For this week’s blog post we were asked to explore a new tool or resource that could be useful in a classroom setting. I decided to look into a website called Unite for Literacy. Unite for Literacy is a website that has many storybooks available to teachers, parents, and anyone who has access to a computer and the internet. All these books are free of charge and there are hundreds of books to choose from, with varying categories such as animals, earth, friendships, communities, families, health, technology, migrant education program, and many more; this website has something for all learning subjects and children’s interests!
The organization recognizes that availability to multiple genres of books is scarce in school and at homes, and often these books do not recognize the variety of languages that we see throughout the world. The picture below shows both the narration languages for all the books on the website.
The number of narration languages offered through this program is astonishing, however, the written languages do not have near as many options. When it comes to the written languages you have the choice between English and Spanish, which is good when you are trying to get kids familiar with one of those languages, but it makes it very hard to allow children from all over the world have access to read and listen to their own languages. This is the one downfall I have pulled out from this website.
This website not only enhances reading and listening to many households and classrooms but also cuts back the use of paper and other resources that we take from the environment to make millions of children’s books. When looking at this website through a technology lens using the SAMR model I would consider this resource falls under the Augmentation step. The Augmentation step is when the technology tool acts as a substitute, with functional improvement. Instead of paper books, children of all ages, and languages are able to listen and follow along to a book without having an adult read to them, allowing for more young readers! I work at a daycare for the summer and all too often I see young children aimlessly flipping through pages of a storybook not retaining any education or knowledge that book is giving to the young reader. If these young children had access to a website such as Unite for Literacy they would be able to sit down with the iPad or Laptop and listen to a story and learn! I think children of all ages would love reading a lot more if they had resources to help them understand the story.
Teachers would be able to use this resource in the classroom, when kids finish their assignments early and need to wait for the rest of the class, looking for storybooks to help with the lesson being taught, allow for a variety of languages and different genres for a book, and if the teacher is busy they could put a story up on the smartboard and just listen without having to sit down with their class and read it!
Overall I think this is a great resource for many parents and teachers and reaches way farther than just the common English books we often see in libraries. Easily accessed books that are free will allow for more young readers in our communities! For more information about the website check out this page here that gives a quick summary of Unite for Literacy. If you still do not believe how great this website is, check out this review that can be found here.