Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Plug for a Product

When I was in the public library picking up my copy of The Sea of Monsters on interlibrary loan, the librarian said she was sending me a link to a site that our library group was thinking of subscribing to. It is a Scholastic product called Bookflix. I looked, and it is good. The site is designed for grades PreK-3. It is thematically organized by topic, but each section is also thematically organized. Lesson plans are included. In Texas, at least, students are introduced to "triplets" in reading--a fiction piece, non-fiction, and a visual. (I realize I am talking about middle school and up.) The example I looked at was about rain. The first item is a reading with all the illustrations of Karen Hesse's picture book, Come On, Rain! As the story, with appropriate background music, is read, the individual words being read are highlighted on the page. Like all of Karen Hesse's work that I have read, this book is actually "literature." The nonfiction piece is by Pam Rosenberg--an information book with great photographs called Rainy Weather Days. As with the first selection, the young reader may read by himself or with help, but vocabulary words are highlighted and defined. The second selection, however, does not highlight the words as they are being read. There are "Puzzler" activities which connect the two pieces, information about the author of the picture book, and directions to websites for further exploration of information about rain.

This appears to be a quality product which would be a great addition to community resources, both for in-school use, for home use by students, and for homeschoolers as part of curriculum. Anyone thinking of using it will need to look carefully at the reading level on the lesson plans and preview the selections and activities in order to make sure of the appropriateness of particular selections for the abilities of the particular student. The selections above were listed as being for ages 4-8, but the first reading was almost 12 minutes, rather long for a 4-5 year old. However, I think that when used properly, this resource would be a worthwhile tool for getting students where they need to go and for fostering a love of reading good books and exploring for information.

1 comment:

Deb said...

I love Rick Riordan's series. I just read the 3rd one -The Titan's Curse and am looking forward to #4 which is due out this month. I just finished my unit on ancient Greece which included my reading Rosemary Sutcliff's adaptation of The Odyssey to my 6th graders. (They LOVED this!) Several of them are now reading Riordan's books.