This site looks awesome and is through Smithsonian. Each article offers a critical thinking question at the end. Each article has a lexile where you can change the level. Students and teachers can create accounts. Students choose articles they want to read. They can answer three well-written comprehension questions at the end and create a comment about the article as well. Teachers can assign articles and view quizzes. You can view quizzes by students or print them all. And it’s all free!
This is a very kid and teacher friendly site. It has tons of articles and you can create your own class page. You can add your students and they can log on and read articles and answer questions. It’s a social network as well and they can interact with other readers. You can download the articles and use them for your classroom. And it’s all free!
Another great site where teachers can assign articles with follow up questions. Good for test prep. Although there aren't many articles on this site.
This site offers the lexile of the article. And you can change the lexile to make it lower or higher.
Collection of nonfiction articles you can read online.
National Geographic for Kids
This website has articles online you can read for free.
The Why Files
Teachers and students can read articles online, or teachers can print them. They have a cool feature where you can delete text or images from the article directly on the site. And you can choose articles by standard.
Features and Quick Reads are articles that are printable.
Sports Illustrated for Kids
Students and teachers can read articles online or teachers can print articles directly from the site.
Time For Kids
This is a classroom magazine, but they publish online current event articles as well that are free.
NY Times Learning Blog Grades 6-12
This offers online articles and numerous teaching resources. They provide text to text where they pair two texts and students can compare them. They also have student opinion articles where students can read and then respond with their own opinions.
NY Times Infographics
The Washington Post Kids Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/
PBS News Hour Grades 7-12
This website has articles with videos and critical thinking questions at the end. These can be read online and printed.
Read online or printable.
BAM Activity: Health Related Articles for Kids
Read online or printable.
NFL for Kids
Sports articles for kids to read online.
Offers lots of facts and articles about numerous topics.
Printable Nonfiction Passages
For The Teachers
Lexile Leveled printable nonfiction articles.
Text Set of Articles about Nonfiction Issues
Could be used for making judgments and forming opinions, persuasive writing, or author’s purpose.
Kelly Gallagher’s Article of the Week.
Higher Level Nonfiction with instructed annotations and critical thinking questions.
Jim Burke’s Digital Text Book
Jim Burke shares his collection of digital texts and links online that he uses in his high school English class.
Best Info Graphics
This website offers the best info graphics.
Lastly, I used easel.ly to create the infographic above. It was really easy. Teachers could easily create infographics or even students could create them too. It's a free subscription for the basic version and then you can upgrade for $2 a month to have more options. You basically just choose a preloaded template and alter whatever you want.
While Americans are notoriously squeamish about their bodies in kid lit, there are still quite a few available. For one thing, they are a surefire way to get a few giggles. They also serve as lighthearted reminders that, let’s face it, we all do it, we all go through it, or we all have one (well, maybe not). But is there more to this kind of story than burps and bottoms?
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi has been a wildly popular body humor picture book for decades. Colorful illustrations quite literally show how a variety of animals and people go potty, and it’s no wonder that generations of parents have turned to this book when introducing their little ones to potty-training. The author uses descriptive and comparative writing to explain to young readers that everyone indeed poops:
A one-hump camel makes a one-hump poop
And a two-hump camel makes a two-hump poop
Another fun picture book with body humor is Parts by Tedd Arnold. This is an adorable story which uses funny rhyme and cartoonish pictures to have a bit of fun with a child’s self-discovery. Throughout the book, a young boy notices to his horror that things are happening to his body, and he imagines the worst. A few hairs in his comb mean he’s going bald; belly button lint is his stuffing falling out. His parents put his mind at ease by explaining that what he’s finding is normal.
My hair, my skin, and everything-
There’s nothing I should fear?
So all of me is normal. Whew!
That’s really good to hear!
Then tell me, what’s this yellow stuff
I got out of my ear?
What’s great about this story, and so many other picture books with body humor, is that it serves as a sort of interface between parent and child to talk about their bodies. Adding a bit of comedy to what otherwise might be an uncomfortable discussion helps everyone relax.
Other times, it’s just about having a bit of fun with bodily functions. Walter the Farting Dog is a series by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray that follows a dog named Walter who, despite a flatulence problem, is loved unconditionally by his owners and even gets to save the day. While some adults may cringe while reading about a gassy canine, it has children laughing out loud and enjoying reading.
For today's Mondays with Mira, I’ll be reviewing Where’s My Tushy? written by Deborah Aronson and illustrated by Ivica Stevanovic, a comical tale about tushies who up and leave town and whose owners are left, well, tushiless.
I teach struggling readers, so I spend a lot of time with chapter books. Because they play such an important role in creating and building readers, I’ve realized they can’t just be about anything. These books really have to have something special that has the power to transform a reader. They have to have a really strong concept to hook a nonreader or struggling reader.
So as a writer of chapter books, how do we write something that will be special enough or powerful enough for these young readers?
It all comes down to two simple things: reading and writing.
What Have You Read Lately?
Obviously, if you want to write a chapter book you need to read a chapter book (or two or three or a hundred) first. Seriously. You should read at least 100. And not just 100 counting the ones you read when you were in 5th grade. Classics are great. And they are a must. But, those aren’t the books that are being published today. You need to read at least 100 books from the last 0-5 years. And not because you are going to write to a trend, but if you are going to be serious about writing books that will currently sell, you have to be aware of what is currently selling.
Also, by reading, you will learn and discover so much about the craft of writing. You will find authors you love and styles of writing you love and will want to imitate or aspire to write like. Plus, you will see what’s out there and by simply reading, new chapter book ideas will start sparking in your head!
What Have You Written Lately?
Obviously, to have a book published, you need to actually write the book first, right? (Duh.) But before you even write, how much time have you spent generating ideas? For the past several years, Tara Lazar has been hosting PiBoIdMo, where you dedicate an entire month to generating Picture Book Ideas. The goal is to generate at least 30 ideas in 30 days. But why stop there? Many people that participate, end up generating 50-100 ideas. Are all of these ideas good? No! Of course not. Most of them will actually be terrible! But that’s the point.
Robert McKee, author of Story, said:
No matter our talent, we all know in the midnight of our souls that 90 percent of what we do is less than our best. If, however, research inspires a pace of ten to one, even twenty to one, and if you then make brilliant choices to find that 10 percent of excellence and burn the rest, every scene will fascinate and the world will sit in awe of your genius.
So in order to get at least one good idea, you need to generate at least 9 bad ones. To get 10 good ideas, you need to generate at least 90 bad ones! So if you only think up one idea, what are the odds that it’s going to be an amazing one? I’d say the odds are pretty slim.
Kate Messner takes it even one step further with her post on Picture Book Math. The same concept could be applied to Chapter Books.
So don’t limit yourself. If you are serious about writing (specifically chapter books) do what it takes to get those really fantastic concepts that are going to hook those young readers. (Why spend years on one idea that really isn’t that great of a concept and won’t inspire young readers to read, because it’s lacking a hook?) Read as much as you can! Generate many, many concepts and ideas before committing to only one.
And then of course write, revise, and repeat. We owe it to the children we want reading our books.
Every now and then you get really smitten by a book. This one did it for me because of it's wonderful language and it's exquisite spirit. It also shows why some picture book writers might really be chapter book or early middle grade writers and why diversity is so important. It's sweet and short and well worth a watch. And as an added bonus honoring our chapter book course starting next week, here is the link for the webinar that Hillary and I made last week (we usually don't do this) but it's about good writing, structure and why writing novels for ages 6-10 might be easier than you think. http://www.anymeeting.com/KidsBooks/E151DD808848
FYI Our magical course on writing much needed chapter books and early middle grades starts next Monday January 12th right here http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/the-chapter-book-alchemist.html It gets rave reviews as you write a wonderful novel in 5 weeks. Yep it's true. Many folks wrote their novels during that time and one person wrote two and got an agent!! Mind blogging hey!! This course comes with an in-course contest with 10 Golden Tickets to submit to an agent or editor and also has payment plans. Here's the link again in case you're a) curios b) think it's time to expand you career options c) Want to have an amazing time http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/the-chapter-book-alchemist.html
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays feature funny Aussie author Sharon Giltrow sharing awesome Aussie books.
And 5th Mondays will feature Libyan American author Koloud Tarapolsi sharing wonderful diverse books.