Monthly Archives: January 2014

World Read Aloud Day and Virtual Author Visits

worldreadaloudday2014calendarImagine a world where everyone can read…

This statement is the campaign call to action by LitWorld, a non-profit literacy organization and sponsor of World Read Aloud Day. Celebrated the first Wednesday of March, World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) advocates for worldwide attention to the human right of literacy and the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories. From the website:

“World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.”

Last year on WRAD, 65 countries and over a million people participated in reading aloud and sharing stories. This year, WRAD is March 5. You can sign up to participate and download a WRAD calendar at: http://litworld.org/worldreadaloudday

kate_012214PostMany teachers read aloud to their students every day. However, on March 5, 2014, reading aloud takes on a greater significance. With this in mind, Children’s author Kate Messner has pulled together a list of children’s and young adult authors who have volunteered to spend part of the day Skyping with classrooms around the world to share the joy of reading aloud! You can find more information about Kate and her efforts, and the list of participating authors, at http://www.katemessner.com/skype-with-an-author-on-world-read-aloud-day-2014. What an exciting way to share the joy of reading aloud.

Help spread the word about World Read Aloud Day and participate on March 5. Happy Reading!

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What’s In a Name? Clearing Up the Ebook Confusion

Clearly we are in the midst of great change when it comes to books and reading. Print media are being transformed by digital technologies. Books look different, feel different, and are known by a variety of names. Ebook is the broad term typically used to describe an electronic book, and ebooks are quickly evolving and changing as technology changes. Ebook and enhanced print book are typically used to describe a print book that has been converted to a digital file. The page format of the print text is retained, and embedded links within the text may or may not be active, depending on the publication format. Devices on which we read ebooks, including computers, tablets, and others, allow us to  customize the look of the text, such as changing the font size or the orientation of the text on the screen. A built-in dictionary and note taking features can be accessed with merely a click.

Advances in technology and the popularity of the tablet are encouraging creation of digital books with a great variety of features. A book may be published initially in a digital format; these may be referred to as native digital or digital first books. Information is presented through a variety of media (e.g., print, video, podcasts and other audio, live hyperlinks), giving readers access to resources and ways of learning beyond those offered by the print text alone. To access some of features that are online and not embedded in the file, readers may need an Internet connection.

An ebook may also be produced as an app. A book app is designed as an application for use on a mobile device (e.g., iPad, iPhone, Android, Chrome Book). Since apps are platform-specific, a different app must be created for each platform. Apps are purchased from the app store and downloaded onto the device, thus creating a reader’s own personal, portable library. A book app may be merely an electronic version of a print book but is more likely to include rich media supporting the print text. Here is a list of my favorite book apps for children and adolescents.

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, published by TouchPress, 2012

X is for X-Ray by Hugh Turvey, Mike Levad, & Paul Rosenthal, published by TouchPress, 2011

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, published by Moonbot Studios, 2011

World of Ants by Amos Latteier, Illustrations by Melinda Matson, published by Amos Latteier, 2011

Cinderella, published by Nosy Crow, 2011

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, Illustrated by Michael Smolin, published by Callaway, 2011

Although all electronic books share similarities, their differences may challenge those of us who teach. As the Common Core State Standards call for educators to promote literacy learning through the use of technology, understanding the capabilities of ebooks and the changing nature of text is crucial as we prepare students for the texts they will encounter now and in their future.

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