Friday, June 13, 2014

What to do this summer?

What to do this summer?
Finally, we have some free time this summer just for us!  What to do?   Of course, it's great to catch up on the latest television shows that we have on DVR, and read all those books we have saved for leisure time.  Now what?  

I just cruised through the digital resources available for free from my local public library.  You just have to have a library card to access the resources.  I was shocked and really happy to find all sorts of amazing new resources available.  Here are a few of my favorites:

MANGO--This is a free online language learning program.  There are 63 languages available, but the most popular are Spanish, French, English, Chinese, Italian, and German.  I used my library card number just to browse, but got really excited about reviewing my French, so I created a login and password and started on a course.  You can actually take a quiz that will determine your level of proficiency and it will put you at the correct level.  There are lessons as well as interesting conversations available.  Native speakers pronounce the words and phrases and the text is there as you are learning new words and phrases.  What a great way to learn a bit of a foreign language before a trip!  Another really positive aspect of this FREE program is that recent immigrants can work on their English skills with the English program. (You might want to recommend this site to your ESL students or parents.)

AUDIO BOOK CLOUD--Free online audiobooks are available here.  The only requirement is a computer or device connected to the Internet.  Numerous people can listen to the same audiobook simultaneously.  You can create a list of "Favorites" and access your audiobooks from a computer anywhere in the world.  (My only concern about this program is that I don't always have Internet access and would like to be able to download the audiobooks and read offline as well.)  However, it is still a great free service.

ZINIO--Zinio says that it is "the world's largest digital newsstand."  I was not familiar with this service until today.  You can browse your library's collection of popular titles, there is no limit to the number of magazines you can download, and they can be kept in your account as long as you wish.  On my local library's site, there are about sixty (60) magazines available for free, including titles such as Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, Discover, Country Living, National Geographic Traveler, and many, many more.  I have already created a login and password and plan to subscribe to several of my favorites!  

I hope you try out one of these resources.  Let me hear from you by posting a comments below!  Have a great summer!

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