Recently I searched for a story I remember enjoying as a child, The Dun Horse. Finding old stories and the lyrics to songs I used to know is my favorite use for search engines.
This time, I hit the jackpot! Not only did I find my beloved story; I also found a wonderful online library geared toward the needs of teachers and students, especially students with limited vision.
Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in MP3 (audiobook) format. Each of the passages comes with an abstract, the citation, the playing time, and the word count. A related reading strategy is suggested for many of the passages. In addition to the audio version, each reading passage can be downloaded as a PDF and printed for use as a read-along or as supplemental reading material for your classroom.
Many Books! Many Levels! Many Topics!
Reading levels are stated for each item in the collection, determined by applying the Flesch-Kincaid formula. There are books for all levels from Kindergarten through Grade 12! Tabs organizing the collection by author, book title, genre, and readability make it easy to find what you need.
A separate tab lists collections of books by topic. Included topics are diverse: American Founders, fairies, African-American, mathematics, dragons, and science, to name a few.
Although the collection of reading materials and related resources on this site are extensive, there are additional reading materials from Lit2Go on iTunesU. All passages on the Lit2Go site are currently available on iTunesU; however, due to the additional materials required to post material on the Lit2Go site, there are a number of audio passages available on iTunesU that are not currently available on Lit2Go.
Listen Online Or Download MP3 Version
I downloaded The Dun Horse, a Pawnee traditional tale, and opened it in QuickTime® Player. I enjoyed it just as much as when I was a child, because the narrator put great expression into his reading. For The Count Of Monte Cristo, I tried listening to the reading directly from the web site. The online version of this longer work is broken up by chapter, so that a student could quickly jump to any point in the story.
However, the narrator of The Count Of Monte Cristo read too fast for me to easily follow. To fix that, I downloaded the MP3 version and opened it in Audacity, my shareware audio app. I selected the entire file and applied the Tempo filter to slow it down without changing the pitch, then saved. The resulting slower version was easy to understand, and the conversion took about ten minutes total. Most likely any audio editor could be used if needed.
Allowed use of this collection is quite generous. Nothing can be used commercially, but a maximum of twenty-five (25) MP3 and/or text files may be used in any non-commercial, educational project (report, presentation, display, website, etc.) without special permission. For larger projects you may request written permission from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT) at USF.
You must credit FCIT whenever a resource is used. If resources from this site are incorporated into a website, a link to http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go must be included on your site. In fact, web site authors are encouraged to link to FCIT resources. You may link to any page within the publication, but not directly to image, sound, or multimedia files. FCIT Web content may NOT be mirrored on any publicly accessible server. Buttons and banners are available from the site to add graphical links.
Bonus: Student Activities
If providing a professionally narrated audio version and a printable PDF version of each story or poem isn’t enough, Lit2Go takes their generosity one step further. Each reading passage on the site has a student activity to download. For multi-chapter works like The Count Of Monte Cristo, there are separate student activities for each chapter.
Lit2Go is one of many excellent educational projects by FCIT, part of the College of Education, University of South Florida. Click the link below to begin exploring this amazing collection of free reading resources! I’ve also added this link to the sidebar, since I hope you will want to use it often.
Applications needed:Acrobat Reader, Web browser, QuickTime Player® or Windows Media Player®, (optional) Audacity or comparable audio editor.
Subject area: All.
Level: Grades K-12.
Lit2Go link Click Here. Free online library of stories and poetry in audiobook (MP3) format.