LA Times, The Future of Reading

The Los Angeles Times has a series today on the future of reading. This may be of great interest to my middle school students! There is an article here, a slideshow timeline of the history of reading devices, a podcast series on the future of reading, and a companion video is below.

Interesting…and what does this mean for our schools? Nothing until we have money? Or are there ways we can make reading more engaging for free using these sites? Scribd.com was one of the websites mentioned in the LA Times article, and it’s a treasure trove of information and reading materials, some creative, some nonfiction. For 7th grade, one of the biggest items tested is the ability of students to navigate informational documents, and Scribd has how-to manuals, government documents…tons of stuff that will save me time! I was also exploring Shelfari today via the ECNing. Shelfari a social networking books site, similar to Goodreads mentioned by the LA Times. Wow, good thing it’s summer and I have time to absorb…

Readability-wow!

I read about this great website from a recent post by David Pogue of the New York Times. It’s called Readbility. If you have ever tried to read a webpage that is distracting, Readability allows you add a link to your browser’s toolbar. Go to the webpage, click the link, and it’s readable! When I have time I’ll add it to all my student computers. I’ve already added it to mine.

Read the Words

If you have students who are audio learners, Read the Words will allow you to type something, upload a document, or point to a webpage that an avatar will read aloud. Students can use this to help proofread their own work, to help them with vocabulary, to help them read stories. Students may choose both an avatar to read, and the voice of the avatar.  Here’s a sample of an avatar reading text I pasted in:

(Text from Awesome Stories)

There are teaching ideas here: http://www.readthewords.com/TestTeachers.aspx

You can type in 3 recordings for free (and I assume delete them and create 3 more). It’s 19.99 a year to be able to create, save and embed 25 files, and 34.99 to create, save and embed 100 files. Worth it if you’ll use it a lot.

And in my wandering for ideas, this slide show came up… From Erik Langhorst about using mp3s in the classroom. Even if your school won’t allow iPods, iTouches, mp3 players in the classroom, you could always post the audio file on your blog or wiki. Great ideas here for helping students study!