Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 21, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Do You Have Suggestions Of Sources For Free Printable Books?

Online books are great, and “regular” published books are, too. However, sometimes technology and budget constraints can reduce student access to both.

That’s why I created The Best Sources For Free & Accessible Printable Books a few years ago. It lists places where teachers can print out multiple (or single) copies of ELL accessible books.

I just did a quick clean-up of that list, and am hoping the readers can check it out and share additional suggestions….

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July 19, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Three “Choose Your Own Adventure” Links

Here are three new additions to The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories:

What’s In The Box is a great interactive story from The Reading Teacher.

Journey Into the Arctic – The Atlantic is a video “Choose Your Own Adventure” series about the search for the Northwest Passage. You can learn more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog.

And, here, just for fun, is a new interactive that Stephen Colbert – yes, that Stephen Colbert – has created.

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July 12, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Passage On The Importance Of Rereading Sounds Profound, But Help Me Figure Out If It Makes Any Sense

The Key to Rereading is the headline of a new article in The New York Review of Books.

As every educator in the United States knows, rereading a text is a hallmark of the close reading strategy emphasized by Common Core Standards.

This passage in the article sounds profound, but after rereading it several times, I’m still not sure if it really makes any sense. He suggests that reading something new creates a “lock” in the brain concealing its true meaning that can only be opened by a “key” created by rereading the text.

I’ve reread it a number of times, and still can’t figure out what the difference is between that analogy and one of looking at the text as a lock that can only be opened by a key developed by the brain a second time that it is read.

What am I missing – if anything?

“When we perceive something new for the first time we cannot really perceive it because we lack the appropriate structure that allows us to perceive it. Our brain is like a lock maker that makes a lock whenever a key is deemed interesting enough. But when a key—for example, a new poem, or a new species of animal—is first met, there is no lock yet ready for such a key. Or to be precise, the key is not even a key since it does not open anything yet. It is a potential key. However, the encounter between the brain and this potential key triggers the making of a lock. The next time we meet or perceive the object/key it will open the lock prepared for it in the brain.”

It’s an elaborate theory and in fact the reader turns out to be the philosopher and psychologist Riccardo Manzotti. Intriguing above all is the reversal of the usual key/lock analogy. The mind is not devising a key to decipher the text, it is disposing itself in such a way as to allow the text to become a key that unlocks sensation and “meaning” in the mind.

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June 25, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Short Analysis Of Obamacare Ruling Is Great Tool For Showing Students What Reading Is All About

Thankfully, the Supreme Court today ruled in favor of Obamacare subsidies.

Matthew Yglesias wrote a very useful, and short, piece on the decision that I think would be a great text for students to read and learn what reading is really all about.

Here’s a quick excerpt:


I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “Close Reading” — Help Me Find More.

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May 21, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Nice Online “Summer Reading Challenge” From Curriculet


Curriculet is is a site I’ve sometimes used for advanced ELLs and mainstream students. It provides higher level stories, books, and “units” in English and Social Studies, and ready-made exercises and quizzes. You have to choose which ones you want to add as assignments to a free virtual classroom One very nice advantage to this site is that they provide you a unique url address that students click on in order to register — it makes it very easy.

It’s on The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress list.

They recently added high-interest articles from USA Today, but you have to pay extra for them. However, they just announced a free Summer Reading Challenge that lets students read the USA Today articles for free during the summer, and lets teachers track their progress. They are also offering daily and weekly prizes to students, which I’m obviously not-too-thrilled about, but who am I to judge — after all, even with my deep belief in cultivating student intrinsic motivation, I still offer extra credit to my ELL students who read over the summer. I guess I’ll try just about anything to encourage teenage immigrant students who have so little time left in school, and who have little academic experience in their own country, to read during vacation.

You can read other strategies and sites I’m using over the summer with my students at my latest New York Times post for English Language Learners.

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May 17, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“TweenTribune” Provides The Same Text At Different Levels AND A Virtual Classroom – For Free!


Thanks to reader Vincy Murgillo for letting me know about the Smithsonian’s Tween Tribune.

It provides daily news stories, with the same one edited several times for different reading levels. The stories also have self-scoring quizzes and provide decent “critical thinking” questions that students can respond to in the comments. On top of that, teachers can create virtual classrooms to monitor it all, as well as moderating student comments.

And it’s all available for free!

I’m adding it to:

The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress

The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels”

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