Sunday, November 4, 2012

Reading Between the Pixels

At my last trip to the public library, I found a DVD of children's stories being read aloud. A story we just read, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers was featured. Having been only four years old when Phillipe Petit made his daring walk between the Twin Towers, I was not familiar with the story. After reading the book, our whole family was intrigued by this stunt. I snatched up the DVD and surprised the kids with it.

We ended up watching this particular DVD at least two times. There are three other stories after The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. There are several reasons why I liked this DVD. As the narrator read the story, the words were highlighted on the screen. The camera panned over the illustrated pictures throughout the book. There were no added caricatures or moving parts. The focus was on the words and pictures and not on added frills and thrills.

At some point, I realized Ben was still hanging with us. Usually, our family movie nights are interrupted by Ben leaving the room because he is not interested in what we are watching. He crawls to his room and waits while I turn on something he enjoys.

The next story on this DVD was about Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, another remarkable true story beginning in the late 1850's in London. Once again Ben showed continued interest in the story.

Now I have another new mission in life - find more of these kinds of DVDs for Ben to watch. My mom reminded me that there are free websites with books being read aloud. Ben's computer now has Internet so last night I set him up on his bed, and together we watched Arthur, The Lady with the Alligator Purse, Edward and the Pirate and a few more.

Of course there is no substitute to reading to your children, and I intend to continue doing so with Ben. This, however; opens up a new avenue for Ben to learn. Ben's latest IEP is more challenging, with goals that both surprise and excite me. If they are raising the bar at school, we need to do so at home.

Once I started looking, I found so many sites for books being read aloud. Some are homemade and some are professional. It will depend on what your child likes. Here are a few of the sites I found:

Magic Keys
Elementary Books
Just Books Read Aloud - No frills, but also no ads or distractions.
Pinterest Books Read Aloud

There are some websites that require the child to touch the screen or use a mouse for each word to be read. Depending on your child's level of development, there are options for more challenging and interactive reading. Feel free to send more sites my way so I can post for others to see.

And if Phillipe Petit's story touched you, here's a bonus:
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