Tremor 3 Read children's stories online Explore two different "story" websites for children or young adults. Describe each website. Make some comparisons between the two websites. For example

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Tremor 6.3 - Read children's stories online

Explore two different "story" websites for children or young adults. Describe each website. Make some comparisons between the two websites. For example, compare how the stories are displayed on the screen. Do the sites have special features? How effective are online stories? Share your reading experience. How does the traditional book and online reading experience compare? Be sure to include the title, URL, description, and discussion of each resource.

After reading through the many websites that offer eBooks, I began to notice three distinct differences between how the books are delivered: text/audio, animations, and “the look.” The eBooks that I previewed either have the story delivered by text only, audio only, or text and audio both. Some of the eBooks have animated pictures, while others have static, or still, pictures. Finally, some of these eBooks are delivered in a way that makes them simply look like another webpage, while some are like a movie, whereas some others look and “feel” like a book. Depending on the age and the type of experience you want children to have reading an eBook will greatly influence the way you think is the most effective way of delivery. For example, children that are emergent readers might still benefit from a book that is read aloud to them, but still needs to have text so they can read along. Students, however, that are working on comprehension just need to read the story, so it may be more effective for these stories to only have text and pictures, but no audio. Furthermore, students, as featured in the “Reading Centers” movie from Taylor Elementary School, that are working on summarizing books would benefit most from a book that has pictures and audio, but maybe not text. Finally, students that are just viewing a book for pleasure during indoor recess, for example, might really enjoy a book that looks like a book, or enjoy a book in which they can be read to. Therefore, with all of these factors in mind, I have organized my descriptions by deliverance according to the following icons:

- Text is included

 - Audio is included

- Animation

 - “Looks like” a webpage (i.e. World Wide Web)

 - “Looks like” a movie

 - “Looks like” a book

*I’ve tried to move from only audio to only text, and book-like to web-like
Below are my reviews and comparisons of several “story” websites. I have included two in-depth reviews, and then several brief reviews to illustrate the general flavor of electronic books. I use Tumblebooks mostly in first grade at my school. The kids really love them, therefore, I really wanted to explore several so that I can offer my students a variety of “story” websites that they can go to.

BookPals: ( /

BookPals, or Story Online, is a program of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. This website offers online streaming video in which SAG members (or actors/acresses) are reading children’s books aloud. Each book includes accompanying lessons and activities.

On the left hand side of this webpage is where you choose which book you would like to hear. Well-known books that are available include “The Polar Express,” “Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch,” “A Bad Case of Stripes,” and “Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge.” When you mouse over the book titles, the picture of the book changes to who is reading the book. There are several famous actors/actresses that would be known by children, including Elijah Wood, Jane Kaczmarek (Malcom in the Middle), Tia and Tamera Mowry (Sister, Sister), Haylie Duff, and Amber Rose Tamblyn (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants).

When you choose a book, an informational page comes up (see right). This page gives you more details about the book, including the Title, author, picture of the book cover, and the name and picture of the SAG member that is reading the book. You can click on the name of the author and SAG member. This pops up a biography of that person. I really like this feature because you can learn more about the author and other books that author has written, but also, you can read more about the SAG member and the movies that they have been in. Also included are related activities and more activities that are tasks/questions that encourage reflection about the book. These can also be downloaded and printed.

Clicking on “Let’s Read It,” will open up the book page (see right). It looks like a book and the movie is displayed inside the book. The user may choose to play the book in small, medium, large, or full screen size. The movie starts to play automatically and there is a pause button that the user can click to pause the movie. The SAG member introduces the book and then starts reading it. The movie goes back and forth between the pictures that are in the book, and the SAG member reading it. It reminds me a lot of the format of reading rainbow.

Overall, I really enjoyed this website. It was very entertaining. However, the experience was like watching a movie, not reading a book, even though they have gone to the effort of making it look like a book. According to “Electronic Books: Reading and Studying with Supportive Resources,” these are technically, by definition, not electronic books. Criteria 1 of electronic books is, “an electronic book must have electronic text and that text must be presented to the reader visually.” The text that makes up the books that are read on BookPals are certainly represented visually, however, there is no text displayed so the viewer can’t read along. Although the authors of “Electronic Books: Reading and Studying with Supportive Resources” have written a definition of eBooks, there is no reason why that I wouldn’t include this as a “for pleasure” activity or a “free time” activity. If trying to encourage the love of reading and the love of books, what a great way to offer a story through a medium in which students can enjoy.

Tumblebooks: (

Tumblebooks is a subscription site that offers eBooks to children. The Tumblebook library offers many different choices for students: The Story Books section includes many well-known picture books; Tumble Readables are classics that students can read on their own; Life Learning includes books that teach children important social and health issues; Puzzles and Games includes puzzles and games that directly correlate with books from the Story Book section; Language Learning include books that are of different languages than English; and Audio Books include books that are just audio. Tumblebooks also has a search function where you can search their library by title, author, publisher, illustrator, or all. I conducted a search on Robert Munsch and 4 titles came up.

For a more focused review, I concentrated on the Story Books section. The books are arranged in the Story Book section alphabetically by title of book (see above). Students can browse through the books by clicking on the range of letters they want to look at. Each book that is available in Tumblebooks has the same citation (see above). Included in this citation is a picture of the book cover, the title, brief summary, related bibliography information (author, illustrator, and publisher), the time it takes for Tumblebooks to read it, and the automatic and manual reading levels. Other possible resources include a Tumble Quiz, Lesson Plans, a Book Report submission form, and reviews of the book from reputable resources (School Library Journal, etc.). You can also click on the reading level links to receive a list of books in which fall into that reading level range. To view any of the books, you click on the “View Online” button and the book opens in a new window called “Tumblepad.”

Book Information:

The automatic setting for each of these books is in auto mode. Automatic reading includes a narrator reading and the sentence that he/she is reading is highlighted in blue for the viewer to read along. The narrations are usually very funny and full of character. You can turn auto mode off by clicking on the “Auto” button, which switches to manual mode. Students are then able to read at their own pace. In auto mode the pages turn by themselves; in manual mode students can click the forward or backward arrows to switch pages. There are animated picture for each page. Some stories include a word helper in which students can click on words that are highlighted in yellow for the word to be read to them. To end the story, students can just close this page since they open up in a new window.

Quiz Information:

Students can access the quizzes from the page that cites each story. Most of the books include quizzes. Clicking on the “Tumble Quiz” button opens a new window in which students can take their quiz. Students are asked about 6 questions through a multiple choice format. Students select their answer and click the arrow to go to the next question. When they have finished the quiz, a summary page tells the student the number of questions they got right. They can also click on the report card to see which specific questions they got wrong and which they got right (see left). Students can retake the quiz if they want or close out of that window.

Book Report Information:

Clicking on “Submit a Book Report” opens a new window in which students are asked to choose the type of report they want: book report, print-out book report (to be written on), and a certificate. By choosing book report, students are asked what grade level they are in, and then they go through several pages of questions in which they can respond to by typing in their answers. At the end of the questions, students are asked to print out their report. They are printed out in an organized format.

Lesson Plan Information:

There very few books that include Lesson Plans. However, these lesson plans are excellent. Clicking on “Lesson Plan” (which would appear under Tumble Quiz) downloads the lessons to Adobe Acrobat. The lesson plans that are included are the caliber of lesson plans in which teachers would write. It includes pre-reading questions, writing prompts, critical thinking and reading comprehension questions, as well as vocabulary. Along with the teacher pages are student activity pages that are described in the lesson plan. Since it is downloaded to Acrobat, you can easily print and distribute these pages.

Overall, this is an excellent website. The subscription is well worth it. Compared to BookPals, I like the text being on the page with the picture. This makes these books feel more like books, even though it has the look of a movie. I think that the tools for educators on this website are especially helpful (ability to search, reading levels, reviews, lesson plans, and timing of book). However, I think the tools for the students are even more helpful. The navigatability is very easy for students, in auto mode students can hear the story and read along with the blue words, take a quiz on the book, as well as submit a book report. These various activities that surround the book can certainly be easily incorporated into the classroom. Therefore, Tumblebooks, compared to BookPals, can be used for many different purposes in a classroom: comprehension, summarizing, pleasure reading, etc.

BookPop: ( 

Book-Pop claims itself as virtual literature. All of the books that are featured on this website are written by Stephen Cosgrove. There are three series that you can choose from: Barely There, Flutterbyes, and Trolls. With each of these series are four characters that you can choose from to read about. I chose the Barely There series, and I read about Grampa Sam.

While you are waiting for the story to load, music plays and the cover of the story is displayed, along with the author. When it opens up to page one, music that is appropriate for the page is playing (i.e. if you are talking about an adventure, then adventure type music is playing). If you can’t read the text, or you would rather listen to the story, then you must click on the “Listen” button to hear the narrations. To go to the next page, you can click on the “Next Page” button.

BookPop books have the “book” feel to them. The reader has to click to turn the page, and the layout of the book is like the spread that you would see with a non-electronic book. This page, however, is much more distracting than the books in Tumblebooks and BookPals. The music continues to play when you are trying to read. It also continues to play during the narrations. I like that there is a way that you can choose to be read to, however, this isn’t an on/off button like that of Tumblebooks. If you click the “Listen” button more than once, than more than one narration will start. Overall, though, this is a good electronic book site for students to use.

Beantime Stories: ( /

Beantime Stories are a part of the Chateau Meddybemps website. There are many stories that students can read on this website. On the main story page (see right), you are asked to click on a character to see a list of their stories. Each character averages about 2-3 stories. For each story title that is listed, there is a brief description of the story. Clicking on the story takes you directly to the beginning of the story.

Each story includes text and pictures (see right). There is a “back” and “next” button to flip through the pages. Some of the pages have animations on them.
Overall, I really like this webpage. The stories that are included are good and they are easy to read. I like how you are able to see the illustration and the text all on one page without having to scroll up and down. The “back” and “next” buttons make it feel somewhat like a book. However, it also feels like a webpage to me because there is no book background like on BookPop books. With all of this in mind, I would definitely encourage my students to come to this website to read electronic books.
Tell Me a Story: ( 

This website only has five stories that can be read. When you click on a story one page comes up that contains the whole story. To read the story all you have to do is scroll down. Relevant pictures are interspersed amongst the text (see right). When you reach then end of the story, there is a link back to the main page, and a link to an activity page. I read a story about snakes and the activity page had trivia questions, word games, and jokes about snakes. At the top of each story there is a link to an audio file if you wish to be read to. Unfortunately, you can’t listen to the story, and read along and look at the pictures at the same time. The audio file opens takes you to another webpage.

Overall, the story that I read was excellent. This did not have a book feel to it at all. I felt like I was simply reading a webpage (which I was). Being able to see more than one picture at a time might be distracting to students. Furthermore, I was disappointed that readers can’t take full advantage of the audio file and reading along. Because the stories were so good, I would encourage students to go to this website, however, out of all of them, this was probably my least favorite.

In my opinion, nothing is like reading a read book. You can touch them, really see the pictures, etc. In terms of the stories that I read from the websites above, I have concluded that I much prefer the websites that make it seem like you are reading a book, instead of the ones that are just like a webpage. I did really enjoy the BookPals website and Tumblebooks, they are very entertaining. It would be interesting to ask students that are digital natives, not digital immigrants like I am, which medium that they prefer. They might not have a preference.

I can see many uses for electronic books in the classroom, and I can also see several benefits to using electronic books. They certainly allow you to have many books at your fingertips without having the buy them. As stated above, however, all of these electronic book websites are great, depending on what you are trying to use them for. Like most electronic materials, it is critical to match the books to your curriculum needs!

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