Thursday, March 5, 2009

Riffing on RIF

I'm working on creating a magazine for people to take away from our Blog Literacy Event next week: Share a Story - Shape a Future, the Magazine! Terry, from The Reading Tub and Scrub-A-Dub-Tub blog, has gathered ideas from the kidlitosphere and beyond, which I've been turning into a pdf. It will have lots of resources for anyone interested in literacy. While I've been working on it, I've discovered so many fascinating and useful sites.

One I found today delighted me so much, I couldn't wait to share it with you. Here's what I found at Reading is Fundamental (RIF).

Reading is Fundamental CEO, Carol H Rasco, blogs at Rasco from RIF. On her blog, I found a reference to RIF's Read Along Stories and Songs. Carol said RIF get calls from parents who find the read along stories help them to feel more comfortable about reading aloud.

The stories, located in RIF's Reading Planet, have static pictures, perhaps a little music, and the words are under the pictures with a highlight to show the word currently being read aloud. The narrator earned my Book Chook seal of approval when I read along with Micetro Mozart. I found stories and songs in Spanish, too - be sure to check out Los Elefantes.

But being a bit of a Karaoke Kween, I admit my favourite fun was reading and singing Headin' South with a country and western style Goose. The animation that accompanies this song is bright and colourful. It reminds me of a higher tech version of those Mickey Mouse Club songs we used to sing, that had a bouncy white ball over the words. (I always wanted to be a Mouseketeer like Annette when I grew up. Instead, I grew into a Book Chook!)

I like these stories as yet another method for parents to add to their literacy bag of tricks. But there are so many more things to do in Reading Planet. There's a Game Station, contests, stories for kids to print and illustrate themselves - and a wonderful calendar with reading and writing activities for every day of the month. I loved the idea of encouraging kids to write a poem inspired by a painting, and was impressed by the quality of submitted entries.

Once my inner child had finished playing, I explored the resources for grown-ups. There are free audio books and free activity books to use with your kids, and a wealth of other literacy resources. I explored the articles and was truly impressed - they are well-written and easy-to-read, crammed with usable tips.

I loved RIF, and hope you will too.

(Photo credit, http://www.flickr.com/photos/tedsblog/43433812/ )

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