Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sharing the Wealth Giveaway - first winner and new contest

Thank you for your feedback and great ideas for teaching math! Congratulations to blog commenter Breann Hollon who was selected by random.org as the winner of Best Family Adventures blog's first giveaway. She'll receive her copy of Harcourt Family Learning Writing Skills - Grade 2 workbook. dspringer mentioned some games I've never seen before and will definitely be looking up. And I particularly liked Melanie Ussery's suggestion to use license plates for math. We've used them for color, shape, letters and numbers, but I never thought to use them the way she proposed. I wonder if my wise 8 and 10 year olds will play along. Some ideas are brewing...

Meanwhile, I'm moving ahead with giveaways, both physical and virtual. First, the real deal. This week's giveaway is a set of beginning readers. My girls are avid readers. They read so fast (and have so much time to read) that I just can't keep up anymore. While I drive, they read. While I cook, if they're not cooking with me, they're probably reading. They wake up early to read, and I suspect they sneak in some reading after lights-out. And I still read to them at bedtime if they get to bed on time.

Again I'll use random.org to select this week's winner from the comments posted to this blog entry. Does your child enjoy reading? Avoid reading? How have you addressed reading challenges if you have found a solution? Deadline for entry is 6 p.m. Sunday, November 21, 2010. The winner will receive a three-book set of paperbacks that includes Camping Out, Level 1 (Little Critter First Readers) by Mercer Mayer, Wake Up, Sun! (Step-Into-Reading, Step 2) by David Harrison and Dolphins! (Step into Reading, Step 3)by Sharon Bokoske and Margaret Davidson.

Meanwhile, here are several links to reading resources online which I've found useful over the years. Some I explored by dark of night and the girls never had time to use (there are SO MANY). Others, like Starfall, were among their favorite pastimes when given the opportunity to "play" on the computer.

For pre-readers:
* Bembo's Zoo - Click on a letter to discover an animal that not only begins with the letter, but made from letters. Very innovative, artistic and fun.
* Alphabet Activities and Games - game play ideas that foster alphabet learning
* Alphabet Printables - Worksheets, coloring pages and games
* Lil Fingers Toddler Page - interactive games, animated videos and more. We never really got into this site, but there's lots of cute stuff here.

For emergent readers:
* Starfall - one of our favorite learn-to-read programs is sequential, logical, online and free. I love that young readers "rewards" are short, appropriate animated films.
* Skillwise - Lots of interactive online language arts activities focusing on everything from sentence building to the intricacies of grammar.
* Buzz Book - An interesting concept to use phrase completion to emphasize various language arts lessons (spelling, grammar, etc.)
* Story Nory - British program includes classic and modern stories for young readers. Available as text online and as audiobooks. We found several of the modern stories to include really obnoxious characters, but we're oversensitive - ask anyone.
* Internet Public Library Story Hour - read alongs, or just read online.
* BookBox - free stories to download in PDF form, audio form (various languages) and coloring books.

For advanced readers:
* Project Gutenberg - a fabulous collection of works of fiction in the public domain. Updated nightly. Available in various formats from text online to e-readers, scans of original works (including sheet music) and audio books.
* Laura Ingalls Wilder activities - from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
* Dear America - Scholastic's site dedicated to their historical fiction series largely told from the female perspective. Interactive activities, stories and more. One of E's favorites.
* Ulysses for Literary Cheaters - The entire tale of Ulysses told in a series of 18 cartoons. Originally called "Ulysses for Dummies," the author was apparently pressed by the "...for Dummies" folks to reconsider. I've renamed it here, but I think he's sticking with his original title because is everything "for Dummies" now copyrighted? How dumb.
* Online Literature Library - full and unabridged texts of classic works of English literature
* American Folklore - a collection of American and Canadian ghost stories, myths, legends and other tales.
* Lord of the Peeps - Lord of the Rings told visually with Peeps as props. Very entertaining for LOTR fans. Doesn't mean much to those who've yet to read the (or listen to audio) books.

* Naughty Shakespeare - Some phrases so clearly understood in Elizabethan England are lost on modern Americans. This introduction to Michael Macrone's book may help clarify a few things. (Not for the young set.)
For various levels:
(These sites have activities, works or audio files that may be of value to readers and pre-readers alike. Use them creatively to encourage further your readers of all levels.)
* Baldwin Project - Like Gutenberg Project, but designed for youth. Literature is available both to view online and to purchase through reprints.
* Merriam-Webster's Word Central - grammar and spelling games, build-your-own dictionary, dictionary, thesaurus and more
* Ashliman's Folktexts -a collection of hundreds of myths and legends available to read online
* I Know That - Lots of games not only for language arts but other subject areas, organized by subject and grade level.
* Long Long Time Ago Stories - stories from myth, legend and more for all readers.
* Kids Are Authors - annual writing/illustration contest sponsored by Scholastic, designed to promote teamwork. Open to children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Spring deadline.
* PBS Kids Island - Language arts-related games and contests
* Literature on Radio - Old-time radio shows rebroadcast on the 'net. Fabulous adaptations of classics for programs.
* Poetry Out Loud National Poetry Recitation Contest - View young people's interpretations of poetry, or enter the contest.
* Poetry - official site of the Academy of American Poets offers a variety of activities including great poetry, modern poetry, tips for teaching poetry and more.
* Many Things - language arts acquisition games and activities. Designed for English as a Second Language students, but works for early readers just as well. After all, we're not born reading.
* Poe - a site dedicated to Edgar Allen Poe including information about his life, personality, as well as his works in text and audio versions.
* Classic Audio Books - Free classics to download to iTunes. An abbreviated list.
* Activated Storytellers - Folklore available as text as well as audio (podcasts).
* Award-winning Children's Literature Database - Looking for reading ideas? Check out this database of award-winning books, searchable by a variety of parameters from gender of protagonist to literary genre.
* It's Good To Read - a parent's guide to LOTS of children's books, searchable with various parameters or simple lists.
* Battle of the Books - reading list by grade level for the annual competitive reading program
* Internet Children's Library - online library of scanned books provides art and works by various authors. Very unique search tool at this link, too.
* Read Kiddo Read - online reviews of a variety of books for children from illustrated works to advanced readers. What I like best about this site is that each review includes a list of "if you liked THIS book, then you might also like THIS one."
* Hans Christian Andersen - Most of his published works, as well as some audio files, autobiography and links to further HCA information available online.
* Jules Verne Collection - a site dedicated to the study of Jules Verne, including access to many of his works, stories about his life and times and links to other Verne sites.
* Classic Audio Interviews - of authors, performing artists, scientists and more, from the BBC.


  1. I found you through HSC and I can't thank you enough for this exhaustive reading resource list. As for my kiddo's reading, they are still at the beginning stages, but both show enthusiam for the written word.

  2. Thank you for this list!!! This is amazing. I am so excited!


  3. My son loves to be read to (he's 3.5) and wants me to read to him for long periods of time. He is sounding out words and excited to learn to read. We haven't had any "reading challenges" yet, but I will be interested to hear what tips others have.

    courtney_r_r at yahoo dot com

  4. Love your book lists. Many of our favorites and some new one's I need to check out. I was just looking at my overflowing bookcase wondering "what in the world can I do with all these books? It will take 10 lifetimes to read them all." BUT... I can never have too many! My kids love to read, I love to read. Only my hubby doesn't read much for leasure but he likes to listen to me read to the kids. So we are a reading family!


  5. I love this list! I love to read, and am so thankful that I am raising a little boy who loves to read as well. I've just in the last few months started to see that transfer from not just loving to be read to, but loving to learn to read on his own too. We are both Starfall fans, but I am always looking for other options to work reading in. I will definitely be checking out some of the other links on your list.


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