Help With This Web Site
What is the purpose of this site?
The purpose of this site is to help adults improve basic skills like reading and spelling using real-life stories on topics of interest to adults. There is a separate section for teachers and adult educators that can be accessed by selecting the For Adult Educators link at the top of the homepage.
Where did the stories come from?
The stories are based on real life situations of interest to adults. Many came from television news stories. Some of the stories are now more than a year old, however, and things may have changed in that time. Before acting based on information in a story, be sure to get the latest information on the topic from a current source.
What do I need to use this site?
- Internet Explorer (for Windows)
Note: As of January 31st, 2006, Internet Explorer for the Mac OS is no longer available for download from Microsoft.
It is recommended that Macintosh users migrate to more recent web browsing technologies such as Apple's Safari .
- Apple Safari (for Apple/Macintosh)
- Mozilla Firefox (for Windows or Macintosh)
- Macromedia Flash Player (for Windows or Macintosh)
- RealPlayer (Windows or Macintosh)
- Users with computers that don't meet the system needs of the newest RealPlayer can download older versions of RealPlayer.
You should also have cookies enabled in your browser. If they are disabled, you will still be able to complete the activities but you will not have your scores saved.
How do I use this site?
- Pick a topic that you like by clicking on a topic or picture in the top bar of the homepage.
- Pick a story by clicking on a story name in the list.
- Read the story. To hear the story, click the "Listen" button below the story. If you don't like the story, click on the "Pick another story" link.
- When you are done reading the story, click the "Next" button at the bottom of the page to go to learning activities based on the story. Each story will have all or most of the following activities. As you finish an activity, move on to the next activity by clicking on the "Next" button at the bottom of the page.
- Full Story gives you the chance to read a longer and more difficult version of the story. To hear the full story, click the "Listen" button below the story.
- Video of the original TV news story is included for some stories. To watch it, click the "High" or "Low" button on the video page. If you are not sure which one to use, click "Low." The video player will open in a new window. When the video stops, close the video window by clicking on the "X" button in the upper right or upper left corner of the window.
- Learn New Words will help you learn words that were used in the story. Click the "New Word" button at the bottom of the blue box to see and hear the first word. To hear that word again, click the "Listen" button. To see and hear the next word, click the "New Word" button again. Repeat until you have done all the words.
- Spell a Word will help you learn to spell new words correctly. To hear the first word, click the "Listen" button. To hear a word again, click the "Listen" button again. Type the word into the white box. To check your spelling, click the "Enter" button. You will see if your spelling is correct. You have two chances to spell the word before you are given the correct spelling. If you spell a word correctly on your first try, you get two points. If you spell it correctly on the second try, you get one point. After you have spelled all the words, you will see your score.
- Matching Game will help you learn what the words mean. To start, click on one of the small blue boxes, called tiles, inside the big box. You will see a word or a definition. Click on another tile. You will see another word or definition. If the word and definition match, the tiles will go away and leave the word and definition. If they do not match, the word and definition will be hidden again. Try to remember them so you can match them later. Keep clicking on the tiles until all the words and definitions are matched.
- Pick an Answer checks to see how well you remember the story. Read the first question, then pick an answer by clicking on the white circle next to the answer you think is right. After you pick an answer, check to see if it is right by clicking the "Check My Answer" button. You have two chances to get the right answer. If you answer a question correctly on your first try, you get two points. If you answer it correctly on the second try, you get one point. Click the "Next Question" button to go to the next question. When you have answered all the questions, click the "See My Score" button.
- What Did You Learn? is like the "Pick an Answer" activity, and checks your understanding of what you read.
- Write an Answer asks you to think about the story. Read the question, then click in the answer box and type your answer. When you are finished, click the "Save My Answer" button below the answer box. You will be told that your answer has been saved.
- Learn More at Other Web Sites is a list of links to other Web sites with more information about what you read in the story. To visit one of these Web sites, click on the site name. A new window will open for the new site. You can browse through the site as much as you want. When you are done, close the new window. In Internet Explorer, you can close the window by clicking on the small red square with the white "X" in the upper right corner of the window.
- On the last activity for a story, you will see an "Activities/Scores" button at the bottom of the page. Click this button to see all of your scores and activities from this session (scores will only be saved if you have cookies enabled in your browser). The scores for each activity are listed under each story that you read. You can do any activity (even if you already did it) by clicking on the activity name. The recorded score will always be the latest score. To return to the Activities/Scores page from an activity, click on the "Activities" link at the top of the page. To read another story and do more activities, click on the "choose a new story" link at the top of the Activities/Scores page.
- IMPORTANT: Your scores and records will not be saved once you leave this Web site! To save your records, you can print them or email them to yourself or to your teacher. To do that, click "print your scores or email them to someone" at the top of the Activities/Scores page. Follow the directions on the screen to send an email with your scores or open a new window with a printer-friendly version of your records.
Why is the text so small (or big)?
This site displays best when the browser is set to show text at its default size. If the text is too big or too small, please change your browser's text size. In most browsers, this option will be under the View menu as "text size" or "text zoom." We recommend setting the text size to 100%, or medium.
Who can I contact for additional help?
Contact Holly Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.