Monthly Archives: January 2014

LA Times Reports Spanish-Language eBooks are on the Rise

Quite a few years ago, finding a book in another language besides English in this country would have been very challenging and pricey!  But now, since technology has taken a step into the world of literature, finding books in other tongues is rather easy.  Spanish is the leader in all of this–with more than 38 million speakers in America.  Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, have made accessing Spanish literature so much more streamlined.

The rapidly growing market has opened up entirely new divisions for book readers and publishers alike.  Allowing for the free flow between English and Spanish has given bilingual readers freedom to choose what they’d like to read in double the field.  It will be interesting to see what this will mean in the future in terms of mass productions of multilingual versions of eBooks.

I know many other communities in the nation would love to have this option.  For example, my family speaks Turkish and I go to the local library and pick up Turkish books every now and then for my parents and myself, but this certainly has its limits.  I am lucky enough to have any options (since there is a rather large Turkish community in the city), but there are only so many books that we haven’t read already.  Having an option for eBooks would be wonderful because it would open up so many choices for us.  I suppose only time will tell if this trend will seep into other languages as well…

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Word Mover

Anyone that appreciates the written word, especially poetry, can attest to the fact that it is sometimes, if not most of the time, very challenging to put together a piece that is not only cohesive and mechanically well written but also beautiful and representative.  But, now the process of writing poetry could not become any easier–with the help of the app “Word Mover.”

Word Mover simplifies the act of composing a poem.  The app has eight “canvas backgrounds” to illustrate their writing, each of which comeS with a word bank ready to use.  All the user has to do is drag the words over to compile their lines for the poems.  If there is a specific word that is not available in the word bank, s/he can add them manually.

From an educational stance, this can widen the students’ eyes to various forms of literature.  From my own personal experiences, poetry seems to be one of the more difficult forms of writing to comprehend for young readers.  They struggle with the idea of poetry and build up mental barriers before they even approach the work.  An app like Word Mover may be able to break those walls down and show them the simple facets of poetry.  Of course, this doesn’t make every child an Emily Dickinson or Edgar Allan Poe, but it adds an interesting element.  What exactly is considered poetry?

What do you think of this app?  Is it something that could open up another facet of literature for students?  Or is it turning a form of art into a game of mad libs?

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January 13, 2014 · 11:45 am

NewsELA

Our district, like many across the state, is preparing for the new standardized test that is going to rule and dictate how we teach and what we teach.  PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) is the newest exam that is being wheeled out for the following school year, and it has many (if not all!) of us going through a loop trying to figure it all out.

What is most drastic about PARCC is that it now effects all subjects,whereas, the HSPA exam tended to focus on just English and Math classes.  Also, students will be expected now more than ever before to truly understand how to comprehend and decipher nonfiction information in its many forms:  articles, periodicals, maps, photographs, charts, etc…  This brings a HUGE shift in what education needs to do and teachers and administrators are planning on making the necessary adjustments to prepare our students for what they are up against.

With this, my role in the school–as the librarian–has drastically shifted.  I am happily welcoming more and more staff members with their various questions and inquiries for information and information sources.  What I am finding to be very successful in my school is NewsELA.com.  Teachers are struggling with finding news articles that their students (of varying reading levels) will be able to engage and discuss.  NewsELA is wonderful in that not only does it provide current events articles of various subjects, it allows the teacher to ‘level’ the reading so that they can have their stronger and weaker students all understanding the same piece.  And even more, many of the articles come with ready-made quizzes (and answer keys!) that are displayed alongside the articles.  Upon presentation of this resource, I have heard amazing feedback!  The teachers are truly happy to have an easy-to-use website that provides valuable resources for their classes.

Resources like NewsELA help alleviate the stress and struggle behind preparing for the various changes and shifts in education.  PARCC is just one of many hurdles that we all have to jump in education.

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January 9, 2014 · 2:42 pm