Review by Polly Conway, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2013

AdLit

A multitude of no-frills literacy support tools for teachers

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Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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Grades
4-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: The site has a wealth of strategies and tools for teachers who want to help students with reading and writing difficulties.

Cons: The site's design and layout aren't very teacher- or kid-friendly, simply because there's so much information to wade through.

Bottom Line: As a free resource, it's a solid site that wholly supports teachers as they get to the bottom of teen reading challenges.

AdLit really has your back, teachers! Their Hot Topics in Adolescent Literacy section covers a ton of challenges you may face while trying to keep teens in the reading loop. Topics include helping English-language learners, gender and diversity issues, and dropout prevention, as well as standard literacy stuff like phonics and comprehension.

From mnemonic ideas to inquiry charts, exit notes, and dozens of others, AdLit's Strategy Library offers ideas and graphic organizers you can use with students through every step of the reading process -- before, during, and after. All documents are downloadable as .doc or .pdf files, so you can adapt them as needed or simply use them on the go. The site's selection of videos are ideal for classroom sharing, and it's a great place to send parents and kids for summer reading ideas or to keep up with literacy learning outside of the classroom.

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AdLit offers information and resources for parents and educators of struggling adolescent readers and writers in fourth through 12th grade. Its content is free and provided by a nationwide multimedia project from WETA, Washington D.C.'s public radio and TV station. From book suggestions to classroom strategies and college-readiness advice, everything here is available to the public.

There's no sign-in required; the site is easy to browse and broken down into sections such as Common Core Classroom, Hot Topics, and Research and Reports, among many others. Rotating features on the home page include segments like "Choosing a Book in the Comfort Zone" and "Thinking About Assessment and Evaluation." The site also hosts videos and webcasts featuring professional development and discussions related to adolescent literacy.

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Teachers who want to help turn reluctant readers into literary buffs will love the wealth of information here. AdLit has really taken time to address a lot of often-overlooked issues that occur after kids have mastered reading basics in the early years of schooling. This idea, referred to as the "fourth-grade slump" –- where kids lose steam because reading assignments become less fun and more academic –- is a large part of what drives the site's purpose and resources.

The site itself won't be appealing to kids (it's pretty text-heavy in spots), and most of the content is really meant to support parents and educators. However, there is a Just for Fun section, where kids can go to play games, enter contests, and take quizzes. Teens will also appreciate the videos featuring favorite young adult writers like R.L. Stine and Lois Lowry. Content is also available in Spanish!

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

While the site itself isn't much fun for kids, the information it gives teachers could translate into super-engaging classroom activities. Design is simple and easy to navigate.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Teachers will find AdLit very useful for helping them reach struggling readers. Content is aimed at giving kids the chance to deeply absorb what they read. There's lots of content for ELL and special needs here, as well.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

Aside from the wealth of content available on AdLit, there are many links to helpful outside resources to help struggling readers. There's no sign-in, membership, or personal data saved on the site.


Common Sense Reviewer
Polly Conway Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Aileen B. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
Van Wyck Junior High School
Wappingers Falls, NY
3
Provides good information for parents and educators regarding literacy. I especially liked the short video clips of a lesson for 6th graders. There were some useful things I took away from it.

I would not use this as a teaching tool persay. I would however use it to gain further knowledge about literacy and best practices. The short video clips gave me some insight into a few things I would do differently now during instruction.

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