Thursday, March 14, 2013

If you love to read... or are trying to get students to love it!

Tools for  teachers or those who love to read...

Updated Thursday, March 14, 2013
Overdrive just changed their format and books are available on more platforms including your computer web browser. Watching this video will describe their new features better than I could! Here is the link CWMars site which works for most Massachusetts libraries including Beaman and Worcester. If you have a library card, login and start reading! If not, go get one today!

Original Post 1/11/13

Libraries are rediscovering themselves and adapting to changing technology. There are ways to access books free through libraries right from your classroom or from home. I went to the Beaman Library website to pull the link for TumbleBooks and I am so excited to write that they have done some rebranding and have added some excellent upgrades. TumbleBooks is now TumbleBooks Cloud (grades 7-12) and TumbleBooks Cloud Jr. (grades 2-6) There are audio books, graphic novels, ebooks, videos and read along books. The reader is able to change the color, font size and type, bookmark and take notes. In the classroom: Direct reluctant readers to these sites to preview books, listen to books or have books read to them.

OverDrive Media Console is probably my absolute favorite tool (if I had to choose)! It is a free app/software available on Windows/Mac computers, android devices, iOS (apple devices), blackberry and windows phones. You need a library card (Free) from your local library. I might have blogged about this before, but it is worth a second post. Since I discovered OverDrive I have calculated that I have saved over $800 in books that I might have purchased. Its easier than going to your local library because you just need to download, read and delete. You have 14 days to read the book and can check out up to 7 books at a time. I hate to point out the downside to anything that is free, but I should warn you that not every book you want to read is going to be in OverDrive due to certain publisher's restrictions. Also, on new releases, there is usually a waiting list.With OverDrive you can also check out books from Project Gutenberg which boasts a holding of over 40,000 free books like Les Mis√©rables by Victor HugoPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (892), and  The Iliad by Homer. Check out their list of the 100 most popular books. (I wish this was available when I was an undergrad as a classics major, imagine the money I could have saved!) In the classroom: Install it on your computer and pull up a book that you are studying, highlight and discuss the text. Tell students about it and have them download books onto their own devices for classroom or free reading.

Goodreads is a social networking site where you can sign up and enter in the books that you have read and rate them. The site allows you to keep track of what you have read, what you are reading and what you want to read. It will then give you recommendations for other books that you may like. I use it a lot to find books that I like, then I hop over to my Overdrive app on my iPad and see if the library has it. You can follow friends or people who have similar interests to your own to see what they are reading and what they have reviewed. If you are like me and you read a book or two a week, you will love this site.

In the classroom: Goodreads can be used as a tool for any grade. In the elementary grades, the teacher can create an account with a school email and set up a page and have the students discuss the book and you can write a review together, the class can take a vote and rate a book together. In the middle and high school kids can create their own accounts and write their own reviews. There are also author lectures (the 4th grades watched a live webinar with author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid books Jeff Kinney in December). Goodreads is available online and there are also apple and android apps.

The Library Thing is a similar type of site to goodreads, but I love it because you can put a widget on your website. In the classroom: see how our middle school ELA tacher, Mrs. Carter added a Library Thing widget to her blog. You can do this with your current reading or recommended readings for class.

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