2016年11月17日 星期四

10 Online Resources to Improve EL Literacy (E-book resources)


10 Online Resources to Improve EL Literacy

Many elementary school ESL teachers are now looking at materials for their 2016–2107 classroom. During a recent #ELLCHAT   discussion, we shared ideas for choosing materials for ELs. One of the liveliest discussions was about online resources.
I’d like to share some online resources that feature books for children and really work well for ELs. The best books sites for  ELs have an audio component, and the words are highlighted as they are read. If your budget is limited, some of these sites are free.
Fiction Resources
  1. EPIC is a free website for U.S. and Canadian-based elementary teachers. It contains 1,000 books for students in grades pre-K–6 and features an audio component. It is a great resources for ELs.
  2. Tumblebook Library is an online collection of books for elementary-age students. The books are animated with sound and narration. There is a charge for the Tumblebook Library, and subscriptions are generally purchased for a whole school district. The selection and quality of books is outstanding and a great source of books for ELs.
  3. Starfall is a website that is widely used by ESL teachers to help young ELs (pre-K–2) learn to read. I especially like the I’m Reading section of the site. There is a free section that allows membership for a whole class.
  4. Raz-Kids is a great resource for books online for students in grades pre-K–5. This is not a free resource, but it is well worth the moderate cost.
  5. Storyline Online contains a collection of books narrated by well-known actors who are members of the Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA. The books are good for ELs in grades pre-K–4. I recommend that teachers preview the books first to determine the language level. The books are free online, but schools can purchase an activity guide to go with the books. However, there is no feature that underlines the text as it is read.
  6. Unite for Literacy contains books for very young students (pre-K–2). There is an audio component with narration in English and a dozen other languages. This site does not have a feature where words are highlighted as they are read.
I also want to mention another site that is just for teachers. ReadWorks is a site dedicated to helping teachers improve their students’ reading comprehension. It has detailed lesson plans for teaching books to students in grades K–6. Schools would need to buy paper copies of the books to be used in the classroom.
Nonfiction Resources
I would also like to include these online articles that can be adapted for ELs in Grades K–12. These resources do not include an audio component, but are written on different lexile levels.
  1. Newslea takes news articles from around the world and rewrites them at up to five different lexile levels and in Spanish. This is an excellent resource for ELs in Grades 4–12.
  2. TweenTribune from the Smithsonian offers a variety of topics such as animals, art, culture, sports, and science. Articles are written at up to 9 lexile levels for ELs in K–12.
  3. National Geographic online versions of nonfiction readers with an audio component is suitable for young ELs, Grades 1–3 .
  4. Time for Kids contains news articles for elementary-age students (Grades 3–8). The audio news reports are too fast for ELs, but many of the articles are appropriate for more advanced ELs. I especially like the homework helper section that helps students write in different genres.
In my next blog, I will discuss apps for ELs that help build literacy. Stay tuned to hear about Little Bird Tales, Mindsnacks, and Shadow Puppet, among others.

About Judie Haynes

Judie Haynes
Judie Haynes taught elementary ESL for 28 years and has been providing professional development for teachers of ELs around the United States since 2008. She is the author and coauthor of seven books for teachers of ELs , the most recent being “The Essential Guide for Educating Beginning English Learners“ with Debbie Zacarian. She is founder of the website everythingESL.net and was a columnist for the TESOL publication "Essential Teacher." She is also cofounder and comoderator of the Twitter Chat for teachers of English learners #ELLCHAT.
- See more at: http://blog.tesol.org/10-online-resources-to-improve-el-literacy/#sthash.YQehWZzV.dpuf



Epic! presents a gift for educators

This week Epic! offered classroom teachers and school librarians in the U.S. and Canada free, forever, single subscription access to its iPad app, an “ever-growing library of high-quality children’s books from some of the world’s best publishers.”
Epic! calls itself the first “All-You-Can-Read” eBook service for kids.  It currently offers thousands of digital titles from 40 publishing partners, including HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, National Geographic, Kids Can Press, Blue Apple Books. The growing digital collection of titles for ages 2 through 12 includes many recent and award-winning books and represents a mix of fiction and nonfiction. New titles are added each week.
Among the popular fiction and series titles available are: OliviaCloudy with a Chance of MeatballsThe Berenstain BearsThe Chronicles of NarniaRamonaA Series of Unfortunate EventsFlat StanleyScaredy Squirrel and Big Nate.  There’s a wealth of high quality attractive nonfiction and graphic novels as well.
I chatted with Suren Markosian, founder and CEO, whose earlier projects included the social gaming platform, CrowdStar for Facebook and mobile devices, and with co-founder, Kevin Donahue, former YouTube, Google and Disney executive.
Suren and Kevin shared that their principal goal is to provide kids with an unlimited reading experience at home. Suren described the origins of the app:
We built a lot of games and realized how accessible games are. I watched my son play all the games he wanted, but he couldn’t just go and read any book he wanted.  Games and videos were a tap away. Books were not.  As a a parent, I had to buy each individual book for my son.  There was a wall between kids and books.
So we put our skill set to it and we started with the consumer market, because we understand it and because we are parents.
We wanted to provide a digital library from a child’s perspective. We wanted kids to have access to a large collection of books–to be able to see all the books. Books are suggested to children based on what what we know about them and the service gets better as it gets to better know better the reader. We built the app with engagement in mind. We reward kids’ reading with badges. The goal is to provide a wide variety of high-quality titles from award-winning authors that complement the curriculum and encourage a child’s love of reading.
The consumer product is kind of Netflix for picture books, with an unlimited library of content, instantly streamed, available on a monthly basis, following a 30-day free trial.
Books are vetted by a team of publishing professionals, educators and children’s literature specialists, as well as a Newbery Award-winning author.  
Users can search for titles or browse the collection by book category: picture books, chapter books, early readers, fact books, or comic books and filter by age groups: 4 & under, 5-7, 8-10, 11-12.
Books stream and deliver to the iPad in an instantaneous fashion, caching data on the device.  You simply click on a book and read it or hear it.  Books may be completely downloaded for use offline when no wireless is available. Once downloaded, the book stays on your device.
In the consumer version, children set up a profile, customize the site, create reading logs, rate and favorite titles, and unlock reading badges.  Subscribers may create multiple profiles, so that a parent might create individual reading profiles for up to four child readers. No personally identifiable information is collected.
While Epic! is primarily geared (and reasonably priced) for home use, its founders see offering the service to educators as a win/win.
Suren noted that the team received many requests from teachers.
Of course, we recognized them as core influencers. We realized that by helping educators, not only could we get our product out there, we could also do something good. We want this to be a great product for librarians and teachers and we think there is great benefit to using it in schools.
Kevin added
We hope that in sharing with teachers we will discover what educators are looking for.  We welcome feedback and recommendations.  
They suggest use of the Epic! app to:
  • “check out” books without spending any money before deciding to purchase for a classroom or school library’s print collection.
  • enjoy an ever-growing digital library with thousands of picture books, chapter books, early readers, nonfiction books and graphic novels completely (and always) free of charge.
Important: Classroom teachers and school librarians may take advantage of the free offer by first registering on the Epic! for Educators website and entering their school credentials.  Following this website registration, teachers will get a username and password. They should go to the app store and download the app.  Note: If you don’t get your credentials first, you will automatically get the 30-day free consumer trial.
What’s coming next?
The app is currently available for iPad only.  An iPhone app will be available in early November and an Android app should be available in December.  The team hopes to grow its personalized discovery engine around human-curated decisions as well as its algorithm.
Kevin is hoping for more author interaction: Publishers are looking for ways to get their ebooks out there. We speak to the authors all the time and they are thrilled that kids are finding their books.  We hope to create more engagement by providing authors a way to interact with kids. 
The way I see it, our use of Epic! for Educators will help build the market for a worthy app. The way I see it is we are on the same team and this gift presents a win/win.
I can absolutely imagine this app inspiring shared reading experiences on screens and whiteboards in classrooms and school libraries. It will also help us discover new titles and promote discovery of our own physical and ebook collections.
I just kinda wish this endorsement didn’t appear in their marketing and that I could convince Cool Mom Tech that her kiddos’ librarians will add significant value to their reading experience.
Cool Mom Tech: If your kid is an avid reader—as in, he finishes his library books before he even gets them home from school—you may want to check out the “Epic!” app, a new eBook subscription for kids in one handy app that that offers all-you-can-read selections for a low monthly fee.  No purchasing book after book. And no overdue fees from the library.