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Online research for very young children - suggestions

Online research for very young children - suggestions

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I am a technology teacher for k and 1. I would love to find a good way to give my beginning readers the experience of searching for information on the Internet. Can anyone recommend an online encyclopedia that would be easy for my students, ideally one that would read the articles to them? Would you recommend some other way to fulfill this ISTE standard with my little ones? Thanks!

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Jane Allison's picture
Jane Allison
Computer Technology Teacher

Wow! Thank you. I'll look at them all and report back. I agree we need resources for emerging readers. Often they are very capable on the computer but are hindered by very reading intensive sites. I would love to know how to create the resources to fill this need.

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
Teaching Middle School 'Technology, Engineering & Design' in Northfield, NJ

Hi Jane! Finding research sites designed for non-readers is a challenge! Whitney has done a good job highlighting some of the best resources out there. I have used in the past, it's not the best, but there are plenty of pictures to go with the text, and depending how you structure the lesson, it could work.

Another alternative would be to create your own, using a visual tool like - you would need to build a collection of sites, but you can 'nest' the tiles, so it might work, again, depending on your objectives.

Still another option would be to create a website with simple graphics and text to guide the students, something like this:

Hope this helps!


Ashley Cronin's picture
Ashley Cronin
Digital Resource Curator

Hello Jane! I got this suggestion from a first grade teacher on Twitter: World Book Web: World Book Kids. Just a note: it is subscription-based, though it does look like you can get a free trial to determine if it fits your needs. Best of luck!

Jenny Lussier's picture
Jenny Lussier
Library Media Specialist K-4 for Region 13 in CT

Jane - I work at a K-2 school and my students use PebbleGo databases and Worldbook. They are very good at using these digital resources. I have found that many search engines, even those designed for younger children, are still very difficult for them to use. My teachers use these with their students all the time. They have read aloud features, movies, photos, timelines, and much more. Both of these cost money, but in my opinion it is money well spent. It is amazing to see what they can accomplish independently.

Laura DElia's picture
Laura DElia
Elementary School Librarian in Burlington, MA

Hi Jane,
I also recommend PebbleGo! Britannica also offers Learning Zone for very young learners. My state library board of commissioners provides it for free for me so you may want to check with your state. Also, consider asking your librarian to provide ebooks for your students. You will find a lot more age appropriate materials in ebooks than in web sites or databases. If accessed through an iPad, the Speak Selection feature will read any text on the screen.

Whitney, there aren't many resources available for young students because having young children do research digitally hasn't been all that common. We librarians are trying to change that!

Jane Allison's picture
Jane Allison
Computer Technology Teacher

I will look into PebbleGo. I am familiar with world book kids from our middle school and I may be able to use that as well. I really want the kids to get excited about finding information digitally from the larger world. It still excites ME :)

Thanks for your help!

Jane Allison's picture
Jane Allison
Computer Technology Teacher

Thank you so much! I don't think we have access to Britannica, but I'll check. We do have ebooks, but I'd like the kids to have an age appropriate experience in searching for information if possible.

Jane Allison's picture
Jane Allison
Computer Technology Teacher

I took a look at all the suggestions and I think PebbleGo would be ideal for us. Unfortunately it's very expensive and I doubt our district will go for it, but I'll try. As an alternative, we have access to World Book Kids, but the computer voice it uses is a bit off-putting.

Thanks everyone!

Jenny Lussier's picture
Jenny Lussier
Library Media Specialist K-4 for Region 13 in CT

Jane, you may want to start with just one of the 4 databases. Or do the free trial. Sometimes if you can prove to admin that it is important (CCSS standards, ISTE, etc) and teacher/student friendly, they are able to find a way.

Best of luck!

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