Curriculum,  Literacy

Tar Heel Reader – Adaptable Online Learning

Tar Heel Reader Website is a great resource to help families (and teachers) educate their children. The COVID-19 worldwide health crisis has made all educators rethink how to deliver teaching and learning. Many of us are looking to the internet. Are you looking for an online, free, easy to differentiate reading resource? Do you have a range of abilities including very emergent learners? Then you will find this website invaluable. Read on to find out how Tar Heel Reader can help.

Why Tar Heel Reader?

Firstly the website is easy to navigate. Given the COVID crisis, most schools in the world are having to change from at school to distance learning. Therefore, easing the burden on parents is critical. There is already enough stress on them worrying about keeping the family safe from contracting COVID-19. The more simplified we can make home learning the better. Tar Heel Reader is intuitive and easy for teachers and families to engage with.


Next, Tar Heel Reader is a great option for the whole family. It is adaptable for all. This is great as it allows us to include our very emergent readers. The stories can be viewed on any device but they can be read off line too. Any book can be downloaded as a PowerPoint and altered to suit the needs of all learners. Of course this means all of the books can be saved to read offline at a time that suits.

Content Areas

Lastly, a number of academic learning areas are catered for. English of course, both reading and writing, but so many more content areas can be covered. Curriculum areas such as Science, Maths and Life Skills. There are many titles to choose from providing a great deal of variety.

Showing some example books on the Tarheel Reader website

How to Differentiate

  • Language can be simplified or extended.
  • Books can be read online using switches or by using a mouse or keyboard.
  • Speech can be enabled so students can listen to the story being read
  • The pictures can be easily exchanged with your own photos or by choosing from free to use photos on line like Flicker, Unsplash or Pixabay
  • Books can be personalised for each child to add to engagement and ownership
  • Can be utilised on desktop or tablets

The beauty is the format of the book has been done for us. We can keep some pages and adapt others. However, if the book meets your needs the way it is, simply download as a PDF and save to your desktop.

How To Use Tar Heel Reader

Are you ready to check it out? Head to the website and click on ‘Find a Book’. You will see an image in the top left (a library). That is the menu. It will give you options including the help option. On the top right hand side you will see a cog. Clicking here will take you to settings where speech can be turned on. It is also where colours of text and background for the text can be altered.

Click here to head over to Tarheel Reader.

I hope you find this article helpful. There are many other free resources found on my website. Please feel free to spend sometime looking around. This will take you to the home page.

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Together, we can do this distance learning. Kia Kaha – stay strong. Sending you much aroha (love and respect).


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