Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grrrrrrrr...Learning To Read With The Bear

In a November 3, 2011 post, I Like "Reading Bear" Larry Ferlazzo of Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day talked about a relatively new site that teaches reading through the use of phonics.  At the site introduction this is what the originators have to say:

Reading Bear, a project of WatchKnowLearn.org, is the first free program online to teach beginning readers vocabulary and concepts while systematically introducing all the main phonetic patterns of written English, all using innovative rich media. We have launched with 14 presentations and plan to increase the number to about 50. In the end, well over 1,200 items of vocabulary will be given the Reading Bear treatment.

I began exploring the site by clicking on the large orange Getting Started button.  At the next page users are greeted with the following video:

Beneath the video are informative categories as follows: 
General Information about Reading Bear, How to Get the Most from Reading Bear, The Reading Bear Software, Videos of the Presentations and The Interludes.

Each of the seven presentation modes for the phonic being taught run about fifteen minutes in length. 
It is recommended that the first three be done in order using the last four as methods of practice and review.  After a presentation there is an option of taking a quiz.  After viewing five presentations grouped together there is additional review which changes each time selected.

Sound It Out Slowly goes like this:
Parts of each word are sounded out at two different speeds enabling the user to adjust and become familiar with those sounds.  As the letters or combinations of letters are read they are highlighted, read as a whole, the user is invited to say the word, it is read again and illustrated with a picture and lastly it is used in a sentence.  The sentence will be repeated as a whole, each word being underlined as it is read, read with an illustration and the single word is read aloud again.  If you wish to hear the pronunciation of any word in the sentence, just select it.

When navigating during a presentation use the keys shown at the bottom left.  Individual presentations by default are shown as a video but by clicking on the auto button in the lower right it becomes a slide show using the navigation keys to move in the desired direction.  The HD button is also on by default.  If the presentation is loading slowly, turn this off.

At the top of the viewing screen is a series of As increasing in size.  This allows for the presentation to enlarge or become smaller.  By clicking on the gear icon settings such as always show video of word spoken, always use the same font and color, pause and ask me to say the words, show in random order and enable interludes can be used or not.

Interludes are videos, usually grouped by six, of music and some of the best Western art.  Rest assured that the paintings are "kid-friendly" except for the Michelangelo Creation of Adam.  These are placed between presentations with the intent of refreshing the user's attention.  Their length is about fifteen seconds.

This site is free but there are perks to registering.  For registration enter in an email address, password and password hint.  When your registration confirmation is received you can keep track of content viewed, presentations mastered and quiz results.

Larry Sanger, co-founder and the original organizer of Wikipedia, imagined this site, created the software and gathered most of the content.  He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Reading Bear.

Credit goes to Shutterstock.com for images and many of the videos at Reading Bear.

Did you hear that clanking click?  That would be me adding Reading Bear into my virtual toolbox to use with my students.

No comments:

Post a Comment