The Stories You Hear
No doubt, children today are most certainly “tuned in and plugged in.” The world they were born into has always had computers, compact discs, and DVDs. I can remember how exciting it was in the “old days” when classrooms had listening centers (with audio tapes) for children to utilize.
Teachers strive to meet the different learning styles of our students … some are visual learners, some kinesthetic and others auditory. For our auditory learners, finding ways to share and help them develop an appreciation of good literature can often prove challenging. Luckily, in cyberspace, there are some Web sites which can meet the needs of these (and all types) of learners.
The Screen Actors Guild site, you will find actors and actress who are guild members reading popular children’s stories. Bradley Whitford (of the West Wing) reads Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault are read by husband and wife duo Bonnie Bartlett and William Daniels (St. Elsewhere). Teen sensation Haylie Duff gives her take on Romeow and Drooliet by Nina Laden. The presentation includes both the celebrity reading and illustrations from the text. Story text can be turned on or off. Both on-line and downloadable activity guides are available. Currently, around 20 stories are offered for children to access.
Highlights Magazine, that staple from our youth, features Story Soup at Eight stories rotate periodically and, with the narration, include onscreen text, colorful illustrations and background music.
Next, you may want to check out the Mighty Book site for beginning readers. Simple stories are told with animation, onscreen text where each word is highlighted as it is being read, and a simple stop sign icon for children to use when they wish to pause the story.
The Reading is Fundamental organization also presents read along stories and songs (some in Spanish) for students. The stories are well animated and narrated and include highlighting of the word being read.
Last, make a stop at PBS’s Between the Lions. Children can choose from a variety of stories, which are animated and read with great energy and enthusiasm.
So, try curling up with your computer for your next story session! I wish you all happy reading … and happy listening!