Wednesday, 10 February 2016

10 places to look for wonderful, free reading material for primary school students...

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Learning to read is one of the most important things a child will learn at school. Everything else depends on it. The best is to teach reading in such a way that children love it and they want to read for themselves. Free reading resources are always a teacher and a parent’s dream but of course, these are few and far between. In this post I will tell you about some of my favourite free sites.


1. Oxford Owl
I have only just discovered this free website and it is a treasure box. The website the website actually has a lot more than only ebooks! Really, if you are a teacher or parent of primary school children take a look at this site.


It is the home of 350 tablet-friendly eBooks and activities, including the free eBook library and the two new eBook collections: Project X Alien Adventures and Oxford Reading Tree inFact.
The site is easily searchable by age, level and genre, the eBook Collection is designed to help you find the perfect book for every child. You can share the eBook Collection with all your students by creating a class login. Using the same simple username and password, every child can log on at school and at home.

2. Storyline Online

Developed by The Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Storyline Online features accomplished actors and actresses reading some of their favorite children’s books.  Each story comes with a free Activity Guide and can be viewed on YouTube or SchoolTube.  Rainbow Fish, Wilfrid Gordon Macdonald Partridge, and To Be a Drum are just a few of the books available. My students LOVE this site.


3. Starfall
While some areas of Starfall are part of their premium service, they have many early reader stories that are available for free.  Students can follow along as the story is read to them and they can , in some places help create their own story.  The website is very engaging especially with younger students. 

4. The African storybook project
ttp://www.africanstorybook.org/


The African Storybook Project is a wonderful Literacy website with a wide range of stories from Grades 1-3 learners in a multitude of African languages. Visit www.africanstorybook.org to see the amazing spread. The stories and folktales have beautiful illustrations, can be read online or they can be downloaded as PDFs and made into hand-held books. Best is that the African Storybook Project is OER and uses Creative Commons licensing which enables the books to be adapted if so desired. This is one of my favourite South African websites of stories for Grades 1-3 students throughout Africa.


5. International Children’s Digital Library
http://en.childrenslibrary.org/
You can discover books from around the world at the International Children’s Digital Library.  The free site does not read the books aloud, but students can read them independently. This is also a great site for extension activities when learning about different regions of the world.
6. Storynory
http://www.storynory.com/
Storynory is a free site that features a collection of original, fairytale, and classic children’s audio stories.  Students can follow along with the story as it is read to them, as the text is also included on the site.  There are also some great features available that give you the option of downloading the audio to your computer, listening to “catch phrase” explanations, translate text into different languages and more.
7. National Geographic Young Explorers
http://ngexplorer.cengage.com/ngyoungexplorer/index.html
National Geographic Young Explorers is a magazine designed specifically for Grade R and fGrade 1 students.  Children can listen to the magazine being read to them online as they follow along with the highlighted text.  It is a great way to read beautifully illustrated and interesting non-fiction stories. 
8. A collection of 11 free sites
http://blog.reallygoodstuff.com/11-free-reading-websites-for-kids/
This post has a collection of 11 free reading sites. Some of them may overlap the ones above but it is a post well-worth exploring.
Reading Bear is a fun way to learn to read. They teach over 1,200 vocabulary items. They also have 50 presentations cover all the main phonics rules. All of these are free.  
10. Ask-a-Tech-Teacher's collection
http://askatechteacher.com/great-kids-websites/reading/
One of my favourite sites is Jacqui Murray's Ask a Tech Teacher site. Jacqui posts really interesting posts every day. She also has lovely collections of websites on her site; and one of these collections is a reading site collection of great reading websites for students K-5. DO visit her site. 
Here is her collection of K-5 reading websites:
3.    Audio stories
15.  RAZ Kids–wide variety of reading levels, age groups, with teacher dashboards
17.  Starfall

With so much wonderful material available on the Internet one can see the benefit of getting all schools connected as soon as possible.

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