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8 Great Book Wizard Tips to Spark Reading in Your Classroom

Use the Book Wizard to level books, create book lists, and find new titles from your desktop, mobile phone, and tablet.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

Book Wizard is the fast and easy tool to help you level your classroom library, create book lists, and find new titles similar to books your students already love.

Try these eight tips to get the most out of Book Wizard, and download the mobile app so you have the best of Book Wizard at your fingertips throughout the school day!

1. To Save Time, Sign In First

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!

2. 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). Setting the Reading Level System to "Lexiles," for example, ensures that all searches and book lists automatically include Lexile ranges. If you are logged in, the Book Wizard will remember your choice and the exact leveling information you need for future visits.

3. 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, 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.

4. 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 Book Alike 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.

5. Create Top 10 Book Baskets

First, label and fill baskets with leveled books that match your school's reading system. Challenge your students to find some of their favorite books and add them to the appropriate baskets for the Top 10 selection process. Students should 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.

You can open up your book baskets to the rest of the grade, too. 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.

6. 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 into 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.

7. 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, the teachers 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.

8. 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. Share 10 Easy Ways to Make Reading a Priority for Your Family and 3 Reasons to Read with Your Elementary Schooler Every Night. Introduce your parents and students to additional sections of the Scholastic website (such as The Stacks and Flashlight Readers) 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.

  • Subjects:
    Reading, Teaching with Technology
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