Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Still Learning to Read: Setting Up the Digital Classroom Library

This is one of a series of blog posts that continue the conversation around Still Learning to Read--teaching reading to students in grades 3-6.  This series will run on the blog on Tuesdays starting in August 2016.

School starts in a little over a week. My classroom set up is coming along (of course there is always something to do when it comes to setting up a room!)  This weekend, I worked on revising and updating the digital classroom library that will start our school year.  For kids to make intentional decisions, they must have choice.  I used to introduce a few sites for reading at a time and built over the first few months of school but last year I created a page on our Weebly with all of the sites kids could read. This year I revised it a bit by adding new sites and getting rid of those that were outdated or no longer active.

The Reading page of our Classroom Weebly is here.  I've found that Weebly is an easy website for young children to navigate because of the design and the visuals.  I am certain it will grow and change as the year goes on and I have no idea which of these sites kids will be most interested in this year (every class is different). But this is where we'll begin so kids know that digital reading is an option during Reading Workshop. They'll also have access to these sites at home by accessing our website. 

These are the sites that my 3rd graders can access from our website:

A few years ago, our class created a Symbaloo of Authors We Love.  We created this one day when we were playing with Symabaloo and it's become a great resource.  This Symbaloo links to many authors that kids love. It DEFINITELY needs updated and it seems like a good project for us once the year is started.  

Kidsreads is one of the best sites I know for kids to learn about books, authors, and series.  The website is packed with book reviews, announcements for new books and author interviews and it is perfect for middle grade readers.

Wonderopolis is a favorite source for shared reading and independent reading.  If you don't know this site, you should spend lots of time exploring!  There is a new wonder posted each day along with an article sharing the answer and more.   The site is searchable so kids can find past wonders that match their current interests. 

LivBits is a new addition to the Weebly this year.  Olivia has videos, Instagram post and more sharing her thinking about books, authors and reading. These are great videos by a reader close to my students' ages.  Love this site!

SI Kids, the Sports Illustrated site for kids has a variety of great reading material for kids.  The site is full of articles, videos, interviews and more and is easy for kids to navigate.

DOGONews is a kids's news sites. Articles are accessible to kids and most are about topics they are most interested in.  There site also includes book reviews "for kids, by kids".

Pebble Go is a membership site that is one of the best nonfiction sites I've seen for primary readers. There are several categories of nonfiction and kids learn to navigate for information in an authentic way.

Toon Book Reader shares early graphic novels with kids. We have many of the hard copies of the books in our classrooms.  Readers can choose to read on his/her own or to have the books read aloud. There are options to change the language from English to Spanish, French, Russian and Chinese also.

Friends with Fins is one of our favorite video sites for informational videos.   I know that learning from videos is important to digital reading so sites like this are critical for my students.  Watching videos to learn (as opposed to for entertainment) is new to many of them. The focus of this is on Ocean Conservation and the videos are the perfect length for middle grade readers.

I could spend all day on ZooBorns. The site focuses on baby animals in zoos around the world.  Each day there is an update about some baby animal somewhere in the world. So it is fun site to check in with on a daily basis. Or, readers can search by animal or zoo which adds to what is possible.  The photos on this site are fabulous!

Big Universe is another site that our school subscribes to for nonfiction reading. Students have an account and can read ebooks on a variety of topics.  They can log their reading, add books to their to-be-read shelf and more.

NewsELA is a site filled with news articles, text sets on current issues and more. There is so much to explore here! 

Animals for Smart People is another site of informational videos by author, Jess Keating.  These are a perfect length and the visuals she includes are supportive to understanding the topic.

Smithsonian TT Junior has daily news, photos audio and video. This has a good variety of interesting information for readers.

We discovered Emily Arrow last year and created a Padlet of her videos. This became one of our most popular sites as Emily Arrow is the best and the way she interprets books through song is fabulous!

I feel like this part of my "classroom library" set-up is as important as the bookshelves in my room. Knowing sites that are accessible to my middle grade readers and expanding what they "count" as reading is an important early-in-the-year message. I feel like we'll be off to a good start.

Are there any other sites you include in your digital classroom library?

(You can follow the conversation using the hashtag #SLTRead or you can join us for a book chat on Facebook starting September 1 by joining our group here.)
Our new edition of Still Learning to Read will be released on August 15 but you can preview the entire book online at Stenhouse!


1 comment:

  1. NewsEla is amazing! Time for Kids. Floocabulary (some parts of it are free).


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