Girl reading on computer

Reading websites for children (make them love reading)

  
The Internet has become an important part of our lives, we usually use it for our entertainment, but it also can make our life easier if we know how to take advantage of it. For those who have kids and want to encourage them reading, there are a lot of online platforms that will help your children in order to improve their skills. So for all those parents who want their children to love books and reading this article is for you!A nice example of this are i-Ready and Reading Plus, online interactive programs that lots of schools use as a supplement for their classes.

i-Ready  Will help your children to improve not only their reading but also their math skills. First of all, your kids will have to do a test (the i-Ready Diagnostic) which will determine their academic skills in math and Reading. This will allow this online learning program to identify your children strengths and weaknesses. With such information, this website will design individualized programs to ensure their progress and learning. But of course, in order to use this program, the school were your children study must purchase it.

The same happens with Reading Plus, a similar website to i-Ready which focuses on reading comprehension and improving reading efficiency. This one is also available only for school subscriptions.

But what if your children’s school do not purchase these interactive learning programs?

Are there any options to help our children improve their reading?

Yes, there are quite a lot of options. Let’s see some of them:

Raz kids

Raz kids has an appealing web design for children, with a nice robot kid as a mascot. This reading site is used in schools, but it also can be used by families. The website has a marker which indicates how many books have been read on their website, and it gets continuously refreshed as kids keep reading new books. While writing this article the marker was already in more than 8 billion books read!

You can sign up for free and get 15 days of free trial, as you will see the first question they ask is “Are you signing up for a classroom or home?” so you only have to click that option and let your kid start reading for free. This is a way to see if your children like this way of learning thus if your school doesn’t have a Raz Kids subscription you can purchase it.

This website has a lot of useful features. Children can listen to the book recordings in order to gain fluency. Their books are leveled in 29 levels of difficulty and also have a test reading comprehension. If that was not enough Raz kids has its own free mobile app which provides access to these books and their quizzes. It also has a record function which allows you to check their fluency as they progress through all the 29 levels of difficulty.

Reading Eggs

This website has the slogan “Where children learn to read”, and it has a point since this website also provides reading online lessons. This website helps kids who struggle with their reading and also focuses a lot on making them learn while having fun which is essential. This interactive website is suitable for children aged two to thirteen years.

As it happens with Raz kids, you will have to purchase this subscription, but you can have a free two-week trial. Reading Eggs has already ten million users worldwide, so if you wanna join you them you have different subscription choices. You can get an All-access twelve-month subscription for 47.95 pounds (which is 62.77 dollars in case you were wondering). This full access provides not reading learning full also math classes. Lots of their books are illustrated so it makes the young get more entertained.

Reading Eggs also provides free apps for their subscribers, available for iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. These also include interactive touch activities which are ideal for the youngest.

Read theory

Unlike the two websites previously suggested, Read Theory is free and available for all. You only have to sign up and create an account which your child will be able to use in order to learn.

This website is really easy to use, kids will make a pretest after which depending on the results the following material will adjust to his level. This way kids can improve starting from an achievable level of difficulty. In the same way, the reading has a lot of levels and adjusts the difficulty. Depending on the child’s progression, if he or she received a low score the next materials will be easier.

The kids can do online quizzes after their readings, depending on how they did they will earn points which Will help them to motivate. These points are reflected in their progress level, so they can see how they are gradually improving.

Readworks

Readworks is another free website on which parents can also register for an account. While signing up you only have to complete your profile and choose the role of “Parent/Guardian” in the drop-down menu.

This website was created in order to solve America’s reading comprehension. As a result, more than one million teachers use Readworks to improve their teaching and learning.

By logging, you can access their free library, their content and lots of useful tools. This site has a lot of interesting features such as ebooks, audio versions or even Step reads (Less complex versions of an original article).

In addition to the digital experience, Readworks allows you to print the articles vocabulary and questions. This way, kids can keep improving even if the computer is shut off.

Hope this article was useful for both parents and your kids. If your kids already fancy reading what about these Books for kids suggestions?

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Skyward wallpaper

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Hello Wottareaders!  today I’m introducing Brandon Sanderson’s latest novel: Skyward. The American sci-fi and fantasy writer introduces us to a new world full of fantasy and spaceships. Let’s know more about Skyward by Brandon Sanderson.

Skyward is a young–adult science fiction novel, spiced up with fantasy. This is the first novel of a series, which was released in October 2018, this will be followed by Starsight, which is expected to be published in November 2019. After this, two more books will come, making this saga a tetralogy, there are no release dates for these novels yet. Wanna hear a funny thing? Sanderson wrote this tale in only three months, which is really impressive!

 

Skyward book cover

Skyward book cover

What is Skyward about?

This story is set in a distant future, humans no longer live on Earth but in the world called Detritus where they try to survive. What is left of the human race is stuck on a lost planet, being continually attacked by aliens known as Krellers. The main character is a  young girl, Spensa, who lost his father fighting against the enemy.  The girl dreams to be a pilot like his father, she wants to fight and prove she is worthy to fight like any other. In order to fulfill her dream, she will have to join the flying academy, her first challenge in order to claim the stars.

Is this series connected with Cosmere?

Most of the popular stories written by Brandon Sanderson are set in the Cosmere universe, this is the case for Mistborn (a must read trilogy about which you can get more info here), Elantris or The Wax and Wayne Series.  The author had the magnificent idea of setting most of his stories in the same universe, Cosmere, therefore making all those tales have the same fundamentals of magic and cosmology even though if the stories are separate. Skyward nonetheless is a non cosmere story,  set in a different universe, the same as the short story that preceded this book: Defending Elysium.

Funnily, this novel was originally announced as a Cosmere story, but at some point, Brandon Sanderson changed his mind. As Branderson himself stated on an interview this was due to two main reasons.  First, while in the Skyward universe it is possible to time travel this is not possible in his created universe. And second, this novel is related to the history of the Earth, while Cosmere is a totally distinct and separated universe.

Defending Elysium is a short story Brandon Sanderson wrote in 2008 which can be read on his website for free. But careful, you shouldn’t read 

What will you like about Skyward?

This is a story surrounded by a lot of action, fun and spaceship battles. Sanderson got inspired by all those stories about a boy and his dragon companion, he always wanted to write something like that, about that kind of particular relationship:

 “I love this archetype of story, and I’ve always wanted to do one, but I held off until I could find a new direction in which to approach it. Eventually, it drifted away from “a boy and his dragon” towards “a girl and her spaceship.”

As it happens with the Cosmere universe, Skyward’s worldbuilding is rich and compelling making you want to know more. His usual rules for magic and cosmology are somehow present, but instead of wizardry, you will face a world full of high technology.

This novel is easy to read, full of characters you will love and plot twists that will leave you with your mouth open. Be careful, maybe you will cry a little too.

Girls rarely have a protagonist role in this kind of books. But in Skyward we have girls and boys flying spaceships since they are very young. It is an encouraging story, that will surely motivate women in order to pursue their dreams. If you are looking for other inspiring women in sci-fi and medieval literature you will love this article.

How has this book been received by fans?

Skyward has been generally appraised by both critics and fans.  This novel is rated as five stars (89% of its rating) on Amazon.  Most of the readers agree this story is compelling, well written and thrilling. People mostly stated they couldn’t stop reading, they were turning pages like crazy since the story was fascinating.

Hope this article made you curious about this novel, keep reading!

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Dune wallpaper

How to read Dune series by Frank Herbert

All who have read Dune will agree that the first volume is one of the best science fiction novels of all time. If you decided to start reading the Dune series I can only congratulate you. Because you will not regret. In this post, you will be able to check the proper reading order Frank Herbert’s appraised work.

For those wondering what Dune is, do not worry, help is on the way. My article “Introducing Dune series” will tell you everything you need to know before the upcoming movie gets released. What? You didn’t know Dune is having a movie adaptation? check this post then for more info!

What is the proper reading order for Dune?

As it happens with other long series, there is a bit of controversy regarding the proper order to read this series. Some say it is best to read them in chronological order, meanwhile others think it is better to read them in published order… if you ask me, in this case, I think you should start reading this saga by the one book that made Dune series to be known as one of the best science fiction novels ever, that is,  starting by the first book published: Dune.

Dune book cover

 

So, in my opinion, you should read first the original series. This is the story of Paul Atreides and the planet Arrakis, where the priceless spice named mélange, sometimes just called “the spice,” is grown. Even though it is usually said that Dune is a series of six novels, for me at least, it is more like a three-book original saga and a three-book sequel. I say this because centuries pass between the third book, Children of Dune, and the fourth, God Emperor of Dune, so I think think they should not be considered at the same level.

Here you have the Dune original saga books in order:

  • Dune. 412 pages.
  • Dune Messiah. 256 pages.
  • Children of Dune. 416 pages.

This would be like the basic pack, the must-read I would say. If you read these three books you will know how the story of Paul Atreides concludes. Of course, Dune keeps being alive after him.

The extended reading

If you are willing for more Dune, and trust me you will, you have way more to read. Following to Children of Dune you have what I call the three-book sequel.

  • God Emperor of Dune.
  • Heretics of Dune.
  • Chapterhouse: Dune.

Unfortunately, the latest book, Chapter House: Dune, ends with a cliffhanger and since the author died the next year after this book was published,1985, he left a lot of the plotlines unsettled.

However, this matter was somehow resolved by the two next novels written by Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s older son, and Kevin J. Anderson (spin-off novel writer for Star Wars or Starcraft among others and also known for his work The Saga of Seven Suns).  Please notice that, from now on, all the novels mentioned are not written by Frank Herbert but by his son and Kevin J. Anderson.

  • Hunters of Dune.
  • Sandworms of Dune.

Still want more? At this point, the reading order gets more and more complicated, two prequel series, and sequel of one of those prequels…none of these will be Frank Herbert’s work as previously explained,

First prequel

The first prequel is set just before the first published book, that is, before the Arrakis conflict. These books are narrated from the point of view of three noble houses, which give the name to each manuscript:

  • House Atreides.
  • House Harkonnen.
  • House Corrino.

Second prequel (Legends of Dune) and its sequel (Great Schools of Dune)

While the first prequel happens just before the first Dune novel, this prequel narrates a story occurring thousands of years before.

  • The Butlerian Jihad.
  • The Machine Crusade.
  • The Battle of Corrin.

This second prequel trilogy has a sequel trilogy also:

  • Sisterhood of Dune.
  • Mentats of Dune.
  • Navigators of Dune.

That would be all, there are also short stories but we will leave it there from now. If you are willing for more Dune just leave a comment and I will provide you more info about the short stories!

Dune reading order summary

So, here is a summary for my suggested Dune read order. First of all, I recommend you read the original work by Frank Herbert, at least the first three books. After you have finished with all his original work you can read the sequels and lately Legends of Dune and its sequel. As a result, If you read all of these books you will become a Dune god and people will kneel to your divine presence.

Dune reading order

Keyword Dune reading order

Instructions

  • Dune
  • Dune Messiah.
  • Children of Dune
  • God Emperor of Dune
  • Heretics of Dune
  • Chapterhouse: Dune
  • Hunters of Dune
  • Sandworms of Dune
  • House Atreides.a.
  • House Harkonnen
  • House Harkonnen
  • The Butlerian Jihad
  • The Machine Crusade
  • The Battle of Corrin
  • Sisterhood of Dune
  • Mentats of Dune
  • Navigators of Dune

Hope this article helped you!

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Mistborn wallpaper

Introducing Mistborn series

Have you heard about Mistborn? this series is a trilogy written by the American author Brandon Sanderson. Introducing Mistborn series will tell you everything you need to know before start reading this amazing saga. Mistborn will have its movie adaptation, so you still have time to read this series before the first movie, Mistborn: The Final Empire gets released (there is still no release date for this upcoming movie).

The trilogy, Mistborn, is part of a larger series of books. It is considered a separate trilogy since these are the only three books which function perfectly as a trilogy all on their own. When you read the Mistborn series, you will fondly become addicted to it, because it sparks off curiosity to find out what the end holds. For this purpose, we will be looking at the full trilogy; Final Empire, Well of Ascension and Hero of Ages.

What is Mistborn about?

 

Mistborn book covers

Mistborn book covers

The series is set in a world where ash falls from the sky, and mists envelop the streets by night. Sitting on the throne is the Lord Ruler; a god served by sinister and powerful men whose eyes are made of metal spikes. The Skaa people are however oppressed, poor, starving, and live in perpetual dread of the Lord Ruler. The nobles, on the other hand, take pleasure in balls and court intrigue. There are also the allomancers (magicians) who dwell among the commoners, and they are often seen burrowing in the Skaa community, protecting their houses and skewing politics. They are those blessed with the gift of drawing powers from metals. These groups are said to possess possible powers that might bring down the dreaded Lord Ruler and lift the oppression from the Skaa community.

The Final Empire, which is the first book in the series records the account of one man with such powers who assembles a team of criminals to spur the Lord Ruler to great annoyance.

Mistborn is set in the Cosmere Universe, that is, most of Brandon Sanderson’s books have the same fundamentals of magic and cosmology even though if the stories are separate. So, Mistborn is set in the same universe as Elantris and The Stormlight Archive despite having a different story. If you want to know more about the Cosmere Universe, you can check Brandon Sanderson’s website, where he explains it better than any other could.

The trilogy

Mistborn original series is a trilogy, the proper reading order is the published order. This is at the same time the chronological order.

  • The Final Empire. 541 pages.
  • The Well of Ascension. 590 pages.
  • The Hero of Ages. 572 pages.

After this come Wax and Wayne series on which the last book, The Lost Metal, is still not published. Also, you can read this book considering the Cosmere universe as a whole, I will eventually post a How to read article so stay tuned.

What makes Mistborn trilogy different?

One most impressive things about this series was the unique power system of using metals to gain (sometimes physics-based) superhuman abilities. The magic here is depicted in three disciplines: Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy. What will keep you enthralled are the series of rapidly-changing scenarios that the protagonists found themselves in; the effects of their actions ripple and escalate as the story progressed.

Brandon Sanderson made the writing of this series more straight-forward than a lot of fantasy books. This made it refreshingly easy to read. The only sad part is the occasional over-explanation of somethings (this happen to be the opposite problem to that of a lot of fantasy books), but this happens less as the saga goes on.

The trilogy is laden with loads of mystery, but also plenty of solutions, which makes for a very satisfying ending, as there’s a real pay-off from plans which are laid very early on in the series. The books, however, made improvements as the series goes on, with the final installment, The Hero of Ages is one of the most exciting series conclusions ever.

These series have a good balance of action, character-development, politics, mystery, and even some romance. It is an excellent book for anyone who likes fantasy and would urge any readers to stick with it until the end because the pay-off makes even the more awkward sections of the first book worthwhile. Since Mistborn has an entirely different feel to books by authors like George R. R. Martin and Robin Hobb, this series felt like a really unique read.

About the author: Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is a prolific American fantasy and science fiction writer. One of his works, Cosmere Universe, brought him to fame. Cosmere Universe is a word which most of his fantasy novels are set.  Also, Brandon gained some extra notoriety for finishing Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time. His latest book is Skyward, which is not set in the Cosmere Universe, is a YA novel about which you can learn more about just clicking here.

Also, Patrick Rothfuss, writer of  The Kingkiller Chronicle, praised Mistborn and Brandon Sanderson’s work and particularly the Mistborn series:

The Mistborn books are set in a fascinating world different from any fantasy I’ve run into before. He’s got a good grip on character and story, and his magic system is unlike anything I’ve ever run into before either. He makes it very solid and logical, while still leaving room for cleverness and mystery.

See here.

You should read Mistborn if you liked

“Somehow, we’ll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.”

– Mistborn Book 3; The Hero of Ages

If you like other sagas such as Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World and the Lies of Locke Lamora written by Scott Lynch you will definitely love Mistborn. Also, if you like Harry Potter (and you are willing to discover a new world full of magic this series will prove to be a good candidate for your needs (or you can check these other Harry Potter suggestions).

Here you have your introduction to Mistborn, hope it’s helpful for you. Keep reading.

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Freedays book

Free ebook download: The Defender of Rebel Falls

Ey Wottareaders, It’s Friday again, woohoo! Do you know what that means? It’s Freeday book! If you don’ know what to read next, why not download a free ebook and see if you love it? This Freeday suggestion is: The Defender of Rebel Falls. An e-book you can download for free on Amazon’s website, link in the next section.

The Defender of Rebel Falls book cover

The Defender of Rebel Falls book cover

What is The Defender of Rebel Falls about

The Defender of Rebel Falls is the first volume of The William Whitehall Adventures written by the Canadian Erik Christensen’s. This is a science fiction series with a different and interesting approach. As the name of the saga suggests, this series is about the adventures of William Whitehall, a seventeen-year-old man. This boy is neither a knight nor a powerful wizard, actually, his job does not fit a hero at all. He is just a librarian. But since when our job defines our true power? William’s fate changes after meeting a nobleman who will entrust him an important mission: saving his kingdom.

As I mentioned earlier, this series has an interesting approach. before the story begins the author states that this adventure story is inspired by fantasy and medieval styles but in a scientific manner. This story has a different premise, dragons exists, but they don’t dwell in caves protecting treasures but, instead, they live in another world.

If you are thrilled about this tale and you want to read it right now, just click here to get this free ebook on Amazon’s site.

Any other free ebooks by the same writer?

The second volume in the series, The Skyrider of Renegade Point, was recently published (not even a month ago) and you can purchase it on Amazon. This book is not free though, but you can purchase it at a reasonable price. if you liked the first book the second one is a must. As previously mentioned in Rise of the Dragons Freeday, it is quite common that authors let you download their first volume of a series for free so you get to know their stories.

If you loved Erik Christensen’s writing, you might want to check his stand-alone novel set in the same universe: The Smugglers of Tighpool. This novel is a collection of short stories that also happen in Esper which you can download for free too. See? Not one, but two free ebooks to get online for free. In order to get this free ebook, you will have to sign up to the author’s blog website, your choice here of course!

Don’t be sad if you don’t have a Kindle, you can easily convert the Kindle Mobi format into others that might work on your eReader such as epub, how? just search Google, and you will find the answer. It’s really easy to convert these files, just one click.

So get your Kindle ready, download this book for free on Amazon’s website, and join the adventures of William Whitehall! Two ebooks for free! happy uh?

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