Booktrack Classroom has books in the public domain online to which they’ve added “soundtracks” — music, street sounds, etc. In addition, students can create their own soundtracks to books that they write. Even better, teachers can create virtual classrooms with assigned readings and/or to share their own creations. And, best of all, it’s free.
You can read many of the books without having to register, but must do so in order to create them. It’s very, very easy to create your own books — the site has lots of sounds and music you can add to the text. Oddly, though, it doesn’t seem to provide the option of recording your own narration or sound effects. With those features, it would make it particularly useful to English Language Learners and also make it a more engaging creative activity for everyone.
Also, unfortunately, only people registered on Booktrack can see your finished product. It would be nice if it would be accessible — either though a link or an embed — to others.
Without those last three options, the book creation tool could still be a nice alternative to “mix it up” a bit after using other tools on The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online list.
I could see the ability to read the public domain books as helpful to non-English Language Learners (the books available are too high level for ELLs). I know some students like to listen to music while they read, and having this as an option could make it an attractive option that provides audio that might be less distracting and more classroom appropriate than other music students might choose.
Check the comments for Booktrack’s response to some of my concerns
I’ll be adding this site to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.