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English Language Arts

Teaching Reading

Children of the Code

  • A huge "social education" project based on the premise that it's time to reframe our thinking about reading, through the lens of 'understanding the challenges involved in learning to read' from the learner's perspective. This cross-indexed website/database contains videos and transcripts of interviews with over 120 of the world's leading experts in fields related to reading. Many of the videos are also available in fullscreen view on YouTube by searching for 'children of the code.'

ABCs of Teaching Reading

  • A very useful and comprehensive website whose goal is to provide teachers with the information they need to apply research findings to the very complex task of teaching reading. So complex is teaching reading, that the very name of the website "Reading Rockets" is derived from an influential article by Louisa Moats entitled Teaching Reading IS Rocket Science.

Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science

  • What expert teachers of reading should know and be able to do - a thirty-five page synthesis from the American Federation of Teachers.

Teaching Reading,K-2: A Library of Classroom Practices

  • An amazing online video resource from Annenberg Media: nine half-hour classroom videos showing teachers and students engaged in effective reading practices; three half-hour longitudinal videos that show individual students developing reading skills over time; and one half-hour overview. Just click on the 'video on demand' icon to freely view individual programs.

A Balanced Literacy Diet

  • From the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, a framework for understanding and teaching literacy - complete with a "recipe sampler" which presents one "literacy recipe" (lesson plan) for each of the key "food groups" required for elementary students to grow and flourish in literacy.

Think Literacy

  • Includes lesson plans, videos, posters and other teaching resources that are focused on literacy for students in grades 7 to 12, from the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Family Treasures: A Dual Language Book Project

  • A joint project between the University of Calgary Faculty of Education and the ECS team at Almadina Language Charter Academy to improve the vocabulary and literacy of second language learners. The project includes parents telling family stories and students bringing in favorite objects to share and write about, and is linked to powerful pieces of children's literature. Lesson plans, classroom video and print examples of the children's booklets are all available on the website.

Teaching Language Arts

Read, Write, Think

  • Teaching and lesson ideas from the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association.

Teaching Elementary School Students to be Effective Writers

  • Offers educators specific, evidence-based recommendations about effective practices in teaching writing to elementary students. From the "What Works" Clearinghouse.

Studying Complex Concepts such as Beauty, Truth and Courage in Depth

  • A powerful argument for why another approach than dictionary definitions is necessary for teaching concepts such as beauty, courage, truth, honor and originality — one that deepens and extends the students' understanding as they ponder great works of literature as well as the challenges of their own times. Author Jamie McKenzie backs up his argument with great teaching examples.

Interactive Short Story Unit

  • A multimedia learning experience that presents the learner with many different opportunities to learn about the structure of short stories.

Canada: A Literary Tour

  • Explores how the landscape of Canada has influenced writers and how they're portrayed different parts of the country. From Library and Archives Canada, and with suggested lesson plans.

The Story of Film

  • Curriculum units from the Film Foundation designed to help develop literacy about moving images, for grades 6–8.


  • A English teacher's blog with the objective of promoting the critical and creative use of film in the classroom, full of video examples and lesson plans.

Shakespeare's England

  • A Project Explorer site that takes a very personal approach to introducing students to Shakespeare's English today, as if they were taking the trip themselves.

Interactive Folio: Romeo and Juliet

  • Explore Shakespeare's script online and click on links to unlock multiple modes of interpreting the text, and on resources that include original interviews with experts.

Word Usage,Punctuation and Spelling

Visuwords Online Graphical Dictionary

  • Shows word meanings and associations with other words and concepts through diagrams reminiscent of a neural net.


  • Look up a word and find a web of related words, colored coded as to whether they are synonyms, antonmyns, "fuzzynms" (related but not synonymous), as well as coded by part of speech (noun, verb, adjective etc)

Visual Dictionary Online

  • Illustrations provide the terminology associated with a word. Searchable by words or categorized by themes. Also listen to audio pronunciation of words.

The Visual Thesaurus

  • As well as providing an interactive dictionary/thesaurus with an innovative display that encourages exploration, this website contains lesson plans and other ideas for educators. Check out its VocabGrabber, a tool that intelligently extracts words from any document you copy into it, pulls out the most useful vocabulary words and provides their synonyms and meanings. Unfortunately, although you can try it for free, there's now a subscription cost to use it regularly.


  • A visual dictionary that combines Wiktionary content with Flickr images, and more!


  • A free online talking dictionary of English pronunciation.


  • Generates 'wordclouds' from user-provided text. Great fun and with many educational possibilities: brainstorming, reflection, vocabulary building,visual poetry and revision.


  • WordCount™ is an artistic experiment in the way we use language. It presents the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonness.

Canadian, British and American spelling

  • A resource for orthographically-challenged Canadians, showing the usual Canadian, British and American spelling of various words.

How to Use a Semicolon: The Most Feared Punctuation on Earth

  • The title says it all - use of the semicolon succinctly and amusingly explained.

Homer Simpson's Figures of Speech

  • Secondary students might really enjoy this look at how America's favorite cartoon father users 20 different classic figures of speech.

Understanding Media and Information

Understand Media

  • Links to some good sites about teaching students to understand contemporary media and how it attempts to influence us.

Media Smarts

  • A Canadian non-profit organization that promotes media and digital literacy. Search for lesson plans about media education by grade level, topic, or for lessons related to the curriculum outcomes mandated in Alberta. "My World," an interactive grade 9-12 resource has been licensed for all Alberta schools, and can be found by searching the LearnAlberta website.

Classroom Fact Check

  • Meant to help students acquire the skills to see through the 'spin'. Lesson plans focus on the basic concepts of reasoning and on finding out whether there is truth in advertising and political messages, and 'tools of the trade,' outlines a five-step framework for analyzing information and avoiding deception. Heavily American.

Age of Persuasion

  • This compelling CBC Radio program analyzing the power of advertising is made even more interesting on the web because images and videos are incorporated.


  • An interactive demonstration from Girlpower of how photos of cover girls are retouched in almost every way. The video Photoshop: The Perfect Lie also discusses and shows the process of creating images of women that, in reality, no one looks like.

Here be Dragons

  • A video exposition about the need for critical thinking and debunking the pseudoscience behind the claims for so many products in our world. Written and presented by Brian Dunning, host and producer of the Skeptoid podcast.(Time: 40 minutes)

Canadian Journalism Project

  • The goal of this site is to enable a national conversation about the achievement of, and challenges to, excellence in Canadian journalism and provide a convenient and trustworthy source of information and commentary.

Marshall McLuhan Speaks

  • In celebration of the centennial of McLuhan's birth, this website is introduced by Tom Wolfe reflecting on the importance of McLuhan's ideas and then offers the chance to hear McLuhan speak directly about his ideas about communications media.


Poetry Everywhere Collection

  • These video segments, on the Teachers Domain website, are drawn from the PBS Poetry Everywhere series. They capture some of the voices of poetry, and provide background information and teaching ideas.

Poetry Foundation

  • An independent literary organization, committed to discovering and celebrating the best poetry and to placing it before the largest possible audience. Includes videos, audio and podcasts and a finding tool for locating poems on particular themes.

Representative Poetry Online

  • A web anthology of 4,800 poems in English and French by over 700 poets spanning 1400 years, from the University of Toronto Libraries.

Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools

  • Designed to make it easy for students to hear or read a poem on each of the 180 days of the school year. Former American poet laureate Billy Collins has selected these poems with high school students in mind. He suggests that they be heard by all members of the school community and provides helpful advice on how to read poetry aloud.

The First World War Digital Poetry Archive

  • Over 7000 items of text, images, audio, and video for teaching, learning, and research. Lots of primary sources about key poets, and the Education section includes over 150 audioclips you can play in the classroom.

Children's Literature Sources

Award Winning Books

Database of Award-Winning Children's Literature

  • A searchable database of over 8,000 award-winning children's books, from 86 awards across six English-speaking countries.

Digital Children's Books

International Children's Digital Library

  • The mission of this site is to give childen access to books in their mother tongue wherever they live. The ICDL collection includes 4365 books in 54 languages. It also contains some dual language books. The English part of the collection is most valuable for historical purposes.

Teaching Ideas

Find Great Children's Books and Authors

  • From the Reading Rockets website, a wealth of helpful resources to excite children about reading: over 80 video interviews with well-known children's authors and illustrators, an author-study toolkit, themed booklists and more.

Book Drum

  • The internet's "first crowd-sourced literary atlas" provides an opportunity for school projects whereby students contribute multiple forms of content related to a book they are studying.

Page by Page: Creating a Children's Book

  • Using real life examples from two Canadian children's books, this site looks in detail at how picture books for children are made. A comprehension lesson plan and worksheets provide the tools to have children in the classroom make their own books.

Exshaw School and Wordfest

  • This promotional video from Calgary's Wordfest event shows the power of exposing students to children's writers and illustrators.

Reviews and Recommendations

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

  • Book reviews, media reviews, news, and author profiles about Canadian children's and young adult materials. Of interest to teachers, librarians, parents and kids.

Deakin Newsletter

  • A monthly online newsletter reviewing the best in new children's books, written by Dr Andrew Deakin from Okanagan College. Searchable by title and the bottom of each newsletter has a cumulative list of links to great children's literature websites.

Wired for Words

  • Provides a place for young avid readers to find recommendations, and share their opinions about, books that are great reads. Organized by age range. The "Featured Books" section is selected by teacher-librarians from the Calgary Board of Education.

Guys Read

  • Suggestions for books that will appeal to 'guys,' from beginning readers to adults. A website developed by popular author Jon Scieszka.

Me Read? No Way

  • A practical guide to improving boys' literacy skills from the Ontario Ministry of Education. A

Apples with Many Seeds

  • Twice a week Doucette staff member, Tammy Flanders, writes blogs about new children's fiction and nonfiction. A great way to stay abreast of interesting new titles.

American Indians in Children's Literature

  • "Provides critical perspectives and analysis of indigenous peoples in children's and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society."

A Year of Reading

  • A blog by two teachers who read a lot (both are also authors of books about reading) and post reviews of great new children's books (and occasionally books about teaching too). Subscribing to this blog would be a great way to keep current about new titles.

CanLit for Little Canadians

  • A blog about Canadian literature for young people, by an Ontario teacher librarian. Helps you keep current with new Canadian titles, but also good for it's links to Canadian publishers and updates on Canadian book awards.


Anti-Censorship Center

  • National Council of Teachers of English offers advice and helpful documents (including The Five Most Helpful Resources)to teachers faced with challenges to literary works, films and videos, drama productions, or teaching methods.

Intellectual Freedom Brochure

  • Created by the American Association of School Librarians Intellectual Freedom Committee this brochure describes why intellectual freedom is important in a school library program, and contains links to many other organizations concerned with intellectual freedom.


Story Arts

  • A rich site that includes reflections about the power of storytelling in the classroom, lessons ideas and collections of stories.


  • Read the text, or hear audio files, of stories appropriate for storytelling, from Storyteller.net.


  • A web-based application that allows students to create professional looking storybooks by starting with the visual - a large number of illustrations that can be incorporated in the narrative.

History of English, Children's Books and Readers

History of English in Ten Minutes

  • Voiced by Clive Anderson, this entertaining romp through 'The History of English' squeezes 1600 years of history into 10 one-minute bites (from Britain's Open University).

Venezky Exhibit

  • A thoughtful online exhibit of the history of American Primers and Readers. As well as exploring it by era, you can look at such themes as the textbook as cultural artifact, the advent of 'silent reading' and phonetics, and the marketing of textbooks.

Baldwin Library of Childen's Literature Digital Collection

  • Browse through digitized historical children's books, organized by genre (alphabet books etc)

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