view and print again later if needed. Model an environmentally friendly classroom with the use of this resource. Be sure to check with your tech department on the ability to add bookmarklets to the browser toolbar. This resource can be used without signing up - a bonus for the classroom! Use this when technology access is low or you want to print an activity for students to do when you are not there to supervise the technology use. Create in-class reading from blogs or other websites appropriate for your classroom. Make a pdf that can be opened on your interactive whiteboard without all the ads and clutter of the web page so students can annotate, highlight, and even practice reading comprehension skills such as "main idea." List this link on your class website for families to try at home! Use it to share articles with parents, as well--as long as you model proper behavior by giving credit. Best practice ALWAYS includes a url and title/author on any printed article from the web.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ESL Bits - Skip Reske

Grades
5 to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Don't let the title mislead you! Find listening and reading activities for any listener who enjoys audio stories at a teen and adult level, including the advanced English language learner....more
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Don't let the title mislead you! Find listening and reading activities for any listener who enjoys audio stories at a teen and adult level, including the advanced English language learner. There are short stories, books, radio scripts, and songs to listen to and read, as well as English idioms, sayings, and slang. You'll also find a Reading Comprehension and Test Preparation area with interactive activities to help students read and understand English and prepare for reading exams. Unlike many audio book sites, this one includes recent and popular selections for almost anyone, including teachers and parents! Don't miss classic radio shows perfect for discovering life in 20th century decades past.

tag(s): listening (86), radio (26), reading comprehension (127), short stories (25), test prep (95)

In the Classroom

Project a story or song on an interactive whiteboard or projector for group listening, reading along, and discussion. Literature teachers can use the site for a class novel, so lower readers can have audio support at home for listening and review. You could have small groups of students listen to different short stories, and make up Bloom's type questions for the next group of students to answer, or they could turn the story into a Reader's Theater piece and video tape it, or perform it live for the class. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. This is a terrific site to list on your class website for students to use for at-home practice or enjoyment. For elementary and middle school students, you will want to provide the specific url for the selection you want them to use so they are reading articles appropriate in content for their age group. If you supervise a study hall, keep this link handy as a listening option for students who "don't have any homework."

Comments

Excellent resource! alma grimaldi, , Grades: 7 - 9

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Dvolver - Movie Maker - Ben Rigby

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 1  Comments
   
Dvolver creates animated movies online. In no time at all, there is an animation of your topic. No membership is needed to create movies. Membership is free. Some content choices ...more
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Dvolver creates animated movies online. In no time at all, there is an animation of your topic. No membership is needed to create movies. Membership is free. Some content choices may be inappropriate for the classroom. The scene descriptions include things like "freeze your butt off" at the mountain scene, so less mature students will not manage this tool well. Always preview or use under supervision, depending on your teaching situation and students' maturity level. Here is a sample Dvolver movie made by our review team. Tip: email the finished movie to yourself to obtain the url or find it amid the embed code, if you are enough of a "geek."

Devolvr content may be problematic in some middle school/junior high settings, depending on community standards and student maturity levels. Teachers should preview to determine suitability at their own school or use only in a teacher-supervised setting.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (62), video (272)

In the Classroom

Model how to use this site safely on your projector or interactive whiteboard so students can learn how to act wisely online. Doing this also provides you with the ability to point out specific features students should not use and to spell out consequences. Some districts may filter this site. Follow district policy to see if you can request it be unblocked for educational purposes. Have students create commercials for any or all content areas. The videos are short and limited in the number of characters for text. This means they take very little time to create which makes the tool very versatile. Use this to create beginning of the year "do's and dont's" for your classes instead of rule lectures. Try one for open house to let parents know quickly what is going on in your class. Embedding results in a class wiki or web page will avoid issues with students venturing into undesirable areas of the site. Primary teachers could make quick "movies" as a class using sight words in the speech bubbles so students can practice reading them at a center.

Comments

Not appropriate for elementary or middle school students. Options suggest or lend themselves to inappropriate content. Characters are overtly sexual and scantily clad. Editors Note: Thank you for your comment. We have raised the grade level and added a strong warning. Dwight, , Grades: 3 - 7

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Defenders of Wildlife - Defenders of Wildlife

Grades
7 to 12
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Defenders of Wildlife is chalk full of useful, current information about wildlife conservation, threats to the natural environment, and fact sheets about specific species of animals,...more
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Defenders of Wildlife is chalk full of useful, current information about wildlife conservation, threats to the natural environment, and fact sheets about specific species of animals, as well as much more! Explaining concepts such as climate change, off-shore drilling and renewable energy this site is an invaluable environmental resource. Plus, all information comes with interesting photos and an easy to navigate menu of further information.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (320), conservation (123), endangered species (41), environment (322)

In the Classroom

This would be an excellent resource for an environmental science class. Add to online course sites as an alternative to textbooks. Create assignments where students are directed to this site to read for understanding of the topics that are being discussed. For students in more advanced environmental studies, the section on Policy and Legislation is great. It is far more understandable than reading through the actual laws and policies. Have students read the website information on a specific policy or law, and then have the students find the actual law to "check up" on the site. This will encourage students to make comparisons between the reading that they could easily understand and the more complicated language of the actual laws. This simple exercise could be incorporated in an English or reading comprehension classroom or a science classroom (what a great way to do a little cross curricular teaching!). Students will learn to read more analytically in the process!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Aesops Fables Online Collection - John R Long Star Systems

Grades
1 to 10
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Come on in and enjoy the ageless and timeless wisdom of Aesop and his Fables at this award winning site. There are a total of 638 Fables, indexed in table ...more
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Come on in and enjoy the ageless and timeless wisdom of Aesop and his Fables at this award winning site. There are a total of 638 Fables, indexed in table format, with morals listed. Aseop lived 2,500 yeas ago and never wrote any tales down. Ambrose Pierce, Jean De La Fontaine I, Rev. George Fyler Townsend, and Hans Christian Andersen have retold these tales. A life history of Aesop is included. Some tales include audio narration, while all are in written format.

tag(s): folktales (50)

In the Classroom

Aesops Fables, comprehensive resource for fable collection is necessary for every classroom. Have a very extensive collection of life, history, morals, and fables. Use during language arts as part of a genre study or as part of literary themes. Use on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use on individual computers and include in centers. During Writing Workshop, find ways to change the morals into modern stories. Use as scripts for Readers' Theater, podcasts, or reading comprehension. During character development, challenge students to find ways to incorporate into lessons.

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Headline Clues - Michigan State University

Grades
8 to 12
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Solve headline mysteries using verbal clues and inferencing in this current events activity. You are presented with a SHORT passage (newspaper story headline) and then a few fill in...more
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Solve headline mysteries using verbal clues and inferencing in this current events activity. You are presented with a SHORT passage (newspaper story headline) and then a few fill in the blank phrases. What an excellent tool for researching and reading comprehension! There are three levels of difficulty. Choose from favorite news topics on the main page: sports, world and U.S. news, technology, off-beat, entertainment, and even the New York Times. Other publications available for headline finding are NPR and New Scientist. Although this is an activity in "game" format, it is an excellent reading skill builder. Students can see how many letters are missing; they use both semantic and syntactic clues to complete the headlines. Options include a timer and a speed meter. As you play, ask the site for clues to help. Due to the graphic nature of some of the headlines, this site is recommended for mature middle school students or high school students.

tag(s): context clues (7), descriptive writing (41), newspapers (98), summarizing (17)

In the Classroom

Use this "game" as an introduction when studying the latest news stories and/or basic reading comprehension. Teach reading in context when explaining to students how the activity works. Use the headline builder as a jumping off point for teaching summary writing based on news stories. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as an "ice-breaker" for the start of class or as one of several reading activities during newspapers in education week.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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ESL Holidays Lessons - Sean Banville

Grades
1 to 8
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Look no further for holiday activities for your ESL and ELL students (or for reading/listening comprehension activities you can use with all learners! This site lists conventional and...more
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Look no further for holiday activities for your ESL and ELL students (or for reading/listening comprehension activities you can use with all learners! This site lists conventional and unusual holidays by month. Click the holiday you would like to feature to find a complete lesson including a tape script, an oral recording of the script, and a variety of review exercises. The printable activities include matching, several varieties of fill-in-the-blank, word choices, spelling, reordering events and sentences from the holiday information, and writing activities. An online clickable reading activity presents parts of sentences, so students must select which sentence part comes first. The screen changes when the correct part comes up, and students select the next part.

tag(s): holidays (136)

In the Classroom

Use this site to help ESL/ELL students improve listening, reading, writing, and cultural knowledge. Invite an ESL/ELL student to present a holiday from their home country to the class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Many of the review activities would also work well as reading comprehension practice on interactive whiteboard, especially if students use highlighters and pens to mark up the text passage to locate key terms, etc.

Have students create online holiday posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Share this site with families of your ESL/ELL students to learn more about American holidays.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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News English Lessons - Sean Banville

Grades
4 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This site, created by Australian Sean Banville of "Breaking News English" (reviewed here), has high interest, "easier" news for students to read and...more
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This site, created by Australian Sean Banville of "Breaking News English" (reviewed here), has high interest, "easier" news for students to read and many teaching materials to go with them. Though the look of the site is cluttered with advertising and plain text, the content is worthwhile. Developed for ESL/ELL students and teachers, the site would also work well in a subject area, learning support, or reading classroom. There are MANY articles "ready to go," including mp3 audio files to listen to the articles. At the time of this review there were 200+ new additions! Each article includes several types of activities such as "online gap fill" (a Cloze reading activity), vocabulary flashcards, and hangman, and matching. A full script is available in pdf form. There is also an online, interactive quiz for students. The articles, and a lot more activities, can be downloaded and printed, too.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): diseases (71), listening (86), news (258)

In the Classroom

The articles are short and interesting, a perfect match for non-fiction reading comprehension. With so many different activities to choose from, it will be easy for the classroom teacher to differentiate. There is an mp3 audio version of each article so students can listen as they read. Assign small groups of students to present the news each week, using the interactive whiteboard to show others the country and city from which the article originated. Make the newscasting experience even more real by having students read scripts of these news stories or their own original stories using a Easyprompter, reviewed here. Students can then go to another news source such as 4 News Wall, reviewed here, to see what else is happening in the news. For a project, have the small groups create a "talking map" using a site such as Zeemaps, reviewed here. This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (where their article/story took place). What a fabulous way to share the article with the rest of the class!

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Environmental news network - Environmental news network

Grades
8 to 12
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View and read top stories about aspects of environmental education from wildlife, agriculture, and ecosystems to green building, lifestyle, and health. View top stories in each section...more
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View and read top stories about aspects of environmental education from wildlife, agriculture, and ecosystems to green building, lifestyle, and health. View top stories in each section or search for articles related to a specific topic. Click on the orange RSS button to receive automatic feeds to a reader. Articles feature clickable definitions which help in understanding.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): agriculture (59), climate (93), conservation (123), environment (322)

In the Classroom

Use these articles as a springboard for further research, participation in the creation of editorial articles by students, and topics for public service announcements either created conventionally (posters, bulletin boards) or using technology (blog or wiki posts.) Use this site as a resource when planning environmental education topics and activities. Follow a specific topic over time and discuss how new procedures and techniques of obtaining data can change how a topic is viewed. Use for reading comprehension practice. Encourage the use of Wordle (reviewed here) or mind mapping to identify known and problematic words. Students can work in groups to ferret out important information which can be presented and discussed with the class.

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WordSift - Stanford University

Grades
4 to 12
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WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify ...more
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WordSift helps anyone easily sift through texts -- just copy and paste any text into WordSift and you can engage in a verbal quick-capture! The program helps to quickly identify important words that appear in the text. After entering text several items will appear, first a word cloud will display the 50 most frequently used words in the text. The most frequently used word will display as a word web in a visual thesaurus. Google image and video search results are also shown. One interesting feature is the ability to click on any of the words in the word cloud to display it in the thesaurus and Google image and video searches. A great way to understand the WordSift tool is to try one of the sample texts offered, such as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Be sure to check out the "About" link to discover many ideas for use in the classroom. Tips and videos are also available as guides. If you type in a shorter sentence, the site still creates a word cloud using their own related words (not in your original text). Be aware of the advertisements that appear with the word clouds. Advise students not to click on the ads.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): dictionaries (58), reading comprehension (127), reading strategies (54), thesaurus (23), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (119), word clouds (11), word study (77)

In the Classroom

This is a classic tool to promote "before reading" strategies and vocabulary development. Use WordSift to preview text to be used in class and define vocabulary before reading to increase reading comprehension. Have students use WordSift with different portions of text to identify key words and vocabulary for class presentations. Use WordSift to discuss different meanings of words using images presented through the site. This site isn't only for English teachers, share with Science and Social Studies teachers to use in their classrooms with reading texts in their content areas. ESL/ELL and learning support teachers will want to share this as a support for any reading assigned in regular classes. Be sure to show students how to copy/paste to WordSift texts from informational web pages and news stories on the web, as well. Share this link as a Favorite on your public page so students can use it anytime.

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Science Daily - ScienceDaily LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Looking for collection of current science research articles? This is your one stop shop! Science Daily is current, searchable, and interesting! Encompassing many, if not all, areas...more
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Looking for collection of current science research articles? This is your one stop shop! Science Daily is current, searchable, and interesting! Encompassing many, if not all, areas of science, this site could make your classroom science research easy. The major categories are: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, Plants & Animals, Earth & Climate, Space & Time, Matter & Energy, Computers & Math, and Fossils & Ruins.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (320), brain (66), climate (93), computers (101), data (157), earth (223), energy (210), fossils (45), matter (61), medicine (68), news (258), planets (131), plants (176), space (226), time (138)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a research tool or to provide practice reading informational texts in the content areas. Choose an article relevant to what you are teaching, post it on your website or wiki, and have your students discuss what the article means and how it made them think. Since the articles are heavy with text, you may want to have students work in small groups to read the article you have selected for them, and use a tool such as Mindmeister (reviewed here) or bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create a concept map of the important ideas and their details for the article. Each article has several related links. Have each group choose a different one to explore, and create a concept map to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector so all can benefit from the related articles. Once created, the concept maps can be posted as links or embedded on your teacher website or wiki for review and to share with parents. If the text of the articles is simply too challenging without some "before reading" help, show students how to preview it using WordSift, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Loyal Books (was Books Should Be Free) - BooksShouldbe free

Grades
K to 12
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Acquaint student's with the classics (and more) with these free public domain audio books. Most of these novels are written by authors such as: Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, Lewis ...more
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Acquaint student's with the classics (and more) with these free public domain audio books. Most of these novels are written by authors such as: Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, Lewis Carroll, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austin, J.B. Barrie, Hugh Lofting, and Beatrix Potter. Some audio tracks are available in different languages. The most significant collection appears to be in French and German. Download MP3 files for each chapter in one zip file (333 MB) or directly into iTunes. Search for books by genre, author, title, or keywords. Suggest this site to students who have difficulties with reading, including with ESL/ELL students. Be sure to include this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further practice. Share this site with your teaching colleagues who work with your learning support, foreign language, or ESL/ELL students..

tag(s): ebooks (39), fluency (25), french (88), german (63), literature (267), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Upgrade your literature circles and include e-readers that are speech enabled. Share the stories (or full text) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Loyal Books (was Books Should Be Free) provides links to the free text that accompanies the audio track. Sites such as Project Gutenberg (reviewed here) contain free versions of the full text. Students can simultaneously listen and read books on either a classroom computer, iPad, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, or other mobile or cell phone. These recordings will also boost fluency instruction by serving as an oral reading model. Audio-assisted books will encourage students to read with expression, improve reading comprehension, stimulate vocabulary development, and provide a way for students to read text beyond their reading level.

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5 Minute Mystery - Mystery Competition, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
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This mystery reading game helps increase reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in an innovative way. The basic game is free. You can sign up to have two mysteries a ...more
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This mystery reading game helps increase reading comprehension and critical thinking skills in an innovative way. The basic game is free. You can sign up to have two mysteries a week sent to you, or you can use their archive. There is a "How to Play" section where you can view a video, open pdf instructions, or look at the instructions online. After reading a mystery you select the correct sentences that are clues, and select a character that the clue either exonerates or implicates. Points are awarded for each clue you get correct. For a fee, you can get a premium account that has graphic organizers, questions, and writing suggestions, however, this review is for the free, basic version. Even with the basic program, you can look under lesson plans and find objectives and ideas for your classroom and for creating leagues.

Bonus: There's an app for that! For the iphone, of course!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): critical thinking (118), mysteries (23), reading comprehension (127), short stories (25)

In the Classroom

Use your projector and interactive whiteboard to show your students the directions for getting points by selecting the correct clues and solving the mystery. To begin with, as a class, read a mystery and discuss what the clues might be and whether they implicate or exonerate each suspect. Once the students have volunteered their ideas for which sentences are clues, submit them to see the score. The program will highlight the answers you should have had, if you got any wrong. Model for your students a discussion about why those are the correct answers and why the ones they submitted weren't. Eventually they can have this discussion by themselves in small groups. Those of you with multiple classes will want to create a league for each class.

Eventually you can have small groups of students compete against each other by creating leagues. Have your students come to consensus about the clue sentences and who the real perpetrator is by voting using Tricider, reviewed here, or Decide Already, reviewed here.

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