Review of Kids@Random
From Random House Books
When you click on the link for kids, you are brought to a offering of sites linked with kids' favorite characters. There is everything from Dr. Seuss to Babar the elephant. These links to the character mini-sites then offer games and activities related to each character. The sites cover a wide range of age levels as well, with Sesame Street to Mostly Ghostly, a series of chapter books by R.L. Stine. So, I would say the offerings range from the preschool set up to maybe third/fourth grade.
Included on the kids' page is a link to age-appropriate book recommendations ranging from preschoolers to middle-grade levels. There is an author spotlight with a featured kids and teen author. Kids can also select from a complete author list that is arranged alphabetically. There are also contests, games, and a list of new book releases for kids to check out.
A separate section for teens offers the same list of character or series sites, including the Ember series and Sisterhood Central, focusing on the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Some of the same sections that are offered on the kids page are included here, such as authors and new releases. There is also a section labeled "Fun Stuff" where teens can send ecards and watch trailers about upcoming book releases. A link at the top called "Buzz" has lots of fun articles and a community where teens can participate and share stories and comments. I searched for information regarding how content was monitored in this community section, but could not find anything. One word of caution, I did sign my son up for an account and got into the communities, so obviously so could any other adult.
When you enter the teacher section, it is divided by grade level. Included are:
- Picture Books
- Grades K-3
- Grades 4-5
- Grades 6-8
- Grades 9-12
Within these sections, you will find suggested reading material as well as teacher resources. The teacher resources all seem to be links to other sites offering literature based information within their site.
The "News" tab offers information on classroom resources, conferences, and includes spotlights for authors and teacher guides. The teacher guides are useful as they contain:
- Summary of the book
- Information on the author and illustrator
- Pre-reading activities
- Curriculum Connections, with activities to connect the book across various subjects
- Internet resources that link to the subject of the book.
The teacher resources that I looked at were very thorough. I highly recommend checking these out.
The last main section on the site is geared toward librarians. Here you can find recommended books and booklists. The book talks offered included brief summaries as well as publishing information, recommended age level, ISBN numbers, and suggested retail prices. There are also classroom clubs for many of the popular series, such as Junie B. Jones and Magic Tree House. When you sign up for these clubs, you will receive a newsletter containing notices of new releases in the series, resources, and information about author tours.
The information on Kids@Random is far reaching, since it covers material ranging from Preschool through 12th grade. There is a wealth of free information available. What excited me most as a teacher were the Teacher Guides. Some offered at least three pages of activities to apply a book within other subject areas. This is a great tool for classroom teacher....and best of all, it is all free!
For more information on finding free literature resources, read my review of KidsReads.com.