Non-Fiction Apps
Tools To Improve Reading Comprehension -

Biography Comics
10 Ideas for Using Technology to Teach Writing
FREE DOWNLOAD for Author's Purpose Powerpoint - Click Here
Simple Tools for Arugmentative Writing aligned with Common Core
7 Bibliograghy and Citing Resources -
9 Creative Story Sites
BRAND NEW: Change 28 Boring Words to Awesome Words

6 Popular storytelling tools:

  • **Toontastic** - "You can easily create your own character or use any of the custom-made characters available on Toontastic. Once you have created your own animation, you can also upload it on ToonTube, and share it with your peers." - Monika Arora, Online English and Biology Teacher

  • **Kidblog** - "I really like how Kidblog allows students to have a blog to share their personal thoughts... all while under the control and security of their teachers." - Georgina Chong-You, Teacher/Instructor at School/Home

  • **StoryKit** - Create digital stories with text, drawings, and photos on the iPhone, then share them with teachers, parents, and friends. Includes four public domain children's books that you can rewrite and rearrange into your own story.

  • **ComicBook** - "I have [asked] students to show a sequence of events in a literature study and to construct a short historical recount. Students really enjoy using this app." - Rich Prowse, Primary Teacher/Coordinator

  • **BoomWriter** - "A innovative/fun site for students to engage their writing skills by educational competitive writing." - David Kapuler, Ed Tech Specialist

  • **SonicPics** - "Simple and best tool for creating digital podcasts. Uploads directly to Youtube, which allows students to embed on their blogs." - Billie Napoleon


9 Outstanding Apps to Teach Creative Writing -
Ramping Up Reading with TECHNOLOGY - English Language Arts Teachers who work with pre-teens and teenagers - Resources, activities, and lessons from a HIGH SCHOOL English/LA Teacher - Free LA Lessons some with Common Core ELA

The Effects of Texting on Your Grammar
ESL Writing Site by a teacher -

Here are five tips to get the students writing. Once the pens start moving, the rest is easy (or at least, easier)!
#1. Don’t read their work. I know I know, if a student isn’t going to be held accountable for the work, they won’t do it, right? This is true for some. But many students are afraid to write creatively for fear of having their creativity judged or censored. Sometimes we ask these students to pour their hearts out, and then heartlessly attack their work with red ink. Try asking the students to write just for the sake of writing. Sure, a few students will take advantage of the situation and shirk the responsibility. But many other students may truly benefit from the exercise.
#2. Make it a group effort. Most students are social creatures. Teachers might as well take advantage of this! You might try an activity like this one: Hand each student a blank piece of paper. Ask them to write the best opening line of poetry that they possibly can. You might want to give them a one minute time limit. When everyone has written one line, have everyone pass his or her poem to the right. Then invite the students to read the first lines and write the second line of each poem. Again, pass the poems to the right and write the third line. You can continue this for as long as you like. Then invite the students to read their collective efforts aloud. (Or you may want to read them, so you can edit as you go!) This process may well result in some shenanigans. However, it doesn’t take the students long to realize they have the opportunity to amaze and amuse their classmates, and even if it’s a bit painful for you, the students will be thinking and communicating.
#3. Invite them to imitate the contemporaries. Sometimes we teachers tend to beat our students over the heads with the classics—in other words: the dead writers. While of course the classics will always be important, many students don’t realize that there are people out there right now writing and creating amazing things. When we introduce our students to contemporary writers, we make creative writing a current event, not a history lesson.
#4. Make it PG-13. No one wants to get called into the principal’s office (or worse) for studying racy poems. But a little bit of innuendo can go a long way toward engaging the hormonally motivated student. Go ahead and read something spicy. Go ahead and let them write something spicy. (Just make sure it’s PG-13, not R!)
#5. Slam. Become familiar with “slam” poetry—competitive performance poetry. While the trend makes many a traditionalist shudder, students loveslam poetry. There are slams and slammers all over the country. You might invite one to visit your class, and/or you might schedule your own slam. For whatever reason, a good poetry slam always seems to get the creative juices flowing. (And the public speaking practice doesn’t hurt either!)

Video Games in LA? Yup!!!!! -

Scholastic Story Starters -

9 Golden Rules for Writing - Click Here
12 Free Resources - Click Here
Teacher's Guide to Plagiarism

Word Wall Ideas -

20 Posters for the LA Teacher -

Great Websites to Develop Student's Vocabulary
Common Core differences for ELA.JPG
Why Having Students Read Website Articles is Great Practice of Reading Non-Fiction Stories -
8 Things your ESL Students Need, but Won't tell you! -
Teaching the Writing Process -
Interactive Language App by Rosetta Stone -
Children's Classics being read to students with a storybook to page through at the same time -
Creating Infographics -
Building Infographics -
10 Book to Movie Reviews - (Animal Farm, Fountainhead, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Outsiders, The Phantom Tollbooth, Pride and Prejudice, A Raisin in the Sun, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird, and War of the Worlds)

Poerty site - You might like to let your teachers know that I often do skype visits to classrooms where children are doing my poems. It is a great thrill for the children to have an author visit.

A List of The Best Free Digital Storytelling Tools for Teachers -
Publish your own interactive book for iPad -
Best approach for teachers to help struggling readers over the summer months -
7th Graders publish an iBook - FREE for iPad -!/id521854684?mt=11&goback=%2Egde_2811_member_116811430

Enchanted Liar:A Strange Gift book about fiscal responsibility
4 Ways 1:1 tech can help Writing -
10 Free Text To Speech tools - - Website that helps teachers learn more about teaching reading, also has resources
Works Cited Website -
Day 10 Vocabulary Resouces - - Newest program for middle and high school students
International Children's Digital Library - Very cool - article on LA websites that are easy to use - 30 Ideas to teach Writing
Student Newspaper Templates - - instant feedback on written works - instant feedback on written works
collaborative writing work space
collaborative writing work space

Free Teaching Resources for Read-Alouds -
Twitter in Kindergarten - - blog about children's lit and poetry - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Holt McDougal, and HMH Supplemental Publishers website - you need a login and password - Middle School students around the globe recommended readings - Free Reading is a high-quality, open-source, free reading intervention program for pK-6 grades This site has free Kindle Children stories Download Audacity and start Podcasting or recording your students reading Free eReader Application (eBooks are priced between $1 and $50+) Create a story online This site is for younger students and it helps strengthen their learning skills in playful and fun ways Collaboration with writing where anyone viewing that page can see what is being typed on it in real time Turn your writing into an interesting image like Wordle This site has nursery rhymes available to use and has other activies dealing with rhyming - Collaboration on documents
Digital Storytelling -
external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR1jWZoZQPXukX8lMGBKSUQTSGrsDOlTd47QeBfKvF1WmkdmjSUnA online word processor with real-time collaboration Spelling and Vocabulary activities K-8 games K-3 Online Rhyming Dictionary This site is an online graphical dictionary. For high school students in my opinion. This site is not free but you can use the following log in to check it out - Username: Peteandc1 Password: teacher Interactive online eassy tutorial (3-12) Interactive online paragraph tutorial (3-6) Games K-3 Early Childhood Education Network - Stories read to your students by their favorite authors You will want to check out this link to see how you can use it in your classroom -
Brower Books - Online books for beginner readers - Children's Storybooks Online with quizzes
Nursery Rhymes and Other Rhymes - - Cliffs Notes for Lit Classes Ages 0 - 5
LibriVox - acoustical liberatoin of books in the public domain - Free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 format

READING GRANT - Children's stories read by famous people - ESL/ELL
external image Logo_Square_normal.jpg - online diary or journal that is secure. 13 yrs or older
external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRYxvhIbuC27nIH8a0ma3wk7UurgB3A8-qOgobcnIOF4qxE2ne1 THis site collects, organized, cites, and shares research that you have done. Add PDFs, images, audio, and video files, along with snap shoots of webpages

Twitter in Reading class -
Readability testing - - accomodation tools for kids while reading online, can save to view later, and can bookmark
Lit Circles on iPads -

5 New Apps to Enhance Reading, Writing, and ELA Instruction

A monthly showcase of the latest mobile apps for educators and students. This month's roundup features spelling, reading, and annotation apps to assist with English Language Arts instruction.
  • By [[{ECC72918-3F40-44A6-BB39-4C51AEDBAA45}&ArticleItem={410E347A-53CD-4DED-A55F-DDDB630B0AF5}|Stephen Noonoo]]
  • 05/09/12
  • Happi Pappi offers Happi Reads, a learning game for young readers. Children see a word and three pictures on their screen and try to sound out or read the word in order to match it to the correct word. Correct answers net children a piece of fruit to eat once the level is complete. Currently, the app has 100 words in four levels. $1.99 (free for educators); iPad.
  • The DocAS app, from 9 Square, lets users create, annotate, and export, documents like PDFs, and supports handwriting, drawing, and typing. It also features audio note taking and wireless printing capabilities. Documents export to Dropbox, Google Docs, and other popular sharing sites. Recently, the app was discounted 80 percent for a limited time. $0.99; iPad.
  • Quiet Spark has released an update to its Super Speller 3 app, making it available for both iPhone and iPod Touch, and also adding support for syncing over iCloud. The app lets users add custom word lists that correspond to ones students are currently studying, and then assesses students in a number of ways, including fill in the blank tests and word search puzzles that compile several words. $2.99; iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
  • Coast offers LexiMobile 1.0, an app that includes a large database of words as well as direct links to Wikipedia and many search engines, proving meanings, synonyms, etymologies, and spellings. The app's thesaurus includes a crossword help section. $2.99; iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
  • demografix pty introduces School Writing 1.0, which allows teachers to prepare, and students to complete, writing lessons using written and audio instructions and responses. The app lets teachers prepare lessons using words, audio, or images that students can respond to. For example, teachers can create words with missing letters and pair with images to help assess students. $5.99; iPad.


Writing Help for Teachers:
AcademicMerit created FineTune, which it calls a first-of-its-kind online professional development tool for supporting teachers in the rubric-based evaluation of student writing. According to the company, teachers in a district can use FineTune to work toward calibrating their assessment of students’ writing to match up with a comprehensive rubric, the Common Core standards, and each other. Teachers choose from a database of hundreds of actual student essays and evaluate each essay based on a five-category rubric aligned with the Common Core. They receive immediate, category-by-category comparative scoring and analysis for each essay they score. The, they take built-in assessments to measure the quality of their scoring from the company’s assessment product, Assessments21.
Once they pass these assessments, teachers become approved “readers” for common writing assignments and exams. Supervisors or mentors in the district can use the assessment data to provide focused professional development in support of teachers. The company also acts as a liaison to the district to analyze results and offer suggestions for additional training, as needed.

Recommended Sites for Struggling Readers: Not all are free

English/Spanish Class/French Class/ ect -
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Blogging in Enlgish Class 101- English Vocabulary Building Games Has English games
$3.99 App - Smarty Britches -

English Videos -
SPELLING - 8 Great Tips to Improve Spelling English/Grammar Tests ESL quizzes
www.voki.comYou will want to check out this link first to see how you can use it in your classroom - -
This resource combines giving instructions using visual editing in Kodu (a free download for them to create their own games) with descriptions of character and settings in English.
Bring vocabulary to life - - Cliffs Notes for Foreign Languages - Cliffs Notes for Writting
Interesting Things for ESL Students
Preschool Children - Phonics worksheets for K-2nd grade along with games - ESL, vocabulary, and many other free printable worksheets
ESL Teacher Talk
Watch videos with subtitles or upload your own video and create subtitles - - Phonics Flashcards - Spelling
Create Comic Strips in English, Spanish, French, Serman, Italian, Portugese, and Latin!!! -
Pronounciation Guide -
TypeIt - Type accent marks, diacritics and other characters online
TypeIt - Type accent marks, diacritics and other characters online
type accents and diacritics online

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High School English Apps
Phonics Games for Free -
Promethean Planet Language Arts Resources -
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The Teacher Report: 7 Ways Technology Can Help Emerging Readers
WAT Staff
WAT Staff
on 03-13-201202:31 PM
There's never been a better time to learn to read. And while nothing beats conquering that first storybook, today beginning readers also have access to websites, software, apps, and video that offer a world of literacy practice beyond traditional print material. Plus, some of the most engaging tech tools are low-cost or free. Check out our favorite ideas:

  1. Try a reading app. Most elementary reading apps feel like games, which can take the pressure off students intimidated at tackling an entire book. Share app recommendations with parents, too, so that kids can continue their literacy practice at home.
  2. Take advantage of literacy websites. Sites like and offer free guided reading material, quizzes, and games.
  3. Film your students. Get out your camera and record them reciting the alphabet, sharing sight words, reading a favorite story, or giving a book talk. Share videos with families so that students know they should be proud of their reading abilities. Make follow-up videos at the end of the year so that students can see their progress.
  4. Increase motivation through e-readers. For some students, an e-reader may be the key to a lifelong love of reading. The slick format and shiny buttons have the feel of a video game or other cool gadget. And you don’t need an e-reader for every student—start with one or two and offer a checkout system.
  5. Use hands-on tools in centers. Play sight word “tag” with the Leap Frog Tag Reading System or have students use a digital camera to take photographs of objects with names that contain a certain letter or blend.
  6. Bring books to life via an interactive whiteboard. Help kids to see the world beyond the story by visiting the author’s website, “flying” to the site of the book via Google Earth, and connecting to related nonfiction concepts. (Tip: One fantastic resource is Zaner Bloser's Voices Literature and Writing program where you can download free interactive whiteboard lessons to go along with early childhood books.)
  7. Use technology to enhance RTI. Leverage your existing reading software by collecting and analyzing the data it captures so that you can more accurately level and challenge your students.

Question for you: How do you use technology to support your beginning readers?

“How do you use non-fiction books to build literacy and comprehension skills in your classroom?” 241 answers to that question

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4 Steps to Facilitati​ng High-Level Discussion​s of Literature With Young Students
WAT Staff
WAT Staff
3 weeks ago
students smiling at camera
students smiling at camera
Anyone who loves reading will tell you that a great discussion about a story or book can change you—both as a reader and as a person. Even young students can build critical thinking skills and learn to value civic discourse through a properly led discussion. Here are 4 ways you can facilitate discussions that will result in intellectual growth in your young students.

  1. Train Yourself. Before just jumping into a literature discussion, spend some time studying best practices for classroom discourse. One method we've found that really helps students of all ages is Shared Inquiry, a discussion method that uses shared problem solving to lead students to deep understanding of tough concepts. (Tip: If you want to know more about Shared Inquiry, there are some outstanding professional development courses available for teachers. Click here to learn more.)
  2. Scaffold Learning. Before you can have an effective discussion, young readers need to learn the ins and outs of civic discourse. Read up on the guidelines to great discussion (click here for an excellent article) or, since modeling is often the best way to learn, stage a "practice" discussion using a story or book that everyone in your class knows and loves. As you practice, your students will learn how to ask appropriate questions, share opinions, agree and disagree respectfully and think deeply about the topics they learn about as they read.
  3. Make It Routine. Once your kids catch on to the idea of discussing literature, make discussions a normal part of your classroom routine. For example, set aside 30 minutes every Friday as your "weekly book club discussion group" and dedicate that time to talking about a certain story or book. You'll find that your students start eagerly anticipating these discussions. You may even ask them to nominate stories or articles they’d like to discuss.
  4. Choose the Right Stories or Books. It can be a bit tricky to balance a love of all things literary with the knowledge that all books don't lead to great book discussions. The most important quality in a literary work that leads to a ful­filling discussion is ambiguity: a story or book must have multiple interpretations that can be sup­ported with evidence from the text. (Need ideas? Here's a list of books that have been recommended to facilitate discussions for each grade level.)

5 Ways That You Can Take Read-Aloud Literature to the Next Level
WAT Staff
WAT Staff
on 03-07-201202:37 PM
teacher reading a book
teacher reading a book
“I would not eat them on a boat! I would not eat them with a goat!”

“One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and POP!—out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number Four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
Read-alouds have the power to captivate kids at any age—you probably still remember phrases from the treasured titles that your parents and teachers once read to you. Have you ever glanced up at your students while you were in the midst of a magical tale from a foreign land or a swashbuckling adventure? What did you see? Eyebrows furled in thought? Eyes wide, transfixed by the story? Minds churning as they process what's happening and what might happen next? Read-aloud stories are so much more than a literacy-building tool; if used correctly, they can create a framework that will not only boost academic achievement but also promote a love of learning that will go beyond your students' school years. Here are 5 ways you can use read-aloud books to infuse students with a zest for literature that is so vital to academic success.
  1. Build Critical Thinking Skills. Use read-aloud literature to help your students learn to solve problems. Pause mid-story to ask your students how they would proceed if they were the main character. Or, use plot maps or conflict charts (print out free materials here) to help assess the best solution to the problem presented in the book.
  2. Go Beyond Reading. Encourage active participation in the story by including listening, speaking, thinking, and response writing activities, such as enacting a scene from the book, brainstorming ways to solve the main character’s conflict, having partners share a personal story that relates to the main character’s choices, or asking students to respond in writing to a prompt/question that relates to the story.
  3. **Introduce Your Students to New Authors**. Read literary works from diverse authors so that your students can be exposed to various voices, cultures, places and themes—and through that exposure, can start to build a framework around their own viewpoints.
  4. Get Digital. Explore all facets of your classroom literature by utilizing technology in your lessons. Go online and find related videos, writing prompts, images and more. Some literacy-building programs, like Voices Literature & Writing, package graphic organizers, digital content, MP3s, interactive whiteboard lessons, and more with classroom literature.
  5. Provide Next Steps. Don't just stop with one story. Instead, provide your students with access to additional books and materials that explore similar or related topics and encourage them to read, to explore, and to learn.

“What reading strategies do you use in your classroom to encourage emergent readers?”

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7 Good Resources for Learning a New Language

Yesterday, after publishing my post about BBC Quick Fix, I received a few emails asking me for other resources that can be used to learn a new language. Those emails prompted me to round up a selection of the language learning resources that I have reviewed over the years. What follows is a list of 7 good resources for learning a new language.
external image learn_lang.pngLearn a Language offers flashcards and games for learning eight different languages. Learn a Language offers activities in Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, French, Japanese, Chinese, and English. The format for Learn a Language is the same for all eight languages. Users select a language then choose if they want to study individual words or phrases. Whichever they choose the format that follows is the same. Users can study flashcards then play a game called Lingo Dingo. Lingo Dingo requires players to accurately type a word or phrase before it disappears. The object of the game is to construct a dingo by earning points for correctly typed words and phrases.
external image Screen+shot+2011-01-09+at+4.25.37+PM.pngiMendi is a nice little site for practicing vocabulary in the languages you're trying to learn. iMendi offers support for nine languages. You can now practice vocabulary in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Russian, Arabic, and Czech. To use iMendi just select the language you speak and select the language you want to learn. iMendi then gives you the choice of choosing a lesson (level 1, level 2, etc) or trying a randomly chosen lesson. The "lessons" are really just simple vocabulary matching exercises with a score and the correct answers revealed at the end.
external image Picture+27.pngHello World provides games and activities for students to develop their knowledge of foreign languages. Hello World has games and activities in nine languages including Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese. Not all of the games and activities are free, but enough of them are free to warrant listing as a good place for free learning activities.
external image Picture+11.pngVerbs Online provides foreign language students with a good selection of activities for practicing verb conjugations. Practice activities are available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese. The practice activities deal with the past, present, and future tenses of regular and irregular verbs. Students can choose to do the activities in sets of ten through fifty practice items.
external image Picture+4.pngLangMedia, produced by Five Colleges Incorporated, provides resources for learning languages less-commonly offered by high schools and colleges in the US. Some of the languages for which LangMedia offers educational resources are Arabic, Bulgarian, Persian, Thai, and Urdu. For these languages LangMedia provides course outlines, practice dialogues, and lists of resources necessary for completing the requirements of each course. In addition to resources for learning languages, LangMedia offers a section called Culture Talk. LangMedia Culture Talk is a collection of video clips of interviews and discussions with people from many different countries, of different ages and from different walks of life. The videos are intended to give viewers insight into the cultures of peoples around the globe. Some of the videos feature English speakers while other videos do not. Those videos that are not in English are accompanied by a written English transcript.
external image study_stream.pngStudy Stream is a service for learning to read and speak Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese. Study Stream takes an interesting approach to helping people learn these languages. The centerpiece of the Study Stream system is a collection of videos and articles in the language that you're trying to learn. The videos and articles are accompanied by side-by-side translations to help you follow along. From each video or article you can select words and phrases that you want to study through the study exercises provided by Study Stream.
external image Screen+Shot+2012-06-13+at+11.54.19+AM.pngBBC Quick Fixoffers a selection of essential phrases for forty languages. The list of phrases varies slightly for each language, but they all include greetings and other essential polite phrases like "I'm sorry I don't speak Icelandic." All lists can be printed. You can also hear all of the phrases pronounced. The pronunciations can be downloaded as MP3 files to take with you on your iPod or phone.This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers.

8 Great Free Tools to Improve your Ss Spelling Skills

Yesterday, Snigdha Nandipali won the National Spelling Bee Championship to become the best American speller of the year 2012. It is pretty amazing how a young girl in her age could reach this towering achievement, it is as she said herself a miracle. I heard this piece of news on the radio as I was driving back home from work yesterday and the first thing I did when I logged on was I checked in Google for National Spelling Beewebsite. To my susrprise I found that the website itself is a great resource which deserves a fair review here.

There are sections for teachers, parents and students , and a column where you can learn more about the past spelling champions. There is also a section called " take the test " where you can test your spelling skills. Believe me if you think you are a good speller and have not yet tried that section then think again. You might probably be surprised to find that you are not the spelling geek you thought you are.

Talking about spelling skills, Richard Byrne has compiled a great list of activities that are designed to improve your students spelling performance. After going through the list I picked up the ones below.

1- Spelling Matchexternal image spelling+bee.png
This is a great game where learners can improve their spelling based on matching activities. It has different levels and grades.

2- Building Language for Literacyexternal image building+language+for+literacy.png
Scholastic provides three awesome games to improve spelling skills. Leo Loves to Spell ( students help Leo find the correct letter ), Reggie Loves to Rhyme ( Rhineceros needs help finding the the words rhyming with different objects ), and the third one is called Nina the Naming Newt which also needs help identifying objects that belong to various places.

This one here has 6 word games and some of them are spelling activities such as : Miss Spell's Class.

4- Vocabulary Spelling Cityexternal image spelling+city.png
This is a great website for both spelling and vocabulary practice. It includes more than 42.000 spellimg words and takes into consideration the spelling differences between the American and British English ( colour/color, favourite/favourite ). It also provides the correct pronunciation of every word mentioned there.

5- Spell Beeexternal image spellbee.png

Spell Bee provides different spelling games for students to play. Teachers have the option to create accounts for their students in order to track their performance.

6- Spelling Bee The Gameexternal image spelling+bee6.png
This is an awesome game where students get to practice their spelling abilities. It has different levels of difficulty and students move up the scale upon spelling words correctly. It also offers pronunciation for words students find hard to spell.

7- Catch the Spelling
free spelling tools for teachers
free spelling tools for teachers

This one resembles one of the tools I mentioned in The Best Free Tools to Help you Improve your Typing Skills. Catch the Spelling is basically a set of several spelling games with more or less the same format. Students watch their computer screens as words fall down from the top, they have to catch the right letters in the correct sequence to spell the word shown to them.
8- Kids Spell

free spelling tools for teachers
free spelling tools for teachers

This is another awesome website where students get to learn and improve their spelling skills via a plethora of games.

Supporting ESL Students: Resources and Tips for Mainstream Teachers -

More Games to Improve Spelling:
• Word Scrambles • Spelling Survivor • Word Wizard • Bouncing Letters • Word Scramble • Letter Blocks • Word Search
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The Rise of Digital Books
The Rise of Digital Books

Promethean Planet Spelling Lessons -