Friday, 19 July 2013

Listen and Read: Read-Along Books from Scholastic

I love Scholastic for many reasons; the newest is their Listen and Read site, where they provide 54 FREE nonfiction read-along ebooks for primary students. Your kiddos can access them on a computer or tablet, or you can use them with a group on an interactive whiteboard. They are sorted by subject and by level, with a good mix of science and social studies topics.

So why is it called Listen and Read? Because each of the ebooks is also an audiobook - by clicking on a "listen" button, your beginning reader can hear the words on the screen as she reads along. A nice feature at the end of each story is a list of vocabulary words.

Here's a sample page from a story for 2nd graders:

I learned about this great resource via a Facebook post by Charity Preston, who writes the Organized Classroom blog. Charity's post linked to a Pinterest pin by Carolyn Wilhelm, who operates the Wise Owl Factory. Both of these sites offer a ton of free resources themselves, and are definitely worthy of a visit.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Cures for the Common Core Blues: BOOKS, Vol. 8

Today is Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday, and in his honor I'm suggesting that you read Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom with your students. Amazon's book description says that the book "offers a glimpse into the mind of a great leader, admired across the globe for his dedication to the struggles against apartheid in South Africa. Now the youngest readers can discover the remarkable story of Mandela's long walk from ordinary village boy, to his dynamic leadership of the African National Congress, to his many long years in prison-and, at last, his freedom and astonishing rise to become the leader of his country."  The American Library Association recommends the book for 2nd - 6th graders. 

Today is also Mandela Day, which seeks "to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good."

If you study this modern-day revolutionary hero, you can incorporate essential skills in geography with history and the government of South Africa where, after 27 years as a political prisoner, Mandela was president from 1994 until 1999. I can imagine using the book to kick off a nonfiction unit for 7th and 8th graders to culminate in a writing assignment that compares/contrasts the struggle to end apartheid with the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. Citing evidence after close reading and perhaps using graphic organizers to organize ideas? Common Core to the, well, core!

For more resources, check out the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory website, which includes digital archives and multimedia resources.

Enjoy learning along with your kiddos, and please, let this book and others in the series help cure your CC Blues!