8 Great Book Wizard® Tips to Spark Reading in Your Classroom
Use these eight tips to help improve student reading
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12
Our challenge as teachers is to motivate, teach, and encourage a new generation to become great readers. As proficient readers, they will have greater opportunities for success in school and throughout life. Scholastic Book Wizard® helps ensure success for all students. These tips highlight the program's best features and give you tricks to save time this year.
- To save time, take time to sign in
Take a few seconds to sign in when you start using the Book Wizard. Then, when you create the perfect list for a unit of study for a student with unique needs or interests, you can save it and share it with others, which will save us all time!
- Set the Reading Level System you use
Select the Reading Level System you use in your classroom (Guided Reading, Grade Level Equivalent, Lexile Framework®, or DRA). If you're logged in, the Book Wizard will remember your choice and the exact leveling information you need for future visits. (In our district we receive updated Lexile® Measure scores for our students throughout the year.) Setting the Reading Level System to "Lexiles" ensures all our searches and book lists automatically include Lexile ranges.
- Find the perfect books for students who read far above or below grade level
Book Wizard allows us to find the perfect books to match the abilities and interests of all readers. Using the Advanced Search link, we can find appropriate books for a 3rd grader with a Lexile of 900 or a 9th grader with a Lexile of 400. Click on the Advanced Search link and select an appropriate interest level (two or three appropriate grades). Then choose an appropriate reading level range.
- Find the perfect book for students who claim they hate to read
Ask your students to make a list of their favorite books and add a star next to their absolute favorite. Teach them how to use the Book Wizard to find and record the Lexile for their favorite books. Next time a student can't find a book they like, ask for their list and go straight to the BookAlike® feature in the Book Wizard. The Book Wizard will generate a list of books very similar to their favorites at the perfect readability levels for them.
- Create Top 10 book baskets
First, label and fill baskets with leveled books that match your school's reading system. (We use Lexiles, so we have baskets for 100s, 200s, 300s, on up to 1000–1,099 or more.) Challenge your students to "Lexile" some of their favorite books and add them to the appropriate baskets for the Top 10 selection process. Students write the reasons that their selections deserve to be in the Top 10 on an index card that will live inside the front cover of the book. Once each basket has 10 recommended books, students must read all the books in a basket to earn the right to vote for which titles should be added or eliminated. Our teachers have had remarkable success encouraging their students to read more challenging books when the books had notable peer recommendations.
Next, have all the classes at your grade level create lists with the titles of student favorites for each basket range. Then, publish the lists and have all students vote for their top favorites in each range. Tally the votes to determine the top ten books for each basket.
- Use Book Alike® to find books at the right level
Capitalize on books your students love. One teacher in our district noticed that the students in her class absolutely loved a new book in her Science Center and were always vying to read it. But the text was too challenging for some of her students so she typed the title in Book Alike® and searched for similar books one level and two levels below. Her new list matched the standard she was teaching and ensured she had plenty of favorite books at the right level for everyone.
- Host a class library leveling party
Invite teachers from your grade level, room moms, and even some of your conscientious students to a Class Library Leveling Party. During the party, each teacher will have an opportunity to organize and level their books to support their students' abilities and interests. After the party, your room moms and students will all have the skills to use the Book Wizard to level new books added to your library throughout the year. See Megan Power's tips for how to host a book leveling party.
- Encourage family reading
Host an evening event to encourage family reading. Introduce Book Wizard to parents and show them how to create or find personalized reading lists for their children. Have copies of some specialized lists available. Show some of the "Read Aloud With Your Child Video Demos." Introduce your parents and students to additional sections of the Scholastic website (The Stacks, Flashlight Readers Parent's Guide) that will motivate and encourage the most reluctant of readers. Have parents practice using the Book Wizard with their children to find the Lexile for one of the Flashlight Reader books. If everyone looks up one, by the end of the night, you'll have a leveled list of the Flashlight Reader books. Close the event by allowing each family to select a book for a Family Read Aloud or for a student's personal reading time.