Tar Heel Reader


Tar Heel Reader is a fun and easy to use website that lets you make your own short books with pictures AND lets you look at other people’s books. The literacy center teamed up with the computer studies department at UNC-Chapel Hill to make it and I have been using it since graduate school.

To search for and look at books made by other people, all you need to do is type the search terms and voila! You can look at any of the books, print them, or have the computer read them aloud to you and the child(ren). These books have been written by people all over the world and you can find books written in different language.  People have written books about pretty much every topic you can think of.  I recently searched for things like Thanksgiving, autumn, and Hanukkah and found lots of choices. These are easy to adapt for children of varying language abilities.

To create your own book, you need to sign up.  It is free, easy, and you do not need to give private information.  You will need an invitation code, which we can give to you, so let us know (email or comment) if you would like it.  The next step to creating a book is to search for pictures you want.  The search engine does have a content filter. You can order the pictures any way you want and then write a sentence, or two or three, on whichever pages you would like.

You can use these books to introduce vocabulary/concepts in a classroom or even to go along with specific books you have read. If you are working on a craft/activity, you can search for pictures of materials or even upload your own photos to make instruction booklets.  This is useful for many of our children, who are visual learners. Also, you can upload photos from trips, projects, or special activities to tell a story about what happened.  You can work on sequencing, verb tenses, and vocabulary!



Magic Tricks!

Magic tricks can be a fun activity to target language skills.  As your child learns the magic trick, he or she can share the new trick with a friend or family member.  There also is a great deal of communication happening during the task, such as problem solving, following directions, etc.  After learning the magic trick, your child could perform the magic trick in front of the family.  Taking pictures or recording the magic trick will help your child with his or her narrative skills and sequencing skills, too!

Check out the magic tricks at the link below: