A colleague of mine just sent me a link to a great literature resource from Florida’s Educational Technology Clearninghouse–Lit2G0: MP3 Stories and Poems. The Clearinghouse is providing free downloads of classic public domain texts.
Take, Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey for instance. The main page offers a brief summary of the book and links to each chapter. Clicking on a chapter link takes you to a new page where you have the opportunity to download the chapter’s mp3, read the text online, or download the chapter as a pdf file. In addition, each chapter page gives the reading level, genre, country of origin, themes and reading strategies. It also includes support material, which is usually an open-ended question that could be used to start a discussion or lead to a writing assignment.
All of the recordings I sampled seemed professionally done, if sometimes a bit stiff, and many of the titles are available through iTunes. Authors include the usual suspects: Jane Austen, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Lewis Carroll, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Brothers Grimm, Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Allen Poe, and Robert Louis Stevenson.
There were a few surprises, however–authors and titles I didn’t expect to see: James Baldwin’s The Story of Siegfried, James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, George MacDonald’s The Light Princess, and Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto.
All in all, Lit 2 Go is a superb literature resource for teachers and students. I’ll be visiting it often and telling my students about it in class this week.