Welcome to Planet Zoop – Reading Comprehension Made Fun

Feb 14, 2008 by

The other morning I had the opportunity to check out a number of websites during one of my probationary teacher meetings. We were given a choice between a few websites about reading comprehension and resource websites for new teachers. The website that focused on reading comprehension website had spaceships, castles, and pirates, so my choice was obvious; I’m a sucker for spaceships and pirates.

Into the BookAnd so it was I found myself engrossed with Into the Book, a fantastic resource for helping k-4 students and teachers focus on reading comprehension. By using clever stories and engaging plotlines, students are led through 8 different reading strategies without the need for a basal or special packet of stories. By incoporating engaging stories that involve flying through space to explore new planets or following the heroic adventures of folk heroes, Into the Book makes reading strategies like Summarizing, Inferring, and working with Prior Knowledge an adventure, rather than a menial task.

I thoroughly enjoyed adventuring through the Evaluating lessons, as I got to explore a new solar system, and decide which planet would be most suitable for human colonization. My fascination with science fiction aside, throughout the Evaluation lessons, I was referred back to the small library of books I had on board ship, and was given certain criteria to look for (fuel for my rocket ship, interesting landforms, friendly aliens, etc.). I was then given the task of looking through the books (which were no more than 3 or 4 pages long) to determine if they had the information I needed to make a good decision. A rather nice little floating bar of stars appeared on screen, and I could evaluate each book, whether it be an atlas of the galaxy, a book on aliens, or a sci-fi comic book, on a 4 star basis. At the end of the lesson, they let me look at how I had rated each book on the criteria using a handy little spreadsheet, and you could quickly see which book was best suited for the job at hand. If you don’t finish the task in time, you have a nice login that you’re given at the beginning of the adventure so you can continue at any time. And the best part is; it’s all FREE!

It’s difficult to describe, but a site that’s well worth a look to help your students work on reading and comprehension strategies. If you enjoy Starfall Reading, than Into the Book would make an excellent companion site!

4 Comments

  1. Rosemary Gabel

    THis looks worthwhile to explore.. reading comprehension always needs more work with our students. Thanks for the direction.

  2. Karen G.

    This is a great site for a classroom teachers use both to teach the reading strategies and to assess student understanding. A Smartboard would be a great tool to use to teach this site to your students. Thanks for sharing it. I’ll pass it along to teachers in my school.

  3. Kelley F.

    This website fits perfectly with the reading comprehension strategies that I am teaching to my fourth grade students as they participate in literature circles. I have used it with my students and have found that the website was very easy for them to use. They really enjoyed practicing these reading strategies in a new context. Thank you for sharing this site!

  4. Most tests of comprehension are satisfied to provide levels of comprehension they lack provisions for targeting specific comprehension needs. Two of the three most fundamental aspects of comprehension and cognition are ignored. There is a 21st Century method of assessment that will greatly assist teachers in diagnosing and correcting several aspects of comprehension. It is called the Informal Reading- Thinking Inventory or IR-TI (Manzo, Manzo & McKenna 1995, 2004, Cengage publishers). The IR-TI with years of research in the making is organized around the three most fundamental abilities to comprehend, namely the assessment and comparison of abilities to read the lines, read between the lines and read beyond the lines. This instrument puts a sharper point on comprehension needs. This multifaceted instrument has proven especially useful in working with second language learners. Uniquely it also helps to identify weaknesses in seemingly proficient readers and strengths in weaker readers.

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  1. Online K-4 Reading Resource « Your Mileage May Vary - [...] by some Wisconscin public educator organizations and is very well done. Oh, and FREE! Read the nice overview and…

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