Category Archives: News Sites

Children Read but not often enough

A report recently came out that states that children are spending less time reading for pleasure than decades ago.  This is leading to large gaps in proficiency.  Here are some of the facts:

  • The percentage of 9-year-old children who read for pleasure once or more a week dropped from 81% in 1984 to 76% in 2013.
  • 1/3 of 13-year-olds and 1/2 of 17-year-olds read for pleasure less than twice a year.
  • About 1/3 of fourth grade students are “proficient” in reading and another 1/3 scored below “basic” reading skills.

Now the report is not taking into account stories that are read online or on social media, but still this is quite shocking.   The pace is growing faster every year with more and more students not reading for pleasure.  However when they are reading, they are reading for a long period of time, but  the fact that their reading for pleasure is dropping worries me.  I know students are reading more and more in school each year, but the they are reading there for information. The book is used for a reading log assignment they are reading more to answer the are being asked to identify for the book (ex. characters traits, central problem, resolution etc)  They are not reading simply because they want to read the story.

I have witnessed first hand the drop in pleasure reading for older students.  Most of my older students come looking for the most popular books (Fault in Our Stars, Maze Runner, Divergent) all of which are movies or becoming movies.  And I gather that they are choosing those books simply because they are the most popular.  A few students I have truly test me (daily).  I am always trying to find books to give them that I think they would like (one student I think might read every book I have in my library).  I have resorted to giving them books from my own personal collection.  These students (the voracious readers) are becoming an anomaly simply because they do read so much and all for pleasure.

I am not sure how to combat this issue. I have taken seminars and attended workshops and spoke with colleagues and read books on trying to reach those older YA readers.  And every trick I try I am not seeing the results I would like.  These students are generation where technology is king and computer games are way more interesting than a book.  This is a constant struggle for all language arts teachers and librarians.  How to get the students to read for pleasure. How to get them to see past the screen and to the page.  How to show them that reading for the 30 minutes each day will have a greater impact on their lives in general than staring at a computer screen for the same amount of time (unless they are reading on that screen than that is OK). But I hope that someday I will crack the code and find the answer to this problem.

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Filed under education, Language Arts, News Sites, Reading

What Google Did to Email

I came across this story on CNN’s website and I thought that I would share with fellow members and readers.  The last one is definitely my favorite.  Thanks Google and gmail for making my life a little simpler.

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Filed under News Sites, Social Networking, Technology

Apps for Summer Learning (Part 2.)

The clock is ticking…but the learning doesn’t have to stop for the summer. Here are some great apps to keep kids motivated during the summer. We will look at apps concerning social studies this post.

url Learn the World  for iOs $1.99
Take a trip around the world without ever boarding a plane. This app allows users to expand their knowledge of world geography through animated activities.  Young learners and even the most curious adult will learn world geography, country names, country capitals, country currency, country presidents,  national facts and nation history.  The multiple-choice quizzes  will allow the user to earn points to collect country flags. There five interactive activities proven to enhance your geographic knowledge are. This is great app to explore and learn about the world.


Geo DriveGeography Drive USA  for iOS, Nook and Kindle $3.99
Jump in the driver’s seat and cruise across the country in fact-packed game turning standard textbook geography into the ultimate road trip. Learn about the 50 states by answering questions in a highly addictive game to unlock gas stations, earn bonus money to upgrade your ride, and jump on airplanes, all to score trophies and move around the country.  Learn about national parks, rivers, state shapes, capitals and nicknames, the meaning behind the state flags, and important landmarks and key historical facts. The more you know, the further you’ll go in the all-out, cross-country adventure game designed to fuel your drive to learn.

urlMyCongress  for iOS  Free
MyCongress is a portal to detailed information about your elected U.S. Congressional officials. Track their news, video and Twitter feeds. Look up their official Open Congress profile or contact them directly. MyCongress helps you get in touch with your government.


urlDisney American Presidents for iOS $3.99
Users are invited to look through “The Unofficial Oval Office Scrapbook” with each spread devoted to a president and features a portrait, their birth (and in some in cases death) dates, a signature and awards received. Also included are some little-known facts about each president; as well as videos, pop-up fact bubbles, and sidebar information like  presidential number, term(s) served, corresponding historical era, party, vice president(s), and birth state.


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Filed under apps, News Sites, Nonfiction reading, Technology

Extra Extra! Read All About It!

We as educators are looking for ways to integrate more nonfiction reading into core subjects. Our trickiest part though, is making sure that the selections also entertain.  That is where the site is the perfect introduction to nonfiction reading.  It is a news site that is written with kids in mind, since some of the articles are by kids.  The DOGO sites were developed to empower kids to engage with digital media in a safe manner that is also fun.  It is also provides up-to-date topics of study with reports and newspaper style writing.   DOGO itself means young or small in Swahili, but this is site is anything but small.  With the focus on current events, some articles are written not by adults but by the kids themselves who will be reading and using the articles for school.

Created in 2009, as a safe place for grade school level students to find current event articles.  As the word spread the thousands of teachers and students are using the DOGO media sites both in and outside of the classroom.             

There are three major DOGO media sites, DOGOnews, DOGObooks, DOGOmovies. Each of these sites is focuses on creating engaging content for students to actively participate in.  This a great site to educators of all areas who are looking to promote nonfiction reading.


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Filed under News Sites, Nonfiction reading