YA Clicks June 2010

Literacy Sites

Rebecca Purdy and the Web Surfers from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library

June 2010

In honor of this issue’s Literacy theme, the Web Surfers and I looked for sites where reading, writing, and the Web intersect.  Enjoy these recommendations!

5I 5R 4U M J S

This girl-centered Web site features monthly “Book Picks” that include author interviews, book discussion questions, and “Party It Up,” ideas like dying your hair with kool-aid (after getting parental permission of course!) in celebration of Lisa Yee’sAbsolutely Maybe! The featured author handpicks free music to go with her book; available right from the site.  The “Read, Reflect, Reach Out” section recommends relevant sites to further enhance the reading.  For example, the post for No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia suggests sites where teens can learn more about female genital mutilation and how they can help.  Monthly author chats and free, printable promotional materials are further evidence why this site was chosen by ALSC and recognized as a “Great Web Site.”

60 Second Recap
Dimsum Media, Inc.
5I 4R 5U M J S

Classic literature has never been so fun!  The hostess, “Jenny,” presents several 60 second videos for each featured title covering everything from the characters to the motifs to the subtexts.  Not sure what some of those terms mean?  No worries!  Jenny’s done a video explaining each.  There are also videos to explain how to “Write a Paper that Won’t Put Your Teacher to Sleep” and a “Pick of the Week” featuring a review of recommended books for teen pleasure reading.  While “Jenny” gets her point across, she does it in such a humorous way students will forget they are learning!

Through YA Eyes

4I 4R 5U M J S

Librivox provides pre-teens and teens with a resourceful way to listen to audio books on your own time and at your own pace. It is user friendly; easy to navigate, download audio, and understand.  The design and layout was very welcoming and modern which is good for the age group it’s trying to attract, drawing them into the site and making them want to listen to lots of different titles.  The site even has a current events page!  Once you leave this site you will feel accomplished and satisfied.—Emily Diehl

Academy of American Poets
5I 4R 5U S

This Web site offers a database related to the craft of poetry, all arranged in a well constructed, colorful, and easy to use interface. Poets.org is an archive of poetry and poets dedicated to giving facts, poems, and lists of upcoming literary events (there’s even an iPhone application!)  It also serves as a reliable resource whose information is subjected to the scrutiny of America’s top poetry scholars. It provides readers with poetry related subjects in a variety of ways that make spending time browsing through its many sections an enjoyable experience. One of my favorite aspects is that upon entering it for the first time, you are greeted with a short stanza or poem; in this way, the viewer is immediately immersed in poetry even if they had arrived by chance. The navigation is very simplistic since the site utilizes a main bar of directories at the top, each with its own drop-down list of specific pages.  Overall, this site masterfully fuses reading, writing, and the literature community into a convenient, easy to use Web site; I would highly recommend this site to any poetry enthusiast.—Parker Rowland

One Sentence, true stories told in one sentence
3I 5R 5U M J S

This site offers fascinating stories that consist of one simple sentence.  The purpose is to shine upon one’s creativity and brilliance.  In this site people around the world post their story in one short flash of a sentence that encloses pages and pages worth of words.  As soon as you enter the site you are pulled right into the latest posted stories with the option to rate as you wish.  The stories are so consuming, that they can draw you in and not release you for hours.  My favorite quality is how it does not require a login except when you desire to submit a sentence story of your own, but even then they only ask for your name and email.  The layout is effortless and not overwhelming; the content is updated constantly.  This Web site is truly inspiring for people of all ages and intends to let your mind stroll and find the rest of the story concealed beneath the small stroke of words.—Kiyomi Keen

3I 3R 4U M J S

As the Center for the Book’s new Web site, Read.Gov provides users with an online directory of essential literary items such as books, authors, and specific events, all encouraging an engaging interest in literature among users. Designed to provide a multitude of multimedia literary resources, the site includes author Webcasts, lists of books and categories, online reading, connection to the highly-informative Library of Congress database, and links to essay contests for young adults.  One of the site’s primary assets is its appeal and availability to all age groups with sections designated for all ages. Navigation is not a problem at all given the well-organized list of Web tabs sorting resources by age group and content by specific classification. Though not necessarily recreational, the layout is manageable with simple modes of searching for material that makes the site a potentially good first-start for book and author searches. The site provides up-to-date content with events at the Library of Congress and updates on new works published and recommended. Read.Gov does address its overall goal of promoting further literary interest through use of multimedia functions, though it leaves one yearning for more specific informational material that would make the site a truly reliable source. As a new site, however, there are still possibilities for expansion and improvement in the future.—James Paulose

Save the Words!
5I 4R 5U J S

How many times have you been called a mingent snollygoster?  A gleimous philargyrist?  Words such as these are going out of fashion fast, to the point where Microsoft Word Spellcheck marks them incorrect.  Yet gleimous, medioxumate, mingent, and snollygoster are all words that can be found in an Oxford English Dictionary, and could be part of our daily vocabulary.  Savethewords.org is trying to prevent the extinction of marvelous words like these.  When viewers first arrive atsavethewords.org, they are greeted by a screen jam-packed with bizarre words on colorful backgrounds.  Words call out phrases such as “Pick me, pick me!” and “You want me!” to the viewer.  A definition of a word can be found by clicking on it.  The site is simply organized, making it easy to navigate and understand.  As part of their word-preserving motivation, savethewords.org asks users to adopt a word and pledge to use it in everyday conversation.  Suggestions for how to use new words are given.  Users are also given the option to sign up to receive a new word a day.  Savethewords.org is a fun way to expand one’s vocabulary and bamboozle friends and family in the process.  Although not for everyone, it is right up any word-lover’s alley.  Through the Internet, savethewords.org is attempting to save our language.  After all, why should we allow ourselves to be robletted from our rightful hirquitalliency?—Elizabeth Chase

5I 5R 5U J S

When your friends advise you to go to SparkNotes to help you study for your next Great Gatsby test or Shakespeare mid-term, they know what they’re talking about. It could be one of the greatest online study tools ever created for high school students because it has everything and I mean everything. Whether you need to study for literature, math, psychology, computer science, government, it’s all there. Each of the subjects is broken up into several fundamental areas students need. The information contained in each, covers all the basic material needed in order to fully grasp the subject. Whatever a student is looking for, s/he will be able to find it because SparkNotes is very well organized and easy-to-use. All one needs to do is to scroll to the top of the page and use the helpful navigation bars. SparkNotes isn’t just a study tool; it can be a recreational one as well. This Web site offers many types of articles, blogs, and activities where students can take their mind off of school and recuperate. Whether you feel the urge to converse with like-minded individuals or take a few personality or relationship tests, it’s all there. Now, SparkNotes isn’t an excuse to not pay attention in class or neglect reading your textbooks, but it definitely helps in mastering the key concepts of any subject.—Chris Yang

Kudos for Library Teen Sites

Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library (NC)

This recently revamped Web site is colorful, easy to use and welcoming.   The home page features revolving photos of teens enjoying themselves at library programs.  A box for visitors to IM with a librarian is immediately visible and there is easy access to the teen Facebook page and upcoming programs.  Along the top, you will find the expected components with some unique twists.  There is a “Student Pay Off” plan for library fines; teens can attend library programs or do proctored reading in the library.  The “Express Yourself” section features videos and music created by teens with library equipment.  LibraryLoft is an accessible, teen friendly resource.

Rebecca Purdy is the Youth Services Manager at the Headquarters Library of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  The Web Surfers are a collection of teens willing to volunteer some of their time to see their names in print and help young adult librarians find good sites for their library blogs and Web pages.


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