Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Websites Worth the Subscription Cost

As teachers with tight budgets we have to pick and choose which resources we choose to invest in, especially when the investment is out of our own pockets. During a discuss at a teacher's meeting today we we talking about websites worth the cost and here is a list of some that were mentioned. Feel free to comment to add others.

A note before I start, you may want to explore all options before you shell out the cash. See if your district, school or agency has or will buy a site license. Check if the area public library has a subscription. See if there is an internet based public library with a working, paid link. If you end up buying the subscription yourself consider sharing the cost with another teacher or forming a small "website consortium" that buys 3 or 5 computer site licenses and splits the costs.

Reading A-Z
Reading A-Z is was the first of the Learning A-Z website series. They refer to themselves as an online reading program. The site contains over 2,000 books in PDF format to be printed anywhere. Different areas include guided reading, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, alphabet and assessment. There are also other resources. In my classroom, with a mix of low ability readers and non-readers we use some of the materials for reading and other of the materials as content for subject areas. 1-9 classrooms are $79.95 a year.*

EdHelper has a variety of educational activities in most subject areas K-12. They mostly do not use PDF which means reading and other materials can be cut and pasted into a program like Boardmaker 6.0 or Dynavox Interaact to be "symbolated". They offer daily themes and activities. You can see samples at the site. A limited subscription is $19.95 and a full subscription is $39.95.

No doubt about it kids LOVE Tumblebooks. Tumblebooks Library are animated versions of favorite children's books. I have had students from 3-20 enjoy these, since some content is age appropriate for older kids (the Muhammad Ali book comes to mind). These books add visual to audio books! The "pages" can be set to turn automatically or by clicking on an arrow. Or you can use a touchscreen or line up the cursor over the arrow and use a switch. There are also read-on-your-own e-books with font up to 34 point and audiobooks for older students (my students love the Patchwork Girl). There is frequently access for Tumblebooks through local libraries, check there first. They also periodically offer great discount for teachers. A "home" (individual) membership is $29.99.*

News-2-You is a symbol based newspaper that can be downloaded and printed weekly along with a communication board, variety of comprehension and related activities. The cost is $140.00 a year, discounts for 5 and then 10 or more subscriptions.

*I personally use this website.
**I use this website and paid out-of-pocket.

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