Free audio books

 

Being read to at bedtime is no longer the privilege of a good  childhood. Now anyone can be read to and there are plenty of free audio books online. YouTube is one of the places you may not have thought to look for audio books. Some sites offer reasonable free trials of free audio books and then you have to pay something like $15-20 a month for unlimited access. That might suit some people. I listen to audio books sometimes in the car and there are times when people are too sick to actually read but would welcome being read to.  thebalance offers 15 sites where you can get free audio books online. It does mean you can use your phone or other mobile technology to listen to books if you are on the move and it does save carrying a book or reader around if you need to do it that way.

It’s not justified

toolsWordPress has decided to remove the justification of text button on the template for this blog. The two new templates I chose for the blogs I imported from Blogger didn’t have the option of justifying the text, which I thought somewhat remiss, but still , I used the templates and knew I wouldn’t be able to easily justify the text on the click of a button. Yes, I can code it into every post. I can tell we are moving with the times in 2017. If you want something, code it yourself. Been there, done that and obviously I am going to be doing it again. Where are my options? My choices? Whatever happened to correct format? I justify text. I justify email texts. I think it is the right and proper thing to do under certain circumstances. I am treating you as an adult and being polite.

Text justification is now up for discussion as have been  spelling correctly and correct grammar. We no longer live in the age of protocol and accepted practice. We live in the consensus era and if most people don’t mind whether text is justified or not then WordPress can feel vindicated in pulling the plug on the justification button. This will further erode the knowledge and use of text justification. There are so many discussions about it. Some claim justified text to be harder to read. Some claim justified text is more formal. Some claim it is now a matter of choice. WordPress has its own forum on it going and the comments are interesting. Thoughtco more or less sums up the arguments on both sides. Adams drafting has an interesting look at it and one of the strongest arguments not to justify is we are not trained publishers. If a skilled publisher justifies text then it will look neat and professional. Otherwise you can get inappropriate spacing or rivers of white through the blocks of text. A business writer for Ontario Training puts a case for which sorts of texts need to be justified according to popular demand.

We live in a world were the emphasis is currently on white spaces in design. That is all very well. White spaces in texts belong to children’s stories. We leave white spaces around the text to allow children to absorb and process the text better. Is our busy , optimised, values driven, productive centred life leading us to be being so swamped we are now having to read and process text in a child’s way? That may well be how the digital caretakers of our online lives are helping us to cope and manage. I want a choice, though. You can’t just take the justification button off me. All right. I’ll code it myself.

Study sites for older students

We are all into lifelong learning, right? So these websites might not just be for older students enrolled in courses. They might be for all of us. The tumblr blog Study your heart out , where I found these links, is full of good information an tips for older students. It is a site which is particularly strong in literacy and literature links but there really is something there for everyone.

Deskbot

 

Back in the 90s desktop toys and avatars were all the go on Windows computers. I had a man climbing a ladder and a little mouse who used to play the violin and eat scones. They were toys. Brain breaks. We used to have Clippy too and other animated avatars to help us with spreadsheets. They went out of vogue but you can install Deskbot and it runs on Microsoft Agent as did the desktop toys and avatars. Deskbot will read text to you. On the one I have downloaded I can only get American English, it sounds a bit robotic but is nevertheless a very helpful genie which is the only avatar/personal/bot currently available to me. I got it to read a whole blog post to me. Great asset for if you want to hear something rather than read it. Great asset if you are learning to read or learning to read in another language. Great asset if you need someone to read to you because you cannot see the text very easily. So Genie has those uses and would have plenty more. He is about saving time, energy, accessibility, literacy. Pretty handy little deskbot. You can read a detailed review here on makeuseof. You can download the deskbot here  free from Bellcraft. There is no malware which comes with it or extra programs you might not want. it takes a few seconds to download, a few more seconds to install and a couple of minutes to go through the options of the setup. I look forward to exploring this more.

Write stories with Storybird

I have picked and education oriented video about Storybird because this blog has always had a strong education focus. Storybird, though, can be for anyone who wants to read or write stories and provides a lot of support to help you achieve your aim to be a writer. There are so many aspiring writers out there. So many who have an idea for a book or piece of writing. There is also room for artists on Storybird too because people want their books illustrated and don’t necessarily have the skills. It then becomes a collaborative site and a site where you can encourage yourself  and others to write if that is what you want to do. It provides incentives for you if you want to participate in that kind of approach and ,yes, there is a paid section where you can actually publish your writing and get a print or digital copy. The prices are more than reasonable. It is a site which will guide you through the process of getting your writing into reality. How many never get to that stage? Change is action. If you want to be a writer , you need to write. If you want use your imagination and write creatively then the site will probably help you. There are quite a few other YouTube videos about the site. Children have to be 13 to join but can join at a younger age with parental permission. Commonsense media has a review of the site. There is also a teacher review here. It is a platform for all readers, writers and artists, not just a site for young children.

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