It appears that books will be still around for some time in our classrooms, whether in paper or some other form. Teachers and students can enhance the reading experience with some easy to use educational technology tools. Here are ten websites I selected for their usefulness, their navigational simplicity, and for the fact that they are all free!
Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. The site is intended for use by students over age 13. Here are a few things that you can do on Goodreads:
Explore the world through literature with Litmapproject, the geographic book database. Books are mapped onto the LitMap by where they take place or the place they are about. They map nonfiction, fiction, mystery, science fiction, any kind of literature that can be associated with a specific geographic location.
Biblionasium is a reading “community” where elementary and middle school students can connect to share and connect about the books they are reading. Teachers can create accounts for their students and get started with relative ease.
BookAdventure is a free site for students to take quizzes on books and potentially earn prizes. I use this site as a place for students to take practice tests before their actual tests on Accelerated Reader. BookAdventure is for K-8 students.
Book Wizard is from the folks at Scholastic and is essentially a book search tool. It helps educators find children’s books to meet their instructional needs, suggest titles to motivate independent reading by their students, and it also provides resources like information about authors.
No list of resources about books should be without a reference to Jim Trelease. He is now retired, but remains a premiere authority on reading aloud to children. His site, which remains active, is your go to source for information about high quality read alouds for your students. I was fortunate to hear Jim speak twice during my teaching career, and those two events had a large impact on the reading program in my elementary classroom.
There are a lot of best book lists out there. CommonSenseMedia.org has produced some outstanding lists for teachers, parents, and students to use. They also have a plethora of other resources on their site.
BookLamp is home to the Book Genome Project. Similar to how Pandora matches music lovers to new music, BookLamp helps you find books through a computer-based analysis of written DNA. There is no advertising and books old and new are included in their recommendations.
Looking for tips on selecting top notch books to inspire the love of reading? Seeking recommendations for books appropriate for children and adolescents of all ages? Education.com has advice, book lists, and tips from top nonprofit and university organizations to keep children reading.
Oxford Owl is an incredible collection of free children’s ebooks for kids ages 3-11. Each ebook has accompanying audio so that students can choose to read along, or read independently. The books also have activities that focus on reading comprehension and story recall. There are several options for filtering the ebooks so that students can find just the right story including by age, by book type, and by series. In addition to the ebooks on the site, you can find fun activities and recommendations for each age group, games to print and play, and online games with characters from the books and site.
Dale Borgeson – Elementary Educator
The Borgeson Bunch