Using the Internet to Teach Reading
by Jeff Lebow
September 12, 2013
Computer Assisted Language Learning: LearningCall.net
Personal Site: JeffLebow.net
Presentation Materials: JeffLebow.net/node/317
(includes a linked version of this handout, presentation slides, and an audio recording)
How can the Internet can be used to teach reading?
Uses range from simply finding and printing high-interest materials for students to read in class to managing a tablet-enabled class in which students are interacting online and engaging with customized content while learning at their own pace. This presentation will attempt to cover the spectrum of possibilities.
The Three F’s of using Technology in Education: Flexible, Familiar, Frequent
For technology to be successfully used in the classroom, it has to be….
...flexible enough adjust to changing curricular needs, teaching styles, and student levels.
...familiar enough to learners and educators that the effort to learn how to use it is worth it.
…and frequent enough to make it a seamless part of teaching and learning habits.
What are the potential advantages of using the internet to teach reading?
What are the potential challenges and obstacles?
Read Write Think http://www.readwritethink.org
Skimming and Scanning Skills with Internet Bingo
Free lesson plans and materials provided by the International Reading Association. You can search for materials by keyword, grade level, and resource type. They also provide a variety of materials on reading-related professional development.
Reading A-Z http://www.readinga-z.com/
Popular in American Classrooms. More than 1000 leveled books (27 levels), multiple genres, comes with worksheets, flashcards, supplemental materials. $100/classroom, but provides a sample of free materials.
English reading from EnglishClub.com http://www.englishclub.com/reading/
A reading portal that includes articles on reading strategies, reading level tests, links to free books, level based readings with pre-reading vocabulary and post-reading quizzes.
Reading Rockets http://www.readingrockets.org
From a U.S. public television station, resources about teaching reading., author Interviews, and themed booklists.
Excellent resource for younger students learning to read, but most content is too childish for middle schoolers.
Sources of Reading Materials - Assorted Literature
makes the world's public domain audio books available for browsing in a visual and entertaining way.
Thousands of of classics online - some free, some not. Site also includes reading groups, discussions, and reviews.
The Literature Network http://www.literature.org/
Mostly old classics, but some books by H.G. Wells, Henry O. and Jonathon Swift might be age-appropriate. Some books also include quizzes and discussions.
The Online Books Page http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/
Project Gutenberg Children http://gutenberg.org/wiki/Category:Children%27s_Bookshelf
Fighting the Whales
More than 1,000,000 books available, but many are old or not age-appropriate.
Booksie Young Adult Section http://www.booksie.com/young_adult
A different Twilight and a different Bella
40,000+ plus short stories, novels, and essays written and published by users. Other users can comment on stories (which usually includes very authentic teenage language)
Wacky Web Tales http://www.eduplace.com/tales/
Dozens of stories for use as ‘Mad Libs’. Good part of speech practice.
Reading Materials - Storybooks and Read Aloud
International Children’s Digital Library ChildrensLibrary.org
1000’s of children’s books from around the world , sortable by age level and book type.
Story Online Storylineonline.net
Videos of famous people reading storybooks. Includes printable handouts with activities, but not the original text of the books.
FreeKidsBooks Freekidsbooks.org Free downloadable storybooks.
Seven Ways to Survive School
Allows users to make their own visual stories using contributed illustrations. Thousands of user generated stories to read and discuss.
Children’s Storybooks Online Magickeys.com/books
Illustrated books sorted by level (young children, older children, young adults)
Tarhell Reader Tarheelreader.org
Hundreds of easy-to-read user-generated books illustrated by using Flickr photos.
Archive.org Children's Library http://archive.org/details/iacl
Thousands of copyright-free children’s books in a variety of formats (e.g.pdf, mobi, html).
List of Children's Books for Reading http://www.techsupportalert.com/free-books-children
Links to many sources of free children’s books and reading material
A collection of 365 short stories for language learners. Each story include a slowly read audio and there are also quiz and dictation activities for each story. .
Repeat after Us - Online Library and Language Lab
An assortment of stories, poems, and tongue twisters - some with audio recordings.
American ESL Folklore http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/esl-reading/
A few dozen American folk tales retold within several basic easy-reading paragraphs.
EastoftheWeb Children’s Short Stories -
Book Reviews, Recommendations, and Discussions
Affiliated sites that provide book reviews, author interviews, and reading lists.
GoodReads: http://goodreads.com/ http://www.goodreads.com/genres/childrens
Reviews, recommendations, ‘best of’ lists, and discussions of recent books
Sources of Reading Materials - articles and news stories
Eight different sites (e.g. BreakingNewsEnglish.comfamouspeoplelessons.com, and lessonmovies.com) that have thousands of lessons on a variety of topics. Each is based on a short text and provides a variety of print-ready activities and sometimes audio recordings.
BBC Learning English http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/
BBC news stories with activities and downloadable materials and audio
CNN Student News http://edition.cnn.com/studentnews/
Daily subtitled video news with a transcript and teaching materials.
ManyThings Reading http://www.manythings.org/
Hundreds of short readings (many from Voice of America) with audio recordings. Also includes a large collection of jokes.
Sources of high-interest authentic reading materials for adolescents
Seventeen magazine http://www.seventeen.com/
Fashion, Beauty, and Celebrity articles aimed at teen girls
Teen Ink http://www.teenink.com/
Fiction and non-fiction writings by teens for teens
Discovery Girls http://discoverygirls.com
Aimed at tween girls. Main magazine unavailable online, but blog posts and discussions are.
Girls Life http://www.girlslife.com/
AImed at teen girls - full text of stories on style, health, advice, entertainments, and fun. Some content might be to ‘adult’ for middle school students
Boy’s Life http://boyslife.org/
How to build a ship in a bottle
Originally a scouting oriented magazine. Includes video game reviews, jokes, and blogs.
National Geographic Kids http://kids.nationalgeographic.com
Tigers Cuddle with Apes
Print-friendly materials on countries, animals, and science. The site also has a variety of videos, games, puzzles, and photo activities.
Ranger Rick http://www.nwf.org/Kids/Ranger-Rick.aspx
Produced by National Wildlife Federation. Many animal-related articles and some comic style stories. The site also includes games and print-ready handouts, posters, and activities.
Students from around the world meet to talk about issues, present their ideas, and respond to other children. This site also includes a chat forum with live message exchange.
Kidjutsu, Comics for Kids http://www.kidjutsu.com/browse/comic
Free comics sorted by type and age level
Dr. Frost Comic Discussion
International comics translated into different languages (mostly English)
Large selection of comics for sale, but with a decent selection of free ones which change weekly. Some might not be appropriate for middle schoolers.
Newsarama Free Comics http://newsarama.com/topics/free-online-comic-books/
Short articles about Kpop in English
Short Kpop articles and musician profiles
Master’s Sun Recap Goo Hye Sun Discussion
Kpop celebrity news and very active discussion forums
Includes Kpop news, event reports, and current event stories
Kpop Lyrics http://www.kpoplyrics.net
Kpop lyrics romanized and translated into English, along with some Kpop news stories
English lyrics for Kpop songs
English Subtitles (.srt files) for Korean movies and TV shows
Korean Culture in English http://culturebridges.net/2012/07/korean-culture-in-english.html
English Language Bloggers in Korea
http://koreabridge.net/blogs Why Korean Food is so Great
English Discussions about life in Korea
Transcripts, Subtitles, & Lyrics
Sites that contain lyrics for thousands of popular English songs
A-Z Lyrics http://www.azlyrics.com
Song Lyrics http://www.songlyrics.com
Lyric Training (interactive with music videos http://www.lyricstraining.com/
Transcripts for English Movies & TV Shows
Simply Scripts http://www.simplyscripts.com/
Internet Movie Script Database http://www.imsdb.com/
Movie Scripts & Screenlays http://www.moviescriptsandscreenplays.com/
Sites where you can download .srt files (subtitles) for English movies & TV Shows
TV Subtitles Tvsubtitles.net
OpenSubtitles OpenSubtitles.org (Korean Subtitles)
Subtitle Seeker SubTitleSeeker
ER Central http://er-central.com/
Dedicated to developing an Extensive Reading and Extensive Listening approach to foreign and second language learning. Lots of potential resources - many still ‘coming soon’.
Rob Waring’s ER Page http://www.robwaring.org/er/
A variety of resources and explanations of What, How, and Why of ER
Extensive Reading Foundation http://erfoundation.org/
Graded reader lists, Yearly awards, professional organization information
Korean English Extensive Reading Association (KEERA) http://keera.or.kr/
Bilingual site that fosters learning and academic excellence by working with members, institutions, and individuals to create a safe, fulfilling, and academically enriching environment for Extensive English reading education in Korea.
Online level tests from different publishers.
Ace Reader’s Free Reading Test http://www.freereadingtest.com/
Book Report Forms
Assorted Tools for Teaching Reading
Screen Readers List of options at: http://usabilitygeek.com/10-free-screen-reader-blind-visually-impaired-users/
Speakit: Chrome Extension
Dictionary Extensions Google Dictionary
These can be useful for quickly checking the
meaning and pronunciation of words online.
Diigo http://Diigo.com (browser plugins: https://www.diigo.com/tools/ )
An excellent social bookmarking tool that allows you to bookmark sites online, highlight certain sections, and add sticky notes. Diigo Search for reading+efl links: https://diigo.com/search?adSScope=community&what=reading%2Befl
Standalone Chrome Extensions
Simple Highlighter: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/simple-highlighter/
Yellow Highlighter Pen: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/yellow-highlighter-pen-fo/
Tremendous resource for reference, asking language questions, and printable handouts.
Tells how common a word is based on the British National Corpus.
Google Translate http://translate.google.com
Aside from translation, provides authentic usage examples from the web, pronunciation, and a saveable phrasebook.
Visual Thesaurus http://www.visualthesaurus.com/app/view
Provides a graphic representation of how words are related and provides nuanced definitions.
SImilar style to Visual Thesaurus
100,000+ articles that use a more basic level of English. easier sentence structure, and more limited vocabulary
Assorted Sites and Tools not specifically related to reading
Mobile friendly, make-your-own flashcard site with thousands of existing sets. Automatically creates learning activities, games,and quizzes from the sets.
Speech-to-text animation. Users can choose a character design and either type what they want the character to say or record the audio.
ELLLO (English Listening Laboratory Online) http://elllo.org/
Provides audio and video of people having authentic English conversations. Recordings include a transcript and activities for vocabulary development and comprehension.
Real English http://www.real-english.com/new-lessons.asp
On the street interviews with native English speakers. Each video comes with a transcript and learning activities.
Professional Development Communities
Facebook Groups - All Things English ESL/EFL World EFL Teachers Kit ELT Cinema ELT Diary ELT Action Research ELTPics ELTChat British Council
Google+ Communities: ELT Better English Learning2gether
LinkedIn - ELT Professionals Around The World (Discussion List) Teachers of English
Diigo Groups: Language Learning and Technology Cool Tools & Ed Tech
ELT Online Reading Group Koreatesol.org EFLClassroom 2.0 Webheadsinaction.org Englishcompanion.ning.com/
Mobile Tools & Resources
Amazon Free Downloads http://www.amazon.com/
Search Amazon’s kindle store for terms like ‘young adults’, ‘teen books’, ‘children’s literature’, or a specific title or genre. Then sort by ‘Price: Low to High’. You will need to set up an Amazon account, but once you have done so, you can download the Kindle file (.azw) to your computer. You can then use a program like Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/) to view the book or convert it to a pdf or other mobile formats. You can also convert the tile to simple text, if you’d like to use that for presentation materials.
K12 Timed Reading Practice Lite
The free version comes 25 short stories that can be used to assess the students reading fluency and comprehension. Premium versions ($2~$4) includes 250+ stories.
Comic Strips https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.freecomicstrips
Hundreds of comic strips viewable on a mobile device.
Reading Bee ESL English https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.readingbee.studiointii
Uses readings on current events, science, health, economics, US history
ESL Reading Comprehension https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/esl-reading-comprehension/
Level-based reading comprehension activities
Questions, Comments, Site Suggestions
Below, please post any questions, comments, or suggestions (site or tools) related to using the Internet for Teaching Reading.