The Owl Eyes Blog

Key Texts for an Introductory Unit on Reconstruction

Reconstruction took place in the years immediately following the end of the American Civil War, lasting from 1865, when the Confederacy surrendered, until 1879, when the last federal soldiers left South Carolina. Few decades in American history have had as lasting an impact as the Reconstruction years. Let’s look at several of the key, early moments from this period and how they laid the foundation for what would come.


4 Key Questions to Ask Before Reading Civil Disobedience

Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” has continued to resonate with readers around the world since its publication in 1849. In the 20th century, notable activists such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. drew inspiration from Thoreau’s work for their own nonviolent resistance to injustice and oppression. Thoreau’s essay endures primarily due to the accessibility, timelessness, and universality of his themes. Whether reading for the classroom or personal enjoyment, consider these key questions before beginning Thoreau’s essay.


Reading Comprehension as an Asset

Last November, the New York Times published an opinion piece titled How to Get Your Mind to Read. Since we’re all about reading here at Owl Eyes, we eagerly devoured the post. Since many of the recommendations for improving reading comprehension are an active part of our work, I’d like to relay several of the key points in the article here. Leave a comment if you have any other recommendations!


10 Tips for Screen Reading

While I still prefer to do most of my pleasure reading offline, I’ve found myself reading more articles, short stories, and other texts on the internet. (There’s something appealing about being able to carry an entire library in your pocket!) However, I’ve noticed that with this increase in screen-based reading, I’m a little more susceptible to fatigue and have more trouble concentrating.

Fortunately, I’ve adopted some new habits and explored some options that help to make screen-reading as smooth and painless as possible. Some of these are specific to Owl Eyes, and some are just good ideas in general.


Literary Goals for the New Year

With the New Year just around the corner, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has “read more books” on my to-do list. This year, though, I thought I’d take it a step further by rounding up a couple of my other literary goals to share with my fellow bookworms—feel free to add them to your own list of resolutions!


Recently Added Titles

Here at Owl Eyes, we’re always working hard to expand our library. We’ve recently been adding a lot of poetry and nonfiction texts. Here are just a few of the new books you can now read for free on-site—don’t forget to check out the rest on our Recently Added bookshelf!


3 Teaching Mantras for Winter Break

Winter break is nearly upon us. We’re finishing up our gradebooks, meetings, and putting away our lessons for a time. So, you know what that means? It’s time to plan on how we’re going to come back in January stronger and better prepared than ever!


6 Reasons Ebenezer Scrooge Is the Biggest Curmudgeon in the History of the Universe

With the holiday season on the horizon, it's time to dust off one of Charles Dickens' classic works, A Christmas Carol. We suspect Ebenezer Scrooge is the biggest curmudgeon in the history of the universe, and here's why.

Key Questions to Ask While Reading Keats

With so much classic literature out there, it can be difficult to know what to read and where to begin. Here at Owl Eyes, we've recently been reading the poems of John Keats, and we're confident you'll love them as much as we do. Getting started with Keats's work can be daunting, and you'll probably have some questions before you dive in. Fortunately, we have answers.


Thank You, NCTE 2017!

Thank you to NCTE and all the amazing English teachers who made our third year in attendance so fun and special! It was fun to stretch our wings and leaving the rainy comfort of Seattle for St. Louis, and we truly enjoyed connecting with such passionate educators and teachers.


See You at NCTE 2017!

We're excited to attend the NCTE conference this week and hopefully meet many of our readers in person. This’ll be our third conference, and we’re looking forward to showing off what’s new with your free e-reading library and annotating tool this year.


What You Should Name Your Pets, According to Famous Authors

In a previous installment, we more or less advocated for naming all of your pets “Toots.” Maybe you took that to heart, or maybe you rather enjoyed the dog names that famous authors have endorsed. Well, we’re back, and this time we’ve expanded the list of recommended pet names from famous authors to include cats, birds, and horses. If you’re lucky enough to put all these suggested names to use, then, well, we’re honestly a little jealous. If you’re looking for a name for your new animal companion, try some of these on for size.


A Teacher's Guide to Owl Eyes

Owl Eyes is an online reader that facilitates a collaborative learning environment around any public domain text. You students will love it, it will help your teaching, and through Owl Eyes you can make better annotators and better readers. Here is a quick guide to using Owl Eyes in the classroom.


Essential Literary Elements, Part 2

Here at Owl Eyes, we’re constantly reading and trying to figure out the myriad meanings found within our favorite texts. One of the ways we try to better understand what’s going on is to refresh ourselves on the many literary elements found in works across literary genres. Let’s look at several essential literary elements in Part 2 of this ongoing series.


Short Stories Poe Would Have Loved

Edgar Allan Poe wrote stories according to a rigorous framework, which he discusses at length in his Philosophy of Composition. While we encourage you to read it for yourself, today we’re looking at three main criteria: the story is short enough to enjoy in one sitting, it doesn’t try to teach a moral lesson, and it is in service to a singular emotion. With that in mind, let’s take a look outside the works of Poe to see which stories he would have likely enjoyed.