September 24, 2011

Literary Liz

Our staff member Elizabeth currently ranks #86 out of 711,832 readers in the Never-Ending Book Quiz at

Posted by library at 12:28 PM

September 14, 2011


tumble readablesTumble Readables include chapter books and novels. Wide ranging, from the Sleepover Squad to The Dubliners. The text is large-print or adjustable, and the books often include some combination of extra features such as audio narration, summaries, explanations, definitions, the chance to add highlights or notes.
Take the tour: TumbleReadables . That will explain what the readables are and how to use them. (You can stop after page 5 if you want, the rest of the tour is for teachers. You don't need a free trial - we've already purchased it for you. Just click on the icon to above.)

The intended audience? Reluctant readers and ESOL students, but many good and experienced readers will enjoy them as well. This collection is for middle and high schoolers (and adults), but we have a selection of "read-alongs" for elementary students tucked inside the Tumblebooks Library.

You can use any sort of device that has an Internet connection and a browser with an up-to-date flash plug-in.


How do you know if a book has audio narration as well as the text?
—If the book is labeled a "read-along" or "2-in-1", it will almost always have audio.
—If a book is not labeled "read-along" or "2-in-1", it will not have audio narration, but will have great extra features such as the ability to take notes or highlight text.

Look at the bar across the top:
E-BOOKs do not have audio, but give you a lot of control over your reading experience. Look for the MENU OPTIONS button. You will be able to:

  • Select a specific chapter (hm, on a DVD this is scene selection)
  • Bookmark your place (this won't work unless you have protected your tumble cookies)
  • Modify the text (size/spacing/width)
  • Choose the colors that make reading easiest for you (text/page/borders)
  • Add highlights or notes (after you've turned this on, you need to right click on your selected text to get to the note or highlight box)
  • If a book is labeled "enhanced", it will have some additional features available through MENU OPTIONS.

CLASSICS are usually "read-alongs" or "2-in-1" and so have audio narrations accompaning the text. Sentences may be highlighted as they are being read. You will control the audio, page turning and sometimes other features. The interface varies, controls may be on the bottom, the top, or the sides (see below).

Some titles will be available in two formats. For example: Hamlet is available as an "e-book (enhanced)" or as a "read-along". Adventures of Tom Sawyer as well. In these cases they may use the same text description for both editions and that can mislead you a bit. Look at the label next to the title, not the details in the description.

This is the confusing part: You will encounter at least three different interfaces among the narrated classics. You can control text size and audio features with all three, jump around and bookmark. They are all easy to use, they just look very different.

  • simple bottom control bar: This is the great e-book interface with the addition of narration.
    Text is highlighted as it is read.
    Example: Anne of Green Gables Read-Along
    clue: the descriptive blub does NOT start "Read-Alongs combine the large print features of TumbleReadables..." The readers, chapter, and teen books seem to use this interface, as do some of the classics.
  • top control bar: You can control text and audio and border color.
    Phrases are highlighted as they are read.
    Example: Around the World in 80 Days Read-Along
  • side and bottom control tumblepad:
    text is not highlighted as it is read.
    Examples: David Copperfield 2-in-1; A Passage to India Read-Along
    clue: This seems to be the usual interface for 2-in-1s.
Please note: The readers, chapter, and teen books are published by Orca. They feature "linear storylines, clear context and understandable storylines for the reluctant reader. There are few characters and limited vocabulary in these stories and no flashbacks or confusing situations." All are narrated, the text is highlighted as it is read, and they use the option-rich e-book interface.

The Tumble Readables collection also includes a few graphic novels. They have their own controls-on-the bottom interface. They are all narrated. You can pause, control the volume, jump to a different chapter, choose auto or manual page turning.

Other languages? Go to the Tumblebook Library (English/Spanish/French) and the AudioBookCloud (English/Spanish)

Posted by library at 02:03 PM
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