The words "Teach Your Monster" and "ReadWorks" over a polkadot background.

Sites that Make Reading Fun

It’s reading time! Depending on the grade level and content that you teach, reading looks very different. So, this week I have two reading tools that have very different purposes.

Teach Your Monster

The first site that we are chatting about is called Teach Your Monster. This free site is awesome for early readers. They have four different games that are created to support early learners. The monster activities support phonics skills and letter sounds, read alongs and healthy eating! 👹 They also have a monster math activity built in as well. The activities are very engaging and easy to navigate for early computer users. The website—to play on the computer is free—note that the actual iOS and Android apps are paid. These activities are perfect for independent practice!

ReadWorks

ReadWorks is a site we first chatted about way back on Episode 34 which was recorded in the fall of 2020. Since then, ReadWorks has upgraded several parts of their site. They make differentiation for different reading levels easy for educators. You can choose the lexile you need for your students and then assign as needed. Article are on a large variety of topics and can be printed or used digitally. Students can annotate and also listen to the article as well. When you create an account, you can assign reading to students and track what they do but you also can project the articles on a SMART board and work as a class. There are all kinds of ways ReadWorks can support students.

Both Teach Your Monster and ReadWorks have great tools to offer our readers! Keep these sites in mind when planning your next lesson!

Have a great week!

TECH MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Related Episodes:

Shanna Martin 0:19
Thanks for listening to the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast, where each week we talk about a free piece of technology that you can use in your classroom. I’m your host, Shanna Martin. I’m a middle school teacher, technology instructional coach for my district.

Fuzz Martin 0:32
And I’m her producer and husband, Fuzz Martin. And if I’m reading this correctly, I’m the one who puts the show together each and every week, we’ll ever Well, just like the audio part, you put together all the contents, and then I make it sound okay, and then put it up on the website. That’s true. That’s my role. And I’m cool with that. So we’re on episode 133.

Shanna Martin 0:56
We are here in good ol November in November of 2022.

Fuzz Martin 1:00
With the cold November, rain, getting close to Thanksgiving. I mean, we’re halfway through now. November, so it’s moving too quickly, moving quickly.

Shanna Martin 1:12
Moving very, very fast. Yeah. And trying to catch up on everything and do all the fun stuff. Yeah. Speaking of fun stuff. Uh huh. So this week, I have some fun reading sites. Cool. And one of them is new. And one of them is review. Because we haven’t talked about a very long time. Our first site this week, is really adorable. It’s called Teach your monster.org as the site is Teacher monster reading for fun. Yeah, it is a cool, cute look inside. It’s really cute. It’s adorable. It’s created by the US born or use born. Books, like that’s the Creator. It’s the company. Sure. And these are free resources. For parents, teachers, like you can use them at home, you can use them, which I like about that, like you can play these activities at school or at home, or wherever your little heart desires.

Shanna Martin 2:14
What’s cool about them too, is they’re playable on computers, and also on tablets. And you can choose to do, it’s free on computers, you can download, like an apple app, you can download on Google Play. And they have them on the Amazon App Store. So you can access them kind of anywhere. And they’re based on teaching young kids, I would say like a two, a three or pre K, early readers, different reading activities. So they have one game that’s meant for it’s like teacher monster to read. And it’s letter sounds and activities. And our second grader was playing this one this morning. She’s like, this is easy. But this is so much fun. Because you get to create your little monster and you choose what we look at the new chooses outfit and engages students that way.

Shanna Martin 3:05
And I always appreciate that it teaches computer skills as well, because they can then use it on a tablet for younger kids. But if they are learning to use mouse skills, I always appreciate that were like they have to scroll over things to make them work. So teaches them like some basic computer skills while also learning their letter sounds. Sure, yeah. So the game is you have this little monster that you’ve created and it goes down in it, they identify the letter sounds and everything is read to them, which was helpful. And so it’s self guided. And then they learn the letter sound and they’ve just save other little monsters and then you like defeat the little guy from being captured by finding your letter sounds and then eating healthy fruits like they infer some vegetables to catch you. It’s really cute. And then teach your monster to read.

Shanna Martin 3:55
There’s another one. So there’s different games. It’s reading is for fun, does your monster reading for fun. And that one, they read the story out loud and it asks you to read out loud with them. So like they’re doing the story of the little monsters and it’s teaching you to read and it’s across your screen so that way they can read and, and practice their reading skills while the story is being read. So like kind of interactive that way they used to do little things with your monsters on that I wish they would read a little slower just because like allowing time to connect your word and but you can reread it as many times as you like to so sure that’s fine too.

Shanna Martin 4:32
And then they also have a number of skill game where you can click on that and you can play in the little monsters do the different number skills. And then they also have a beta game that they have. That’s about healthy eating. So your little monster and you get to pick like do you want what’s your favorite or what do you want to try today? And they like bananas and blueberries and little things and they can pick and then they teach the senses so like we’re gonna go to the smell machine. What do you do with the smell machine like Anna teaches the five I have senses and healthy eating with fruits and vegetables. And so that was still beta format, but you can still play it.

Shanna Martin 5:06
And all of the games are free, which I appreciate. And you can sign up as a student or as a parent or as an educator. And it’s cool, like the kids are super engaged very quickly, is easy to navigate. It practices both phonics skills and reading skills. And it doesn’t take too much effort to set up.

Fuzz Martin 5:28
And again, it’s very cute. They’re so cute. And looks like I want to play with it. I can only imagine that a kids want to play with it.

Shanna Martin 5:36
Yes. And so that’s teach your monster.org any other computer version is 100%. Free. It’s been first phonics and programs. And it’s just it’s really cute. And so you can put it if you have your students on, like you drop this link in your Google Classroom, if you have students navigating from there, wherever they navigate from, it’s really easy. And you’re gonna have like player management as a parent, you can or teacher you can add players if you choose or take them way. Sure, that kind of thing. So

Fuzz Martin 6:05
yeah, it’s available on the computer in the Apple App Store, Google Apps. So if you have Google tablets, work on there, and then also,

Shanna Martin 6:13
the computer version is free. The out versions have like their own. Do they all have their paid pieces? I don’t know if there’s upgrades to them, but I gotcha. Okay, sure. Like, gotcha. They can play it on the Chromebook. Good to know. Well, there you go. So yeah, teacher monster.org. Great. I would say like K 2k. Three for our younger students are learning to read practicing phonic sounds, you can put it in your, like your different reading stations and things like that, where students can do them in their self paced. They’re very fun and cute. So cute.

Fuzz Martin 6:41
Yeah, just confirm that. It is like $5.99 to buy the app for for iPad.

Shanna Martin 6:47
So there you go. Okay, so teacher monster.org Teach Your Monster.

Fuzz Martin 6:51
But if you say it fast enough, it’s like Teacher, teacher, monster teacher monster.

Shanna Martin 7:00
So that’s for our younger students, Nancy, and I thought that was kind of cute and adorable to play. And then for older students way back when in Episode 34, fall of 2020, we were

Fuzz Martin 7:11
so young then. It was

Shanna Martin 7:13
so long ago. We had talked about read works that work. And I had highlighted like, it’s great for reading. It’s great for social studies. Well read works.org has, you know, since fall of 2020, done some changes and upgrades nice to their programs, just because well, we for a while or spent a lot of time doing computer things we certainly did. And we still do. But ReadWorks is a great site free. And it gives you articles, read for information like so as a teacher, you can create your account, you can then assign articles to your students. So it gives you access to do that. And you can drop information into your classroom, however you want to set it up.

Shanna Martin 7:59
But what I appreciate about this is that these stories are these articles can some of them have video, or like audio setup with them. So if you have ELL students, or you have students that struggle with reading, they can be read to them, they set them at different reading levels. So you can have the same article, and three or four different reading levels. So if you have lower level readers, and then like at level readers, and then challenged readers, you can share the same article and information with them. And yet, it’s at the level of reading and so vocabulary so they can be comfortable reading the same content.

Shanna Martin 8:37
So they’re not reading something different than each other. Sure, yeah, they have a whole thing on branches of government, they go through it reads to them, I really appreciate the audio for a lot of my students. This is great when I need articles read to students, if I’m not there, or just I’m doing like a flipped classroom type deal where they need to hear it, they need to read it, and then they bring it up.

Shanna Martin 8:58
So it’s great because it’ll give you the details where it’ll say like word count, Lexile vocabulary that would stand out in the article, the author, and then it’ll give you other related articles that can go with it. So not only will it read to you, but as a teacher, it’ll give you all the background information that you need. It also connects vocabulary activities, and word builders that you can do with your students, which is really cool that you can pick any articles like I can be teaching social studies content and still have reading skills built into my social studies content, which is really helpful to show kids that like reading doesn’t just have an underwriting class. And then if you go through the articles, like they have a whole thing for Veterans Day, which you know, just happened last week. We have formative assessment stuff, we have all kinds of activities. So you can choose your tools. There’s like a toolbar across the top. They have their content section where you can choose whatever content we want to go with. If you want to just full on ebooks you can if you want to do specific activity types if you want to do open ended questioning or inferring questioning the specific articles that fit that.

Shanna Martin 10:03
You can choose grade level content, you can choose from science and social studies in the arts. You can choose holiday events, nonfiction fiction, poetry, which is always you’re trying to find poetry, I feel like we’re looking for different poetry out there. And a lot of teachers asked me for that for a resource all the time. They have assignments progress, where you can check as a teacher, if your students are filling in their work, and how everybody’s doing and the kind of snapshots of student progress and all kinds of stuff. Read works is a huge resource for teachers. They have lots of cool articles, you can put them at levelled content for students that can be read to students. And it’s really kind of a neat idea to rule out to your students. So that everybody has kind of a differentiated lesson without having to do all of differentiating yourself.

Shanna Martin 10:53
So that’s definitely ReadWorks is something very cool for students to use. And I suggest it it’s been a long time since we’ve talked about it. And they’ve definitely put in some improvements in there over the years since we’ve checked chatted about before.

Fuzz Martin 11:05
Yeah, well, it’s always nice to see a nice upgrade to a site and see that it’s thriving and, and that they’re taking it to the next level.

Shanna Martin 11:13
Yes, super helpful. So read, reading, reading, reading with our students, whether it be K to or middle school, high school and everywhere in between. Excellent. Oh,

Fuzz Martin 11:26
by the way, if you are listening and you heard little dogs barking or pounding on the door, that was because we’re in the studio and the child is right outside the door.

Shanna Martin 11:36
And on that note, thanks for tuning in. This has been the Tech Tools for Teachers podcast. If you ever have any questions you can find me on Twitter @smartinwi and if you want to get more information on the links to technology discussing this up and so you can visit smart and wi.com If you’d like to support the show, please consider buying me a coffee or to visit buy me a coffee.com/smartinwi or visit smartinwi.com and click on that cute little purple coffee cup. Your donations help keep the show going. New episodes each week. Thanks for listening, go educate and innovate.

Fuzz Martin 12:10
The ideas and opinions expressed on this podcast and the smartinwi.com website are those of the author Shanna Martin and not of her employer. Prior to using any of the technologies discussed on this podcast? Please consult with your employer regulations. This podcast offers no guarantee that these tools will work for you as described, but we hope they do. And we will talk to you next time right here on the Tech Tools for Teachers podcast.

 

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