MeL Wants to Help More Kids Learn to Read

By Cathy Chesher

One of the best kept secrets in Michigan is the wealth of resources in the Michigan electronic Library or MeL. The Department of Education recently announced the addition of new resources designed to help make more children proficient readers by the time they are third-graders. MeL_logo_color_188466_7

I am particularly excited about the addition of BookFlix which offers access to high quality non-fiction and fiction titles. More information about BookFlix is below.

State Librarian Nancy Robertson said using additional state funding for MeL to contract with Scholastic, World Book, and EBSCO allows these valuable resources to be accessible at no cost to Michigan residents and libraries. is part of the Library of Michigan, within the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).

Teachers, parents, early childhood providers, and librarians can use the new early literacy resources to help children in pre-school through grade four become proficient in reading and better prepare them for academic success ahead.

“Reading proficiency by third grade is a critical predictor of high school graduation and college and career readiness,” said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. “These easy-to-use resources will help us achieve our goal of reading proficiency in children by the end of third grade.”

Have fun exploring these newly available online databases for children through eight grade.   And next time you wonder where your tax dollars go, think of MeL.!

  • BookFlix (from Scholastic) is an online literacy resource that pairs classic video storybooks from Weston Woods with related nonfiction eBooks from Scholastic to build a love of reading and learning. An engaging way to link fact and fiction, BookFlix reinforces early reading skills and introduces children to a world of knowledge and exploration.
  • World Book Kids is a general reference website developed especially for children. The site offers simple navigation, easy-to-read articles, multimedia, and a wealth of engaging games, interactive tools and activities.
  • Early World of Learning is an online resource for preschoolers and children in early grades. It was designed for easy integration into the classroom curriculum. The site encompasses three interactive learning environments.
  • Enciclopedia Estudantil Hallazgos is a Spanish-language, reference work designed with younger readers in mind.
  • eBook K-8 Collection is designed for K-8 students and the educators who work with them. It contains more than 6,000 titles chosen to support a quality learning experience for K-8 students across all subjects areas taught in elementary and middle schools, and content aligns with Common Core curriculum standards. The collection also features a selection of teacher resources to support educators and administrators.
  • NoveList K-8 Plus (from EBSCO) is especially for younger readers. It has reading recommendations for both fiction and nonfiction for kids in grades K-8, including book reviews from major reviewing sources. Included are reading lists by topic or study units as well as for lessons that meet Common Core State standards.

The resources include content designed for children through grade eight.

Cathy Chesher is originally from the Chicago area and moved here after marrying Steve, an Adrian native, 32 years (!) ago. They have two adult children, Michael and Amanda (who Cathy is happy to say love to read). When she is not working, reading or playing with her new iPad, Cathy tends to her perennial garden, does yoga and other exercise, cooks, and enjoys travel. Cathy says she has the best job in Lenawee County! “There are many things I like and love about being a children’s librarian, but nurturing and supporting the love of reading is at the top of the list. In my mind, there is no such thing as a child who doesn’t like to read; just one who hasn’t found the right book yet.”

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