FREE Resources in Lang Arts

from Educators' eZine

More than 30 Federal agencies formed a working group in 1997 to make hundreds of federally supported teaching and learning resources easier to find. The result of that work is the FREE web site. FREE stands for Federal Resources for Educational Excellence. The web sites listed below are excerpted with permission from the FREE web site. This month, we highlight web sites for language arts; in other months, we feature other subject areas.

Mark Twain's Mississippi
examines what the Mississippi Valley meant to people in the 1800s and how these meanings influenced Twain's writing. Learn about economic development, politics, race, religion, culture, and the idea of "the West." Read a biography of Clemens. Find the full text of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Life on the Mississippi. (Northern Illinois University, Institute of Museum and Library Services)

Poets and Writers
is a source of information and inspiration for creative writers. It features Poets & Writers Magazine and includes a discussion forum, a database of writers, and advice about publishing and copyright issues. A teachers guide offers a place to discuss essays on writing and teaching. (Poets & Writers, National Endowment for the Arts)

Children's Literature: Digitized Print Materials
provides 50 digitized texts of rare books: The Arabian Nights, A Child's Garden of Verses, Ballad of the Lost Hare, A Christmas Carol, Humpty Dumpty, The Grasshopper Stories, Mother Goose Finger Plays, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Rocket Book, The Secret Garden, Stories from Hans Andersen, The Three Bears, Three Little Pigs, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and others. (Library of Congress)

Language Resource Centers
is a gateway to 15 centers that support foreign language instruction. Led by nationally and internationally recognized language professionals, the centers create language-learning materials, offer professional development workshops, and conduct research. Some centers concentrate on specific language areas; others focus on foreign languages in general. (Department of Education)

National Capital Language Resource Center
features "The Essentials of Language Teaching," an online publication on goals and methods for teaching a foreign language. Chapters explain how to plan lessons, motivate students, assess learning, and how to teach listening, speaking, writing, grammar, and culture. "Teacher's Corner" includes answers to questions on classroom management, teaching culture, vocabulary activities, and learning a foreign language. (Department of Education)

Poetry Out Loud
is a national recitation contest aimed to encourage memorization and performance of great poems. Find contest information, recordings of 35 lectures and poetry readings, and texts of 450 poems by 250 poets—Dickinson, Donne, Dove, Eliot, Frost, Hughes, MacLeish, Keats, Shakespeare, Stevens, Wordsworth, Yeats, and others. (The Poetry Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts)

The Big Read
encourages communities to read and discuss novels. Teacher guides, discussion questions, and other information are provided for Fahrenheit 451, My Antonia, The Great Gatsby, The Maltese Falcon, A Farewell to Arms, Their Eyes Were Watching God, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Grapes of Wrath, The Joy Luck Club, The Age of Innocence, and Bless Me, Ultima. (National Endowment for the Arts)

Colorin Colorado
is designed for parents and teachers who are helping Spanish-speaking children learn to read in English. Find activities to help children learn about sounds, letters, and words. Use tips and materials to help children develop skills in reading. (Available in English and Spanish.) (Colorin Colorado, Department of Education)