Often, I like to do ‘list posts’ like many other bloggers.  “5 Great Sites About Seeds” or “Top 10 Websites for Learning About Spiders”.  Today, I’m dedicating this post to just one site – Storyline Online.  I think it’s really a clever, well-done site.

The site currently has a selection of 27 books that are suitable for all primary grades, and they will be adding more.  Each book is read aloud by someone famous.  (The site is actually put together by the Screen Actors’ Guild.)  Look for readers lilke Betty White, Elijah Wood, and Melissa Gilbert.  The actor appears in a video, introduces him/herself and the book, and then reads the book aloud as the video cuts to the actual pages of the book.

There are a few extra features about this site that really make me love it:

  • There is a close-captioning option.  I like to turn it on.  I think that it only helps students when they can see the words as they hear them being read.
  • There is a full-screen option.  You’ll probably want to put this on if you’re using a projector or SmartBoard.
  • There are sound effects like music and noises that are added to the readings to make them even more interesting.
  • The stories all run somewhere between 5 and 17 minutes…you can preview the times before you begin
  • There are standard video control buttons, so you can pause or rewind to discuss the story.

This can be such a valuable site for teaching and discussing so many of the Reading strategies:  inferencing, visualization, drawing conclusions, making predictions, etc.  I love the idea of using it for whole or small groups to teach these concepts, but it would also be great as a computer station Reading activity.  If you had a prepared set of questions for students to answer, as a student independently views the book, he/she could rewind and go back ‘into the text’ to find answers.

Random little tip:  After you view a book, or if you’ve been navigating around the site, just click on the title STORYLINE ONLINE at the top of the page.  It will bring you back ‘home’ to the main page.  (This works with most websites, by the way!)

  Here’s the link to the site:   http://www.storylineonline.net/

Feel free to leave comments on this blog or on the Facebook page if you have other suggestions for using this site or extension activities you tried with any of the stories!