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The New
By Donna McCormick

International Reading Association's 55th Annual Convention

Chicago, April 25th-28th, 2010

The New

During the Convention, I attended an excellent session titled "Using the New in Your Classroom" presented by Bridget Hilferty, the project manager of this site from Newark, Delaware and her assistant, Lisa Fink from Urbana Illinois. is co-produced by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English and is funded by the Verizon Foundation. It is a very popular site for teachers and gets about one and a half million hits per month. Twenty percent of these hits are from International users. Very recently, the site has been redesigned with many new features.

The top 10 new features of the site were highlighted during the session and are listed below:

#10. Timely Resources and News Right from the Homepage.

( A quick link to recently posted information.)

#9. Improved Search and Filtering Capabilities.

( A coloured strip has been added down the side of the page to help filter key words

in order to achieve more specific results.)

#8. What's Popular: Classroom-Ready and Easy-To-Use Resources

( The most popular, most emailed, most viewed and most shared resources such as

lesson plans, calendar activities, graphic organizers and professional development

activities for parents and teachers are included here. )

#7. Share Capabilities

( Share your lesson plans etc. as you would on sites such as Facebook, MySpace,

Yahoo Buzz, Newsvine, Linkedin, Reddit, Mixx, Digg, or Propeller. )

#6. Aligned to State Standards for the English Language Arts

( Tabs for lesson plans available here but only aligned to USA standards ( K-12 ).

BCLCIRA will be in communication with the site's project manager and IRA's

Executive Director to discuss the possibility of adding Canadian Provincial

standards to the site. )

#5. Ability to Add and Read Comments

( A scan filter is used to monitor comments and modify suggestions so they are

made appropriate before posting. )

#4. More Faces: Ability to Learn More About Authors, Reviewers and Users

( Educators are invited to contribute to the site and share their successes, lesson

ideas and skills with the global literacy community. For further information, visit

the IRA website at, click on Publications, and follow the For

Authors link. Canadian content is particularly welcome! )

#3. Professional Development Integrated in the Site from IRA and NCTE

( Here you will find strategy guides on effective teaching practices,

links to DVD's, journal articles and a professional library of books where you can

explore topics in more depth. You can also view dates for up-coming meetings,

conferences and events.)

#2. Expanded Parent and After School Section

( Located in this section are tips that show parents how to engage their children in

literacy strategies at home; learning activities for parents and after school providers

to reinforce the concepts you are teaching in class; podcasts about the best books

for children and teens along with engaging activities for before and after reading;

and online games relate to literacy learning. All of this information is printable and

shareable ).

#1. Officially All Around Better Per The Experts

( Official Honoree of the 2010 Webby Award ). is a favorite online destination for over a million teachers and now that it has been redesigned and improved it is even better and easier to use. The site delivers free, Internet-based content to help you turn proven reading and language arts theory into best classroom practices. It is well worth taking the time to browse the site. BCLCIRA would like to see more Canadian content added to the site so if you have any suggestions on how to proceed with this goal, please contact us and we will pass along your ideas and comments.

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