Sunday, May 15, 2011

Some Great Websites for Summer Reading

This week, Loren Scully from the Dublin Library visited our library to talk to our students about the summer reading program offered there. She was accompanied by Miss Val of the library's Homework Help Center.  Our kids are excited and I think many of them will participate.  The program is a great one and one way that we encourage our kids to read over the summer.

As so many of us are getting ready to help our students think about their summer reading, I am trying to expand my own thinking about what "counts" and how to value a variety of reading over the summer.  Along with encouraging the Summer Reading Club, I am sending home information about a variety of summer reading.  I have been thinking about this idea a lot and have recently updated my reading interview to include online reading, etc.  (I wrote about this at Choice Literacy a few months ago.)  As I talk to students about their goals for summer reading, I am trying to make sure that I focus on reading beyond traditional books.  Conversations have included magazine reading, comic book reading and online reading.  I have worked over the year to add several websites to our library site.  I've added websites that give students a place to go for reading.  This summer, I am hoping the students utilize this list of resources for their summer reading.

Nonfiction reading seems to be the one that kids need help with for the summer. So, I've tried to compile a short list of good sites for nonfiction reading--sites kids will want to revisit.  We've spent a bit of time learning to go beyond skimming and to build stamina with nonfiction.

I'll be sending home a paper with each student as part of their summer reading packet. The packet will include information from the Dublin Library as many of our students participate in the library's summer reading program. The packet will also include a few pages of information on websites worth visiting over the summer. For some of our subscription sites like Tumblebooks and PebbleGo, students need the username and password so these papers will compile all of these.

But the page will also include some screen shots of a few other sites that I hope kids visit over the summer. I have found a few that they have explored a bit this spring in hopes that they revisit them regularly.  Below are some of the sites I'll be including in my students' summer reading packets:

Wonderopolis's tagline states, "Where the Wonders of Learning Never Cease". Each day on Wonderopolis, a new wonder or question is answered. The questions cover a variety of topics and many come from kids. The wonders are accompanied by related videos and a solid article about the topic. Related links and other wonders are included.  The fun of this site is that you never know what you will find when you get there. A favorite question on Mother's Day this week was, "Do Moms Have Eyes in the Backs of Their Heads?"  The site is very kid-friendly and interesting to kids of all ages.  Readers can visit each day to read an article per day or they can visit the archives to find topics of interest.

DOGOnews is one of my favorite current events sites for kids.  The site adds a new article almost daily. A few articles are accompanied by videos but most are text and photos.  The headlines and topics engage kids. Some topics are world topics that you'd find on any news site and others are topics that might be specifically interesting to kids.  This site has an interesting feature in that you can search news on a map --kids can see the news happening on a map feature.  As with Wonderopolis, kids can also read by topic and visit the archives.

Meet Me at the Corner has grown incredibly over the past year.  This site is filled with great videos for kids and done by kids.  The site defines itself as "Virtual Field Trips for Kids takes you to meet fascinating people from all over the world."  Each short video (about 5 minutes long) takes us to learn about an interesting topic complete with interviews.  This is a favorite site for our students.  The videos give so much interesting information.

TOONBOOK Reader is my favorite part of The Professor Garfield Site. This reader allows kids to read and reread favorite graphic novels.

I think I've shared the site KidsReads before. It is a site I have loved for years. This site gives kids information on books, authors, series, upcoming titles, etc.  A great resource for finding new books and other things connected to reading. This site is packed and updated regularly. It is not only a great site for kids to keep up with books-it is also a great site for teachers to get the latest information on books.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  2. Thank you for sharing these wonderful sites. I just got done emailing my librarian so she can share these with our building.

  3. Thanks for this timely post. I will introduce these websites today to my students.

  4. I would love to see the packet you are sending home with your kids about summer reading. Would you mind emailing that to me? I am a first year elementary librarian and appreciate any knowledge you share through your blog. It is valuable to me!

  5. Thanks for the great post! Another thing parents and teachers can do is set up a summer reading challenge and offer fun (even silly!) rewards to kids if they reach their target. A principal at a school in Georgia is pledging to kiss a pig if kids read 250,000 minutes over the summer!. They're using the website, which is a great alternative to paper reading logs, and can help parents, teachers and librarians easily track summer student reading. Fun, easy to use, and free!

  6. Just doing research for our Summer Reading Challenges --we are just getting warmed up, there are so many good books (and so many bad ones ;)) good resources are TREASURE aren't they!

    Come play with us We are going to launch our Summer Challenges mid June --story writing and reading journals. Lead by two little girls... it should be fun...


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