Not Your Grandma’s Textbook

Think about it.  If you’re a Gen X-er (like us), a reading assignment used to mean cracking open a dusty old teacher-issued textbook, careful not to rip the cover you’d crafted from a brown paper shopping bag. If you didn’t understand what you were reading, too bad.  You read the text, and there was nothing you could do if just didn’t get it.   

Just as books, magazines, and newspapers have evolved over the years, so have the ways our students interact with and take in text. Reading articles, novels, and textbooks is no longer limited to what is stored in the school bookroom.  As teachers, we now have access to digital tools that can completely transform the way our students read and access information. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • MERCURY READER: Mercury Reader is the perfect compliment to reading instruction.  This Chrome extension literally removes ads and distractions from online content, leaving only text and images for a beautiful reading on any site. Bye, bye clickbait! 
  • ANNOUNCIFY: Announcify is a free text-to-speech application that is available as a Chrome extension. Announcify will read aloud any webpage in your browser with a single click.  Bonus: Announcify can also translate across languages- an A+ resource for our ELLs 🙂
  • NEWSELA: Newsela supercharges reading engagement and learning in every subject by providing students with customized reading experiences at their current reading level. Easy peasy differentiation that would make Gerry Brooks proud! 
  • COMMON LIT: CommonLit empowers teachers by providing a variety of leveled passages for students centered around common themes or topics, plus adaptive tools to completely tailor their reading experiences. Paired texts, guided reading, and annotation, Oh My!

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