With the growing popularity of Kindles, Nooks, and iPads, I'm beginning to wonder whether or not I'm missing out on the digital world of ebooks. Up to this point, I've resisted the urge to invest in one of these devices. I still love the feeling of a real book in my hands; paper, glue, stitching, and all. But, there is a Web site that is beginning to spark my interest in digital books.
A few months ago, I was introduced to One More Story, an online library of children's literature. Without over the top animation or lots bells and whistles, One More Story makes reading fun and exciting for kids. Through a simple point and click process, teachers, students, and parents can choose a book, admire the illustrations, and listen to the narration of the story as the book is read aloud.
Since many of us are using interactive whiteboards in our classrooms, we have the tools to project picture books up on a large screen, making the image big enough so that all of our students can see the illustrations and the text clearly. Not just the first few rows of students sitting right by our feet!
This site can be used for digital read-alouds, projected to the whole class or used in small groups. It can also be used to help build reading skills for students on an individual basis. There is even a "Teacher Place" where you can assign books to your students and check in on what they have been reading.
The One More Story Library consists of 60 high quality children's books — even some Caldecott Medal winners. The complete list of books is pretty impressive. With so many students reading at different levels across grades, I look forward to seeing more books added to the shelves over time.
Take a Look . . . And Listen!
The site is beautifully organized and easy to use. Click on the colored tabs and pick a book. As the narrator reads, words are individually highlighted in the text box at the bottom of the screen. Each story is professionally narrated and original music has been written for each book. Take a look at the first three pages of Owl Babies, as I access the library from my laptop in the video below. Listen carefully and you'll hear the sweet hoots of the baby owls. How great is this for our English language learners who are struggling to build background in order to make sense of the stories they read?!
I Can Read It
This mode makes it possible for a child to read a book at their own pace without narration. If students get stuck on a tricky word, they can click on that word and hear it spoken by the narrator. See this in action as I demonstrate how this works with, I Love You, Blue Kangaroo. (Please note: You may notice that there is punctuation missing from the sentence on page 2. I've contacted the good people at One More Story, and they are working on putting a period at the end of that sentence!!)
Ok, so I admit it . . . I'm hooked. I see an iPad in my future. Maybe I could get used to flipping the pages on a screen rather than feeling the paper on my fingertips. Are you interested in a free week-long trial of One More Story? It's worth checking out. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know that you're ready to explore their online library. Be sure to tell them that Danielle from Top Teaching sent you. ;)
I hope you take advantage of their offer. This is an excellent resource to have on hand, especially if you use a Promethean board, SMART Board, or laptop lab. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Happy Online Reading!