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Literacy: Miscellaneous Literacy Sites

Snap the Whip by Winslow Homer (1872)

 

40 iPad Apps for Reading Disabilities Parents of children with reading disabilities, and educators who work with learning disabled students, are always looking for new tools to help the kids meet their potential and work through their disability. This is a list of 40 iPad apps designed to meet the needs of learning disabled kids and beginning readers alike. The apps are sorted into Helps, Fundamentals, Reading, Writing, and Spelling. This article is posted at Educator Technology and Mobile Learning, where there are a lot more articles like this one.

 

 

New Site139 Old Norse Words That Invaded The English Language "Without the Vikings, English would be missing some awesome words like berserk, ugly, muck, skull, knife, die, and cake!" "Traust me, þó (though) it may seem oddi at first, we er still very líkligr to use the same words as the Vikings did in our everyday speech. Þeirra (their) language evolved into the modern-day Scandinavian languages, but þeir (they) also gave English the gift of hundreds of words." For more advanced learners, here is an article on Yorkshire dialect*, from northeast England where the old Danelaw was.
* It's chock-full-o'-Norse!

Painting of a Viking raid

 

 

A Year of Reading the World- The list This is the list of 196 books, one from every country in the world, that Londoner Ann Morgan read in 365 days. An article from the BBC, "Reading the world in 196 books" tells the story of her quest to even find a book from every country. An article from The Atlantic discusses her favorites among the 196 books. Amy Poehler's Smart Girls on FB endorsed this. We endorse it because we feel learning about the people in the other 195 countries is essential to a young person's education.

 

Download American Sign Language Learning Aid Link goes to the program page. Download the program here. This is the Windows version, there are others. "A set of programs designed to help the beginner ASL student learn ASL. It is composed of two parts: ASLLA-Dictionary and ASLLA-Fingerspeller. ASLLA-Dict allows the student to look up English->ASL sign. ASLLA-Fspell allows the beginner to practice seeing fingerspelling." Thanks to Andy Uehara, who wrote these programs and is deaf, if that matters to you. Cool. A short manual and other info may be found inside the unzipped program folder. Found it on Sourceforge

 

Australian Slang   Part of a larger kids site, learn why English speakers are divided by our common language.

 

BBC - Literacy Place Another good language arts site, with links to activities for different ages.

 

Books and Stories from Kids' World. Ten literature and writing links, and six links to read-alouds.

 

Brain Teasers  Here are 22 early learning games also suitable for Special Education use.  Memory Attention games "are designed to exercise the processes involved in attending to and remembering information."  Sound Discrimination games "work at training the basic fundamentals necessary for language, listening, and reading." Sounds like a novel and overdue approach.  (and the games are kinda fun)

 


CODE "Every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn to code." So say Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, President Bill Clinton, Senator Marco Rubio (R) - Florida, Senator John Thune (R) - South Dakota, Stephen Hawking, Sheryl Sandberg, Vice President Al Gore, Richard Branson, Ashton Kutcher, Dr. Oz, Arianna Huffington, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Eric Schmidt - Google, Randi Weingarten - AFT, Wendy Kopp - Teach For America, Steve Ballmer - Microsoft, Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Enrique Iglesias, Snoop Dogg, Reid Hoffman - LinkedIn, Dick Costolo & Jack Dorsey - Twitter, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State, Max Levchin - Paypal, Dara Khosrowshahi - Expedia, Gabe Newell - Valve, Yishan Wong - Reddit, Salman Khan, and many others. Read what they have to say. Code.org is a non-profit foundation dedicated to growing computer programming education. Our goals include:

(1) Spreading the word that there is a worldwide shortage of computer programmers, and that it's much easier to learn to program than you think.

(2) Building an authoritative database of all programming schools, whether they are online courses, brick+mortar schools or summer camps.

(3) Our vision is that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn how to code. We believe computer science and computer programming should be part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry and algebra.

The Learn section has intros to simple programs like Scratch and Karel the Dog*. The Teach section has tutorials, curriculum you can integrate into classes, options to bring classes to your school, and more programs like Scratch and Alice to try out.

Bottom line: Business, industry, you name it, they're all screaming for people who can write code. Read the Quotes, like these:

“Our policy at Facebook is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find. There just aren't enough people who are trained and have these skills today.“

These are some of the highest-paying jobs, but there are not enough graduates to fill these opportunities.“

"... It's important for these kids, right now, starting at 8 years old, to read and write code.“

“support tha american dream n make coding available to EVERYONE!!“

“Computer programming is the single best professional opportunity in the world. We need more Americans in the field. Let’s go!“

Dance Mat Typing"Learn keyboard familiarity and finger positioning as you work your way through 12 different typing lessons. Animated characters and dances are triggered by your very own ten fingers." Four levels starting with new beginner. Another great BBC site.

 


 

A whole bunch of dyslexia help!

Dyslexia information from the National Center for Learning Disabilities (A large site covering various LD issues.) It has in-depth definitions, explanations, warning signs, many articles for parents, and many resources.

Fonts for dyslexics - OpenDyslexic

OpenDyslexic font sample

Fonts for dyslexics - Dyslexie

Dyslexie font sample

OpenDyslexic "OpenDyslexic is a new open sourced font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. The typeface includes regular, bold, italic, and bold-italic styles, and 2 typefaces: OpenDyslexic, and OpenDyslexic-Alta. It was created to help with my reading, and is being updated continually and improved based on input from other dyslexic users. There are no restrictions on using OpenDyslexic outside of attribution. (It's free.) For attribution, a simple mention of the URL, and linkback where applicable is sufficient." (We did that.) OpenDyslexic is constantly evolving based on feedback from users and educators. Example: OpenDyslexic-Alta. The "a" in Alta looks something like the "a" in Comic Sans with a heavier bottom. This font is open-source with volunteer developers.

Dyslexie offers another group of fonts, also designed to help dyslexics. Dyslexie seems more profit-oriented and businesslike, which could be an advantage for users. Dyslexie offers the Dyslexie Regular font free for home use only (annual license). Their Bold, Italic, and Italic Bold fonts are sold for school and business use on an annual license. At the bottom of the Home page are two videos about dyslexia and Dyslexie, which are well worth your time. There is also a user manual for downloading.

Both OpenDyslexic and Dyslexie fonts work on all the popular OS's (iOS, Mac OSX, Windows, Android, Chrome, etc). With extensions/plugins, both work on most known browsers; Chrome, Opera, Safari, Firefox, etc). Both work on Office. E-readers: Dyslexie works on Kobo for sure, perhaps on others, these things constantly change. OpenDysleic works on Kobo, too. iPad, iPhone, Kindles: OpenDysleic, yes, yes, and yes, but. Both OpenDyslexic and Dyslexie have rave reviews, some people prefer one to the other, Dyslexie is older and proven, OpenDyslexic keeps improving and welcomes skilled volunteer help. It is a matter of preference which one you use.

Lastly - some dyslexics report that color changes help. Every dyslexic is different, some colors may well help some to read better. Example (only): (Done entirely with Word.) Play with these fonts and ideas. Good luck.

color fonts for dyslexics

 

 

Fairy tale origins thousands of years old Fairy tales go way, way back. "Beauty and the Beast" and "Rumpelstiltskin" are 4,000 years old. "Jack and the Beanstalk" in all its versions, is over 5,000 years old. "The Devil and the Smith" is 6,000 years old! "The story has been dated at 6,000 years old, from the Bronze Age, making it twice as old as Homer's stories The Odyssey and The Iliad." - International Business Times

 

Free Language Arts Curriki Curated Resources! Here are 32 (it lists 33, but #2 and #14 are duplicates) separate collections of language arts lesson plans for middle school, high school, and ESL use. Not 32 lessons but 32 groups of lessons. Some could be adapted for upper elementary. Everything from parts of speech to Shakespeare. Lesson plans, lessons ready-to-go, rubrics, worksheets, videos, and more.

 

Free Rice Expands vocabulary!"For each word you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice through the United Nations to help end world hunger." "WARNING: This game may make you smarter. It may improve your speaking, writing, thinking, grades, job performance... " Improves vocabulary! You may want to have one student stand by with a dictionary while another plays. Or maybe not. BTW The rumor (spelled "rumour" outside the U.S.) that this site is a scam is false, says Snopes.

 

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly from Tom's TEFL out of Hong Kong. This is a video of an activity to reinforce vocabulary. It should work with ESL students of all ages and with Early Learners/lower level grade school. It could teach vocabulary, rhythm, intro to poetry, etc. Under the video there are the lyrics used. The activity could be copied and used with your students. Judy Collins - "Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly" Muppet Show 1977 has the lyrics set to music and is funny for kids and adults!

 

Lakota Winter Counts - An online exhibit from the Smithsonian. Who are the Lakota? What's a Winter Count? Who made them? What art media were used? Listen to Lakota elders explain the records of the years. See surviving winter counts from as far back as 1701. The gallery of winter counts is awesome. (To scroll right or left, put your mouse arrow in the upper left or upper right side of the picture.) Bonus: Native speaker pronounces Lakota words for you! Click on the tiny white words "Audio Glossary" that are underneath the main site.

 

 

Language Guide Want to learn alphabets and vocabulary words from other languages? "LanguageGuide.org offers free sound integrated resources for learning languages." The site features pictures of various things with written and spoken names in several languages. Words are pronounced by volunteer native speakers. Current languages are English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese. Sponsored by Language Guide, a registered non-profit organization, the site is free to use but they do ask for donations. Uses QuickTime.

 

Latin Lessons This webpage is a list of online Latin lessons and (mostly) online textbooks. We urge you to try some of them out by exploring this site. We looked at several and were impressed. Latin seems to be making a comeback so here is your chance to check it out. One of the many language pages offered by A to Z Home's Cool Homeschooling, one of the sites on our Homeschool page.

 

Learn an Hour of Code from Code.org "3,662,409 have learned an HOUR of CODE Anybody can learn." This page is being promoted by everyone from "Apple to Zuckerberg". We've seen related pages in different languages, from Chile to Sri Lanka. There are fun tutorials teach anyone to code by making Holiday cards, Build your own Game, the MIT App-Inventor that teaches how to make a working app, and LightBot Any one of which will teach an hour of code, and kids won't even notice they're learning. Some are for any age, others for middle school and up (it says here). If anyone wants more (hope), there is a big section on Javascript, another on Python, even one using pencil and paper! Yes, and teacher guides as well. If you are too late to participate in Hour of Code Week, this site will be around for awhile.

Little Explorers English Picture Dictionary  from Enchanted Learning, the Zoom sites people.  Here is an illustrated elementary-level dictionary.

 

Nassau Library Kids Section Tons of information. This site has very many links, just click on a section and look.

 

If you download the Open Dyslexic font, you'll be able to see the text below in all its dyslexia-friendly glory...

Downloads Open Dyslexic is a new open sourced font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. The typeface includes regular, bold, italic and bold-italic styles. It is being updated continually and improved based on input from dyslexic users. There are no restrictions on using OpenDyslexic outside of attribution. Your brain can sometimes do funny things to letters. OpenDyslexic tries to help prevent some of these things from happening.

openWeb: A free iPhone/iPad web browser that uses OpenDyslexic to override the default fonts on the webpages you read. " openWeb - Dyslexia friendly web browser." The site also has links to other apps and helps for installation. (For Windows: download it, open the folder, click on the Font. Windows should then install it for you.) Thank you, thank you Abelardo Gonzalez, for all the work you've done! Going in anyplace someone who needs it might find it!

 

Downloads Owl & Mouse Educational Software Great phonics software that reminds us of the old MECC Apple games of the 1980s. Free software for you to download and install, or play online. Their plug: "Help your child learn with games, software and educational activities from Owl & Mouse Educational Software. Early reading software—phonics software, alphabet games, and Dolch sight words in a fairy tale story. All of it FREE!'

 

Project Gutenberg "Free eBooks from Project Gutenberg, the first producer of free ebooks. Project Gutenberg offers over 40,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online. We carry high quality ebooks: All our ebooks were previously published by bona fide publishers. We digitized and diligently proofread them with the help of thousands of volunteers. Project Gutenberg offers 40,000 free ebooks to download." The original is still the greatest! We like to just browse by Author or Title. Now they have self-publishing to the cloud! "From Project Gutenberg, the first producer of free eBooks, now comes the free Authors Community Cloud Library, a social network Self-Publishing Portal. This Portal allows authors to share their works with readers as well as allows readers to provide comments, reviews and feedback to the authors. Every eBook has its own Details Page, Star Ratings, and Reader Comment area." Simply stunning. It's free, go get it!

 

Reading Rockets "is a national multimedia literacy initiative offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help. We bring the best research-based strategies to anyone helping a young child become a strong, confident reader. The project includes PBS television programs (also available online and on DVD); online services (ReadingRockets.org and ColorinColorado.org); professional development opportunities; and a robust social community on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr." (edited by us) Big sections on: teaching reading (lots of tips & ideas), helping strugglers (ditto), A-Z list of topics ("a rich library of classroom strategies" 44 topics!), children's books and authors (including booklists and how to choose books), fun things to order, and more.

 

Scaffolding Literacy A Practical Demonstration A good PowerPoint on scaffolding. This oldie from the Armidale School in NSW, Australia, and the University of Canberra gets into this concept and has some good information. It downloads easily and is worth your time.

 

Sumer Is Icumen In Here is an example of the evolution of the language. On the left, the original song from the mid-13th century (about 1250, give or take). On the right, modern English. "The title translates approximately to "Summer Has Come In" or "Summer Has Arrived". The song is composed in the Wessex dialect of Middle English." (Wikipedia) Also, þ = th sound: "Groweth seed and bloweth meadow."

 

Sumer is icumin inCuckooSummer is

 

Bullock starteth, buck (rhymes with starteth); known as a "buck snort" in the southeast USA. It has to do with impressing the does.

 

 

Visual Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online    Why go to Google or Wikipedia for all your info?

 

Vocabulary Workshop Online from Sadlier-Oxford Educational Publishing. Six levels of vocabulary with 300 words per level. Click on a word and and hear it pronounced in QuickTime. Two additional levels feature Hangman, Word Search, Crosswords, and Multiple Choice. Section for Families and another one for Teachers. All this from one start page that uses popups - so don't have popups blocked.

 

Web English Teacher Project based learning K-12. Language arts only. Very many, perhaps hundreds, of lesson plans and related ideas for the entire language arts spectrum.

 

Webster's Online Dictionary  with Multilingual Thesaurus Translation "Earth's largest dictionary with 90 modern and 10 ancestral languages."

 

Word Builder from Houghton-Mifflin has spelling and phonics activities for grades 1 - 6. From 27 - 30 activities per grade level are listed, matched to textbook levels. Really good information here, of increasing difficulty to match progress through the school year.

 

Word of the Day from Merriam-Webster Online. Every day a new word: its definition, usage in a sentence, origins. The Archive covers the words for the previous two months. You'll want to bookmark this one.

 

 

Tell those boys up on the page top that we're ready for a fast pickup game of Snap the Whip anytime!

Snow Pups

 

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