Two Sites Worth Reviewing

As you are leisurely spending your summer days with nothing at all to do (ha!), I thought I would share a couple of sites with you that you might have time to check out.

One site that provides a variety of methods for sharing pictures is Big Huge Labs at This is a site where you can manipulate photos and display them on quite a selection of products. It is similar to Snapfish, but has so many more options for displaying photos. Formats include photobooth, FX for special effects, pop art poster, jigsaw, map maker, magazine cover, pocket album, mosaic maker, calendar, wallpaper, trading card, captioner (this one is really cool!), badge maker, cube, and many others. Costs seem reasonable for the products. If you like to share photos in various ways, this is a site worth checking out.

A second site that is quite impressive for children’s use is Big Universe located at . Most of you have probably heard about or used the tikatok site where children create their own books. (It has been quite a hit with the grandchildren around the Snipes’ household.) Now, another exciting tool where online leveled books (1,722 total) may be accessed and original books created is Big Universe.

Big Universe is an application where educators and parents can instill a love of reading for children. The site uses online picture books, leveled readers, nonfiction titles, and assessments to encourage reading and writing development. Since children can create and share their own books, access to many original books is a possibility in addition to the vast number of books published by Weekly Reader, Tanglewood Press, Saddleback Educational Publishing, Zoobooks, and Lobster Press (to name just a few). Students can easily locate books on their level, including a huge number of nonfiction books. This site is highly recommended by School Library Journal, Literacy Toolbox, and Wesley Fryer (Moving at the Speed of Creativity). The Learning Curve blog included a suggestion “This site is a perfect companion for the SMART Board since you can display the books your students are reading, scroll to any page quickly and easily, take notes, capture items into Notebook, etc. The possibilities are endless.” Big Universe boasts support for the core curriculum, differentiated instruction, and English language learners.

While tikatok is free for creating books (unless you want to purchase a print copy – from $2.95 up), biguniverse costs $8.95/month for home access, $14.95/month for a classroom and $995 for an entire school. There are 1,722 leveled books, including picture books and nonfiction, which may be accessed any time along with appropriate tests and detailed reporting features.

This is a cool site definitely worth taking the time to check out! Enjoy your summer!!

Dr. Phyllis Snipes,
University of West Georgia

Big Universe

Big Huge Labs


Posted on May 24, 2010, in Activities, Ideas, Reading, Web 2.0. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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