Quote of the Month

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

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Literacy Lure-Comics

Making the 2010 Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning by the AASL, American Association of School Librarians, under the Media Sharing heading, Standards for the 21st-Century Learner, 2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use and assess, 3.3.4 Create products that apply to authentic, real-world context and 4.1.8 Use creative and artistic formats to express personal learning, is a web 2.0 application titled Professor Garfield which I initially found through the TOON Books Website.

Upon following the link users will immediately be able to view a video explaining the site, its value to promoting literacy.  From that screen click the button TOONS BOOKS WEBSITE.  (Two other button options are:  BENNY & PENNY BLOG and TOON BOOKS BLOG.)  The next page is full of options and opportunities.

From the About tab is an article explaining, even further than the introductory video, the methods and purpose of TOON Books. Here is a small excerpt:

TOON Books are the first high-quality comics designed for children ages four and up. Each book in the collection is just right for reading to the youngest child but perhaps more remarkable: this is the first collection ever designed to offer newly-emerging readers comics they can read themselves. Each TOON book has been vetted by educators to ensure that the language and the narratives will nurture young minds. Our books feature original stories and characters created by veteran children’s book authors, renowned cartoonists and new talents, all applying their extraordinary skills to fascinate young children with clearly told tales that will welcome them to the magic of reading.

From the first publication date in early 2008 up to 2012, these books have garnered the highest praise.  Of the seventeen titles, two of which are new, eight have found their way to our shelves; that is when they are not checked out.  They have been written and illustrated by some of the best in the field. Our goal through grant writing is to have at least three of each by the year end.

The TOON Books at the home page are divided into three groups:  Level One, Grades K-1, First Comics for Brand-New Readers, Level Two, Grades 1-2, Easy-To-Read Comics for Emerging Readers and Level Three, Grades 2-3, Chapter-Book Comics for Advanced Beginners.  For each of the levels beneath all the book covers on display (clicking on a cover gives more in depth information about the title) lexile, guided reading and reading recovery values are shown with specifics listed about content in the comics.

By selecting the button in the center of the home page header, TOON IN THE CLASSROOM, users can access the following:  Free Teachers' Resources, Free TOON Online Readers, Free CarTOON Maker, Readers Theater, Reading lists and More Free Classroom Tools.

Included in the Free Teachers' Resources are PDF files for each of the titles.

Eleven of the titles are part of the Free TOON Online Reader section.  Each reader shows the book in its entirety with the user clicking to turn the pages.  For each of them there is an option for the author/illustrator to read the words aloud.  As the words are read the text is circled. 

The Free CarTOON Make allows users to make a three-panel comic strip or design their own comic from the TOON Book characters.

Nine of the titles are part of the option of designing a comic from one of the TOON Book characters.  Users can add characters, speech bubbles, text, and backgrounds.  The objects can be flipped or sized.  Anything added can be deleted.  To erase the screen simply click Start Over.  A completed TOON can be emailed, saved to your computer or printed.

As you can see by the top of the screen on the second image inset (the first is my goofy cartoon from the TOON Book, Luke on the Loose) the Professor Garfield application has numerous other choices Comics Lab, Reading Ring, Art-Bot, Music Bot, Transport, G-Cubed, Comics Lab Extreme, Sparktop.org, KB Kids, Sleep Center and Brain Busters.  Anyone (believe me I should know) could spend hours here learning and expanding their creativity.

Currently the Readers Theater hosts Luke on the LooseReadings lists and More Free Classroom Tools provide loads of extras; guides, lessons and strategies. 

Underneath the TOON IN THE CLASSROOM button is FUN FOR KIDS!  Links to accessing the Cartoon Maker, Kids' Cartoon Gallery, Popsicle Puppets and Cartoon Lessons is here as well as a connection to the TOON Book Reader (in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.)

Students can not only enjoy reading the TOON Book titles but expand their experience at this site using top-notch applications.  My students love using this site; who wouldn't?

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