The Scout Report
Special Edition: National Book Month
October 5, 2012 -- Volume 18, Number 40
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries
At Internet Scout, we take pride in providing links to fantastic online resources in our weekly Scout Report. We know many readers appreciate the variety of resources we seek out. However, we occasionally enjoy finding resources to support a specific theme. The Scout Report Special Issue: National Book Month is the outgrowth of such an effort. The resources in this issue coincide with National Book Month, which occurs each October and is an opportunity for students, teachers, librarians, and other lifelong learners to come together in their love of books and reading. Needless to say, this makes October one of Scout's favorite months! We hope the resources we have included will inspire our readers to look at books in new ways and to celebrate National Book Month with us.
The LibriVox site is billed as an "acoustical liberation of books in the public domain." This claim proves to be true; the site provide free audiobooks of public domain works from authors such as Dickens, Chaucer, and hundreds of others to forward their mission of recording all the books in the public domain. First-time visitors can click on the LibriVox Catalog to search a title or author to get started. One can also view recently cataloged titles or just elect to browse the entire catalog. The New Releases area is a fun way to learn about what has recently captured the attention of the folks at LibriVox. One can even register to help record an audiobook for the site. Visitors are encouraged to sign up for the LibriVox RSS feed and to check out their interesting podcasts as well. [KMG]
The Great White Whale truly comes alive in this creative and thoughtful website created by artist Angela Cockayne and writer Philip Hoare. While collaborating in Spring 2011 for Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University to curate the “Dominion” whale symposium and exhibition, they came to believe that there was something more to their “Moby Dick” obsession. Thus, in September 2012, they launched an online version of Herman Melville's classic work featuring all 135 chapters read on audio by a mixture of "the celebrated and the unknown" for free download to the public. The project is chronicled via a podcast on the main site, Facebook, SoundCloud, and iTunes. Chapters to watch for include readings by Neil Tennant, Nigel Williams, and noted actress Tilda Swinton. [KMG]
The International Reading Association has crafted these Choices Reading Lists for librarians, teachers, students, and anyone else with a passion for reading. There are three sets: Children’s Choices, Young Adults' Choices, and Teachers' Choices. Each list is fully annotated with additional information such as fact sheets, information on the texts selected, and some information about the criteria used to select the texts. The Young Adults' Choices brings together works selected by young people each year; recent selections include "Awaken," "Between," and "What Happened to Goodbye." The site is rounded out by a collection of downloadable bookmarks that can be used between the pages of these fine selections. [KMG]
The American Library Association (ALA) has created this excellent resource for those seeking to learn about books that have been challenged around the United States. These lists have been compiled by the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom since 1990. Users can dive in by browsing the listings on the left-hand side of the page including Authors By Year, "Banned & Challenged Classics," and "30 Years of Liberating Literature." The last area is a great place to start as it features a profile of Banned Books Week where visitors can learn about books that have been banned in different communities including "And Tango Makes Three" and "The Giver." The Authors By Year section features a list of those authors whose works have been most frequently challenged since the ALA started compiling their lists. Another compelling section is the Statistics chart which offers a visual representation of the challenges by year, reason, initiator, and institution. [KMG]
Goodreads is not only a fine place to find your next "good read," but also a great way to keep track of books you've enjoyed. Visitors can log in to create their own lists of books, along with annotations, comments, and ratings. Additionally, visitors can search and browse other readers' profiles, take literary quizzes, and look over hundreds of book lists. Author pages collect writers' bibliographies for an easy way to find more books based on those already read. Finally, the Recommendations area suggests more books individual users might enjoy, drawing from their ratings, tags, and virtual "shelves." [KMG]
Sometimes, it turns out, it's all right to judge a book by its cover. The Book Cover Archive, run and maintained by Ben Pieratt and Eric Jacobsen, allows visitors to do just that. It bills itself as created "for the appreciation and categorization of excellence in book cover design," and a quick glance over the selection offered confirms its success. The archive website features over 1,300 cleanly displayed book covers in a variety of designs, from simple text to elaborate photo collages. Clicking on any one of the covers will take readers to a page with some more information about the cover, such as the publication date, the genre, and of course, the designer. Those wishing to know more or purchase a title can click on a link to the Amazon.com description of the book. Finally, the blog, though infrequently updated, will delight book lovers everywhere. [CM]
The National Writing Project website compiles a wealth of resources that have appeared in the archive as well as its publications over the years. The materials here are divided into eight sections, including Teaching Writing, Teaching Reading, and Standards and Assessment. The Teaching Writing area contains information aplenty on areas such as Grammar and Usage, Special Needs, and Digital Writing. The Digital Writing section includes strategies for working in a technology-rich environment and incorporating short, intense writing activities into the classroom. Another helpful section is the Being a Writer area, which includes Fiction and Poetry Publishing Resources and material on starting and maintaining a writers’ group. The site is rounded out by a series of links to additional websites for general consideration. [KMG]
Teaching writing can be a challenge, even for those who have been in front of a class full of students for years. The website of the Writing Center at Colorado State University is a great source of information for people who teach writing. A good place to start is the Teaching Guides area, which includes strategies on Planning & Conducting Classes, Teaching Specific Writing Skills, and Writing Across the Curriculum. Furthermore, the Teaching Activities section includes a range of compelling aides including Argument Quiz Discussion Starter, Evaluating Writing, and A Storyteller's Misguided Guide to Focus. Visitors also should also read the Across the Disciplines journal, which is "devoted to language, learning, and academic writing.” Other highlights include The Composition Archives and a crucial guide to dealing with plagiarism. [KMG]
Computers have been in classrooms for decades and continue to implement new and compelling resources expanding their multimedia capabilities. This set of classroom resources from ReadWriteThink brings together several hundred interactive activities for students in grades K-12. First-time visitors should explore the Featured area for helpful activities that address doing research (Inquiry & Analysis) for elementary school children and learning about letters and sounds (Word Wizard). The detailed Refine By area on the left-hand side of the page can filter items by grade level, type of interactive feature, and learning objectives. There is also a detailed search engine and feedback system for each activity. [KMG]
How does one teach poetry in any subject or quantity? The folks at Lesson Planet have assembled a fine range of helpful lesson plans that include discussions of haiku, poetic analysis, and utilizing poems to understand history and other subjects. Visitors will be glad to learn that there are over 6,400 lesson plans searchable by Resource Type, Grade, and User Rating among other categories. A highlight of the site is "Poetry Beyond Words" which asks young writers to compose a "popcorn poem" using sensing verbs and adverbs. There is a tremendous amount of information for those who love poetry as well as educating others using it as a tool. [KMG]
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has created these classroom-tested lesson plans for teachers working in grades K-12. On the left-hand side of the page, visitors will note four tabs: Elementary, Middle, Secondary, and College. In each section, visitors will find announcements about grants, issue briefs, and information about joining email discussion lists. Visitors won't want to miss the Back to School Ideas area, as it features helpful fact sheets, discussion activities, and information about introducing students to more difficult reading material. There is a great Back to School Booklist in this section as well. Focus on 21st Century Literacies is a key section as it includes activities designed to address teaching in this new millennium such as “On a Musical Note: Exploring Reading Strategies by Creating a Soundtrack" and "A Collaboration of Sites and Sounds: Using Wikis to Catalog Protest Songs." [KMG]
The Reading Rockets site (est. 2001) has worked with hundreds of partners to create content for teachers who seek to fine-tune their approach to teaching reading and literacy. The For Teachers section includes links to blogs written by literacy experts such as Dr. Joanne Meier, and a most effective How To area with sections such as "Find the right book level," "Set up a classroom library," and "Find free or low-cost books." An important section of this site is dedicated to Struggling Readers, and features helpful topical essays like “Tutoring,” "Target the Problem!", and "Put Downs & Comebacks.” Be sure to take a look at the site's collection of widgets for news headlines, teaching resources, books, and quality blogs about reading and related matters. [KMG]
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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout
Internet Scout Team Max Grinnell Editor Carmen Montopoli Managing Editor Edward Almasy Director Rachael Bower Director Andrea Coffin Metadata Specialist Autumn Hall-Tun Internet Cataloger Sara Sacks Internet Cataloger Tim Baumgard Web Developer Corey Halpin Web Developer Zev Weiss Technical Specialist Debra Shapiro Contributor
For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout staff page.