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I love to read.  Books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, you name it.  Even when I worked as a math teacher, I still found ways to bring content related reading material into my classroom.  To me, instilling a love of reading is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to our students.

Now that I work with technology every day, I've found even more ways to create passionate readers.  Here are four of my favorites:

Thought 1: Connect with other readers online.


Scholastic has created a new community for student readers that you have to check out.  Called The Stacks, it's a student-friendly community where kids can explore new books, play book-related games, participate in polls, leave comments, and ask questions on books they're reading.

Thought 2: Read electronic books.

There are tons of sites out there where you can find electronic versions of books.  I often use the International Children's Digital Library to find interesting books to read online.  On the site, hundreds of public domain books have been digitized (pictures too!) and categorized for your reading enjoyment.  My students love browsing through the books and reading them online.  There's even a great collection of books in other languages including Hebrew, Russian, Chinese and more.

Thought 3: Listen to audio books.

I often have students who enjoy listening to stories, but struggle to read independently.  Audio books open up a world of literature to them and provide motivation for them to read independently.  We have a set of iPods in our school that teachers can check out and we've preloaded them with several audio books from our school reading lists.  You can purchase audio books from the iTunes store to listen to on your computer and download onto an iPod, but there are also several free sources of Audio Books.  In a previous post, I mentioned the Florida Educational Technology Clearninghouse's site called Lit2Go as a probably my favorite source of audio books for students. You might also want to check out TellTale Weekly and Librivox for an even wider selection of audio books.

Thought 4: Discover new books.

If helping students pick books to read is a challenge, you'll find lots of help with the Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard. My favorite feature is the ability to find similar books.  Armed with the knowledge of a book your students like, you can discover other books that are related and even select the grade level range for the search.  What an easy way to help students keep reading!

What are your favorite tech tools for reading?  Share them with us!


Ben Bederson

Nice suggestions - and thank you for the pointer to the International Children's Digital Library. As it's technology directory, I wanted to let you know that the ICDL (www.childrenslibrary.org) actually has *thousands* of books, and about half of them are current (not in the public domain). There is even an iPhone version of the library. Anyway, thanks again.

- Ben

Michelle Bourgeois


I need to thank *you* and the rest of the team for putting together such a wonderful site! One of my favorite parts of the site is the simple, kid-friendly search tools to help students select a book to read. The visually-enhanced buttons make it easy for even the youngest readers to find a book that matches their interest and reading level.

The site has also been a life-saver when we've enrolled students who come to us from other countries and do not speak English as a primary language. What a wonderful treat it is for them to be able to enjoy classroom free-reading time browsing books that are written in their native language.

I hadn't yet seen the iPhone and iPod version, but am excitedly trying it out this weekend. It's yet another great way to get literature into the hands of my students.


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tutors "Supporting Teachers Use of Technology" are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.