Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Reading Tub

The Reading Tub

    The Reading Tub ( collects and distributes books to at-risk readers, whether it is a child with no books at home or a teacher who is building a classroom library for struggling readers. The Reading Tub was once a site that was dedicated to giving book reviews until recently, it became a non-profit organization dedicated to getting books out to at-risk readers. This organization is built on the belief that individuals become successful readers when they have access to reading materials at home. The goal of the Reading Tub is to provide a one stop place for helping kids fulfill their full literacy potential. Donations are what fund the works of The Reading Tub and 100% of the funds received goes to providing literacy information and shipping books. Individuals interested are encouraged to become a literacy volunteer for this non-profit organization or to simply be a registered reader.
The Reading Tub provides literacy resources for families and educators. Prior to exploring the tabs of the website, parents are encouraged to read an article about Guided Reading at Home ( ) which offers various ways that parents can help their children at home using techniques that teachers are using in the classroom. In addition, a list of reading activities is provided that can be used to get children excited about reading. It is highly encouraged that parents read WITH their child especially at a young age. It is also emphasized that Parents show by example the importance of reading by letting their children see them read on a daily basis. Make reading a daily experience, incorporate reading into an activity your kid loves, create a family reading night, planning a family adventure to the library are a just a few of the activities along with descriptions that are listed on the Reading Tub. 
When it comes to literacy, specifically reading, the reality is that some kids love to read, while other kids hate and dread it. What is helpful and nice about the Reading Tub website is that they explain why some children don’t like to read with possible factors whether it is an environmental or medical factor. For example, an environmental factor would be the idea of modeling behaviors of what they see at home when it comes to literacy. If the adults at home do not read, the children will not prefer to read as well. A medical factor would include dyslexia, a learning disability. Other factors include being a late bloomer or having anxiety. Links are provided for further reading on these contributing factors.
    After exploring the website, I found some of the literacy facts to be very interesting. The Reading Tub listed a few Literacy facts that prove the importance of reading as a skill and the impact that reading has in influencing success later in life. A literacy fact I thought was interesting is that “The average kindergarten student has seen more than 5,000 hours of television, having spent more time in front of the T.V. than it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree” or that “80% of college faculty members report that entering freshman cannot read well enough to do college work.” Although some of the facts are unfortunately true, it goes to show that reading is the key and without this skill, success is difficult at the post-secondary level and as an adult. Like every other literacy website, links with descriptions of articles and more resources are provided for further reading along with a periodic newsletter “The Wash Rag”, tailored towards your reader’s age.
In addition to the provided resources, book reviews are still included in the Reading Tub. Book reviews are categorized by age group and then in alphabetical order. After clicking on a book title, a comprehensive review is given to include the link to purchase the book, a summary, reading level, pros, cons, related books, recommended age, reading and interest level, to name a few.
In conclusion, The Reading Tub provides insightful perspectives and interesting resources that explain the importance of reading altogether. The Reading Tub advocates for early literacy and getting parents involved by encouraging them to read in the home environment by reading together or by modeling reading.  I would recommend this website for both educators and parents with young readers. The Reading Tub was created for a good cause and their belief in bringing literacy home for families and their philosophical view that kids need to read to succeed in life is something I could agree and advocate with.

*Contribution by L. Orlando

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Reading Eggs

Reading Eggs ( is an online reading websites that helps children learn how to read. This website makes reading interesting and fun through the sites online games and activities. Through expert educators with over 30 years of experience in education the website Reading Eggs was created. This multi-award winning early learning resources helps support your child’s learning how to read journey with the websites online reading games and activities that are easy to follow, self-paced and fun and engaging for young children. This website gives younger child the opportunity to start getting prepared for the same structured learning that they will need to succeed when they start school.
Through this website children are taught lessons using colorful animations, fun characters, songs, and rewards to keep the students interested. This reading website is completely interactive which will keep the students on task and on the right track. Reading Eggs gives parents access to detailed progress reports as well as hundreds of downloadable activity worksheets that can help the child with the lessons in the program. Read Eggs has developed an effective learn to read process which has students engaged and interested. First students are to complete animated online lessons where they learn essential reading and phonics skills. Then students are given opportunities to read online books of words that they have already studied in the program. During this process students earn golden eggs as rewards for the progress they have made in the program. With these eggs children can buy reward games and items for their avatar or house in the program. After ten lessons, children are to complete a quiz which provides parents and the program an idea of what the child is learning.

Overall, Reading Eggs is an amazing website to help build on early literacy skills. I believe that this website gives parents the opportunity to help child get prepared for literacy skills that will learned when they start school. This website can also be a great resource for students in my classroom who are struggling in reading.

*Contribution by Erika Lorenzo.

Friday, February 9, 2018

KidsLit TV


  Igniting a passion for reading in children can be the key to their success in the world. Many educators and parents search for strategies to help young children grow to share a love of reading. KidLit Tv ( is a website that can help engage students by providing supplemental activities and videos that make reading fun!
    KidLit Tv was founded by Julie Gribble. As an author herself, Julie wanted a place where authors and illustrators can connect with their audiences to help promote their books. The website has been a huge success and has won awards such as the Parent’s Choice Gold Award and the Norton Juster Award.
    The KidLit TV shows included on the website are broken up into six sections. The first section, StoryMakers is a talkshow featuring bestselling Kidlit authors and illustrators. The StoryMakers section can help students understand the authors purpose for writing the book. They can also learn things they may have never known about a book they have already read through the talkshows. It is a great feature for parents if they are searching for books for their children because they are able to learn all the details of a story through one episode.
    The Read Out Loud series features KidLit authors reading their books aloud. The best part of the series is it provides additional animation to capture children’s attention. The featured authors are enthusiastic and funny in the episodes which can motivate students to keep watching. The third series, Ready Set Draw, features illustrators teaching viewers how to draw characters or images from their stories. This is great for students who love to draw. The series enables educators and parents to integrate art into literacy.
    The website also features crafts and activities all related to literacy. The crafts include activities such as, making pom pom book marks, crafts that match holiday stories, and cooking recipes to supplement a variety of texts. This series is a great way to extend a story and integrate other subject areas into literacy.
    Children are often captivated by movie trailers. They may ask to watch a movie by simply viewing a short preview. KidLit TV has brought the same concept, but to books! The website features book trailers for stories to captivate students into reading a particular book. This is a great feature to showcase to students prior to reading a text. Building background knowledge and holding conversations prior to reading a story can help students succeed. The book trailers can be used to make predictions, identify setting, characters, and other story elements featured in the preview.
    The website offers many more features and resources that are extremely useful for students, parents, and educators. Teachers can showcase the website by having students watch a series, engage students in fun supplemental activities after reading a book, or preview the website before planning lessons for great ideas. KidLit TV has truly brought the fun to reading!

*Contribution by Christina Sablan Toves 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Google Lit Trip

Can you imagine what it must have felt like trying to escape the southern states with Harriet Tubman in the novel Freedom Train? Wouldn’t it be interesting if you could actually take the perilous journey with her? Google Lit Trips ( is a nonprofit website founded by educator Jerome Burg, which uses Google Earth to take students on virtual literature tours. Students and teachers will have the opportunity to travel with characters from a particular piece of literature through their adventures and journeys.

While reading a story, students make several “stops” at actual locations in the book. At each stop, there are place marks with pop-up windows containing a variety of resources including essential reading questions, thinking-about-the-story conversation starters, vocabulary words, related pictures and video. Through these Lit Trips, students will be able to jump into the story and tie literary content with place and time.

To begin a Lit Trip tour a teacher must complete a membership registration. Once registered, Lit Trip content will be made available by simply submitting a request form using a registered email address. Using the Lit Trip Library, users may browse the titles available either by grade level or alphabetical order. There are currently 81 book titles to choose from. As soon as you decide on the title you will be working with, you may visit the Lit Trip store, request for the trip, and will quickly receive an email with further instructions.

Lit Trip Tours are not limited to the books available on their website. As an educator, you may also create your own virtual tours to share with your students and include in the site library. Created tours are submitted, reviewed, and posted on the Lit Trip website if approved. To help with this process, submission guidelines and various tutorials are made available if interested.

Lit Trip tours is a great addition to any literacy lesson. Adding a virtual “field trip” is an excellent way to immerse students in historical evidence and the geography of our earth. Using Google Earth allows you to transport your class to any location in the world instantly. Cities, terrain, monuments, museums and historic locations. It’s a great way to enhance any story by providing an interactive experience while taking a literacy adventure.

*Contribution by Christian Bais

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


StoryJumper, which can be accessed at, is a website that helps bring out the inner author in anyone. It is a free online book creator and publisher that offers clever tools for writing and illustrating stories. Parents and teachers will find it useful for sharing stories and presenting information, while students will find an encouraging means for reading and writing themselves.

Conveniently for 4th and 5th grade teachers, StoryJumper provides a sample lesson plan supported by common core standards with downloadable resources to go along. However, StoryJumper is for everyone! The interface, tools, and endless ideas make it easy to be utilized by parents, teachers, students of all grade levels, and in every school subject. Students can write narratives or reflection journals, demonstrate their understanding of a skill by teaching it through pages, introduce themselves with an all about me style, co-author by collaborating with classmates, and more! For younger kids, safety may be of concern, but all of this can be done with the highest level of information and identity protection as assured by StoryJumper.

When creating a book, users can select a template or simply start from scratch. Afterwards, they will be taken to the editor where they can explore and create away. In the editor, there are options to add text, upload photos, and insert audio recordings. StoryJumper also offers a ready set of images, props, and scenes that can be filtered through. The editor uses a drag-and-drop style with further editing options that makes it so user friendly, but for those who are interested, StoryJumper offers a how-to video to help get started. In the end, completed books can be professionally published and ordered. Although creating a book requires computer access, users are free to read StoryJumper books on any device.

All in all, StoryJumper is a great website for promoting reading and writing that is safe for children. Students can read ready-made books or get creative with one of their own through an easy and intuitive experience. All that is needed is an idea to get started.

*ED638 Contribution by Kristine Madrazo

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Creator

By Rose Castro and Martha Sudo

In the classroom, teachers or kids can
create individual pages that become
books. Once they're familiar with the
basic functions, it's time for kids and
teachers to start creating: fiction or
nonfiction books, how-to manuals with
video and audio instructions, photo
books, comic strips, and more. Book
Creator for iPad is an amazingly easy-touse
digital book-making tool. With
guidance, even kids in early elementary
school grades can use this technology
tool to produce and publish their own
simple books or comics with images,
videos, and audio. Readers can access
published books via iBooks or other online
sources, or books can be printed on

You can go to,
register as a teacher and start creating
books right away. As a teacher, you can
have 40 books free for your
classroom. Book Creator for Chrome is
ready to try for free! Go to

Thursday, October 27, 2016

ESSA guidance for teachers

The U.S. DOE recently offered guidelines for the newest reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. This blueprint focuses on helping teachers perform better, and in turn helping their students do the same. That means every student succeeds when their teachers succeed in their endeavors, too. The Department of Education plans to handhold the states and districts through the transition from the controversial No Child Left Behind Act to the ESSA.  READ MORE 

Source:, Bambi Majumdar -