Many of my students are reluctant readers and some of them are also working on comprehension goals. It’s usually easy to grab a book and use it to address comprehension goals, but these students immediately stiffen up when they see a book. I have found there are many educational websites that are great for tackling speech therapy comprehension goals without books. Please note that some of these require school district subscriptions or, if they are free, you will have to register to have access to content. If your school district is looking for an interactive resource, you can explore these! There are several different options that you could suggest to administration (I have no relationship with any of the following websites):
I love TumbleBooks because the site tells a story (in English or Spanish) that I can easily pause for opportunities to discuss. TumbleBooks requires a school district subscription; however, your local library may have purchased access, which is how I access it. I can ask my students questions about what we are listening to, ask them to retell what just happened (using past tense), define a word we just heard, make inferences about a character, and make a prediction about what might happen next. At the end there is a “canned” quiz that could be appropriate for certain students as well.
The videos on BrainPop cover all different academic areas and they are fascinating and kid-friendly. It requires school district subscription or purchase an individual subscription. I love how much non-fiction there is on this site too because many of my students are interested in biographies, science, and social studies (and they don’t get those topics very frequently inside the classroom). Each video is narrated by a cute little girl and a robot with cartoon graphics that my students engage with readily. There is a BrainPop Espanol, but it is focused for older elementary students (my students work in Spanish at a K-3 level).
3) BrainPop Jr
BrainPop Jr is best for younger students, just as you would imagine. They cover interesting topics for kids from science to social studies and beyond. Kids love it.
WatchKnowLearn is an index of useful educational videos from YouTube that have been organized by educational topic. I think this website will be my go-to when I want to use a YouTube video with my students so I can avoid wading through YouTube’s content. Grade Level: K-8 (It looks like most of the content is geared for these grade levels)
Of all of the resources I stumbled upon during my research, TeacherTube one was the worst. It seems like any educator can upload a video (so there is a lot of stuff to get through) and there are ads that pop up. I definitely think the search function inside the website helps, but it was kind of overwhelming. I would not recommend, but you should know it exists. Grade Level: PK-12
I’m a big fan of TED talks because I always learn something new when I watch one. The creators of TED realized that many of their videos would be useful in educational settings and created TedEd. Browse a wide variety of interesting and unique topics. Grade Level: 5-12
Simple, preschool stories that are fun and engaging for students. StoryPlace offers many opportunities to check for oral comprehension! Grade Level: PK-K
8) Learn with Homer
Learn with Homer is an iPad app. This app is personalizable. It looks like it could be fun for students. Grade Level: PK-2
9) Raz Kids
Raz Kids is a super popular online program because it presents materials for students at their reading levels. I’ve seen access to RazKids at many different school districts here in Illinois. If you want to use the website in speech therapy, you can simply select a story based upon content (instead of reading level, if it’s not applicable to your student). If your school district has a subscription, you should investigate RazKids and see all the many different ways you could incorporate it in therapy. Grade Level: K-5
10) One More Story
One More Story is such a cute website! When I clicked and sampled a free book, it was neat to see how it read the book to me and that I needed to advance each page with a click. That’s a nice feature because many of these websites advance on their own and can move very fast. There is an iPhone app as well. Grade Level: PK-3
Epic Books is actually quite epic. The library of books contains both fiction and non-fiction books. You can click on the audio to have the book read to you. It will highlight each word as it is read. Additionally, there are Spanish options. This website is well worth every penny. Grade Level: PK-12
Bookshare is free for people with print disabilities. Everything is free on this website, but it is meant for people with print disabilities. I never even knew about this website until I found it while doing research for this blog post. This site would be great for students who need high quality text-to-speech. Grade Level: Variable
I love that you can just click and you will be directed to an immediate reading of a book by a special, and possibility famous, reader. The links stay within Storyline Online framework, but display a YouTube video. Easy to use and immediate — I love this! Grace Leve: K-5
14) International Children’s Digital Library
International Children’s Digital Library is free and no registration is required. Books in languages from all over the word, easily clicked on and perused. This website is more print-based, and less interactive, but it’s so perfect for students who might need support in another language. This website can be recommended to parents as well. Grade Level: PK-12
15) Big Universe
Big Universe requires a subscription. This site has a huge library of ebooks. I was not able to explore it fully because a subscription is required, but I believe it is less interactive than other website. This is a resource your school district should look into and I think it would be great to have access to amazing literature at your fingertips, without having to check it out from the library or lug it from school to school. Grade Level: K-12
16) Book Adventure by Sylvan
I wasn’t able to dig in to Book Adventure because I found the search function, after I logged in, to be a bit clunky. To start, you need to add books to a book list. There were no Spanish books from what I can see. Maybe you will have better success. Grade Level: K-12
17) Storia by Scholastic
I wasn’t able to access Storia fully due to the requirement of having a subscription, but from what I can gather it has a lot of functionalities for users. There is also an iPhone app. Grade Level: PK-5
18) Teaching Books.Net
TeachingBooks.Net website requires a subscription. Search for books for students of all ages and when you find the listing, you click on it and you can see audio versions for all and video versions for many. Grade Level: PK-12
Although there are worksheets that you can print off of ABCTeach, there is an “interactive” tab that has content including PowerPoint, Promethean, and SMARTboards. I would love to explore this more if I had a subscription. Grade Level: PK-5
On Starfall there are many educational games, but they have interactive stories that students can listen to as well. It is very simplistic, but it is perfect for my more severe and hard-to-engage students. This website is free and no registration is required. Grade Level: PK-1
I hope that you were able to take something away from this blog post that you can apply to therapy immediately. Comment below with any website that I might have missed! Thanks!