The launch of my previous post regarding leveled books for summer reading opened up interesting conversations over the past week. They reminded me of even more ways technology helps parents and teachers find ‘just-right’ leveled books for kids.
Most of the parents who ask me about leveled books for the summer have children finishing grade one or two. Many children at the end of these grades are beginning to read picture books, for example, Mercer Meyer’s Little Critter series, the classic Clifford books, Franklin stories and so on.
Robert Munsch’s summer story The Sand Castle Contest, for example, is a Guided Reading Level K, DRA 16-18 or grade equivalent 2.6. As I mentioned in this article, please do not get too hung up on the levels. Please just use the information as intended, which is to match your child’s ability with a book that will be a ‘good fit’. Err on the side of caution, and go down a level or two to build up the fun and confidence factor.
How do I know all of that information about The Sand Castle Contest?
Without further ado, here are two great ways technology can help parents and teachers quickly find the levels for tens, even hundreds of thousands of books!
Scholastic’s Book Wizard
Scholastic’s Book Wizard is a database of more than 50,000 titles that can be searched by author, title or level. The Wizard can also find ‘similar’ books to suggest. To get an idea of the levels you have in your home library, go to http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/bookwizard and enter the title of a book. Select which type of information you want about it (i.e. grade equivalent, guided reading level, DRA level or Lexile Measure) then hit the red ‘Find Books’ button. Your information will magically appear.
Not interested in typing out the titles? Check out this great new app!
Level it Books!
Level it Books is a personal library management app that allows you to scan and store your book information (title, author, levels, grade equivalent, etc.). It launched in November 2013 and those of us in the literacy world were thrilled when we first heard about it.
It is optimized for iPhone 5, and has just been released in an Android version. (I am ready to run my iPhone 4 over with my car so I can finally use it!)
With a database of 190,000 leveled books that include at least one of the four reading classifications (Guided Reading, GLE, DRA, Lexile), and this clause
“If we don’t currently have the book leveled that you scanned, we will take note of it…and try to get the levels as soon as we can…”,
…one simply scans the barcode on the book or can manually search the database by typing or speaking with Siri (or try out the male English voice and you can have Simon Cowell)!
iTunes has given this app a rating of 4+. I know of many teachers who love it and have mentioned that it is important to know how to use it and the importance of reading the note in fine print at the bottom of its description:
Note: Many books have several formats (e.g. paperback, hardback) and releases (e.g. original release 1998, new release 2010) that cause the same book to have multiple ISBNs. If the app can’t find the ISBN of that particular version of the book, there is a good chance we have it and would be found searching by book title or author.
As a resource teacher, one feature I can not wait for is the ability to check my books out and back in again. I can never keep track of who has borrowed and returned (or not returned) what! Considering the price of even one rescued book, (not to mention time saved getting quick levels on books that I refuse to actually write the level on), I am happy to pay $3.99 for the app.
Isn’t technology great? (More time to read!)
As the summer holidays approach, what are you interested in reading about in upcoming posts? Do you have any great summer literacy activities to share?