Finding sites for primary digital readers is something of greater challenge. Many of the sites we use work well for shared reading. Some of these sites students can return to, but for emergent and early readers many digital reading sites are too challenging. Just as in reading print books, I do work to find digital texts that students will be able to engage in independently. This is a much greater challenge when we are talking about our youngest readers. Since participating in the #cyberPD conversation around Digital Reading: What's Essential by Franki Sibberson and Bill Bass, I've been working to build the possibilities for the young readers I support to experience digital texts. Here are a few of my favorites sites for emergent and early readers:
Tumble Books: Tumble Books is a "read to me" site. I have been a fan of this site for beginning readers for years as it has a wide variety of books available. Many digital sites have books created specifically by developers for their sites, but Tumble Books has many of the popular picture books and early chapter books students might check out at their library available. The only challenge of Tumble Books is that it is a paid site, but it can be accessed through many libraries including our local Columbus Metropolitan Library Tumblebooks site.
National Geographic Kids Young Explorer Magazine Looking for informational text for young readers? National Geographic has really kept up with needs of student readers. No matter their product, print or digital, students enjoy finding out more with National Geographic. The Young Explorer digital site allows readers to view and/or listen to past National Geographic magazines. There are two versions available for reading: Scout and Voyager. Of course, a stop by the National Geographic Kids website can always provide additional digital material for students.
The Poem Farm with Amy Ludwig VanDerwater It's true, I'm a bit of a poetry fan so I like to make sure digital readers have the opportunity to experience poetry. Amy LV's site is the perfect stop for teachers as she shares so much about her writing process. Honestly, Amy's site is one of my favorite stops for digital writing mentor texts. You'll find her site to be helpful in planning for poetry mini lessons. You can look up poems by topic and technique making it a great stop for shared reading as well. However, this post is about digital reading for kids so I digress. The reason I like this site for our youngest readers is that Amy always includes a SoundCloud version of her poem. Students can revisit poetry and listen to her read it! There's nothing quite like hearing a poet read her own poetry.
Storyline Online Beginning readers need to hear the sounds of books. There's something about those wondrous words whispering in their ears through read aloud. Storyline Online has many titles available to listen to as they are read by readers you just might know.
Unite for Literacy This website is a must see for young readers. Displayed as a digital bookshelf, readers may click on a title of choice. Students can read the book independently or have a narrated voice read for them. Words are not highlighted and the narration is a bit choppy, but this is an excellent stop for finding digital books. Additionally, you can adjust the language to have different different languages read. When I switched the narration I was still viewing the English text, but with the other language narration.
eBooks with Narration Recently I noticed in my library's Overdrive site that digital titles are becoming available "with narration." In a recent stop to Overdrive, I discovered that books are becoming available with narration. This allows readers to view the text WHILE listening to the story being read to them. Game changer for younger readers! I've tried to find out more about this, but haven't been able to really get to the heart of what is available and if it will be sustainable shift in children's books. Anyone know anything more? Check out your library's digital reading section to see if titles are available.
|Digital books with narration.|
Columbus Metropolitan Library
|You can see how I have been able|
to locate titles available with narration.
I'm hoping to grow the list of sites available for my youngest readers. I'd love your recommendations.
Here are some other favorite digital sites (not all are for beginning readers):
Follow Mrs. Cathy's board Reading Websites on Pinterest.
As part of a continuous collaboration among educators interested in digital learning, Margaret Simon hosts a weekly Digital Learning round-up on her blog: DigiLit Sunday. Stop by Reflections on the Teche.