18 Ways to Boost Literacy Activities Using Cool Online Tools

Check out this FUN variety of free online tools that can serve as icebreakers or as technology-rich reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language activities in the classroom. Students can use these sites to create multimedia-rich, interactive timelines from novels and stories or generate "nonlinguistic representations" for critical vocabulary words. Uncover thinking guides, graphic organizers, photobooks, moviemakers, realistic online journals, comic book creators, and more to put a little ZING in literacy!

According to the experts at AllKindsofMinds.org, "This [recoding] is where you change the packaging of information from the one in which it was delivered. So, if something is presented verbally, you make a drawing of it. If there is something visual to learn, you put it into words. Active learners understand the need to make some changes in what they are learning. They make tables, drawings, and bulleted lists. The very act of creating these recoded information packets helps consolidate the information in memory." Learn more. Source: Memories are Made of This: Schools as an Unending Test of Remembering and What to do About It, AllKindsofMinds.org

Free online tools can help students recode, or change the packaging of information from the one in which it is delivered. However, it is important that we set aside the use of "fun online tools" for helping students with the most "difficult to learn" concepts. As you know, the overuse of "fun online tools" can lead to a serious waste of valuable instructional time.

- Capzles | Create Multimedia-rich, Interactive Timelines

- Artpad | Open and Start Drawing

- EduCreations | Create a Lesson, Retell a Story, Add Pictures and Sound, Play it Back as a Movie!

- Sock Puppet | Select Puppets, Stage, Record Audio, and then Play

- PsychoPaint | Open and Start Drawing!

- Gliffy | Create Professional Online Diagrams for Sharing and Collaborating

- Big Huge Labs | Create Original Movie Posters to Advertise Short Stories, Novels, or Books

- Our Story | Create Gorgeous Media-Rich Collaborative Timelines

- ePals | Design Your ELA Unit and Connect with Classrooms Around the World

- Blabberize | Teach Point of View with Hilarious Talking Pictures

- Build Your Wild Self | Create Avatars Using Details from the Reading

- Penzu | The Most Realistic Online Journal I've Ever Seen

- Text2MindMap | Automatically Convert Any List of Words into a Mindmap

- ToonDoo | Create Cartoons for Activities Like Sequencing, Assessment of Comprehension, Vocabulary Study and More

- Comic Creator | Create Cartoons for Activities Like Sequencing, Assessment of Comprehension, Vocabulary Study and More

- Wordle | Take Vocabulary Study to a New Level

- ReadWriteThink | Find Tons of Grade-Specific Literacy Interactives Here

Many of these sites may or may not include links to advertisements or other material containing inappropriate content. As leaders and role models in the classroom, it is our responsibility to preview web sites prior to student access and to demonstrate leadership - online and off.

We do our best to screen all links and select only those we designate as appropriate. However, we do not operate or control the content found on such third-party sites, so we are not always aware when this content changes. If you discover a link that contains inappropriate information or a link that is broken, please contact us immediately.

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