3 Ways to Rock Your Classroom Library!
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12
If you are a Scholastic.com user, most likely you know about Book Wizard and what an amazing tool it is for finding and leveling books. Recently, Scholastic developed a mobile version for the iPhone and is currently working towards a version for the iPad.
Those who follow my blog know that I gravitate towards tools that are free and fantastic. Book Wizard Mobile fits both of these characteristics. After learning about and downloading the app, I was sitting with one of my students doing a reading conference. He had just finished book browsing for a few new selections. As we were discussing the books and getting them checked out to his name, I remembered I had the Book Wizard app. My life was about to get a whole lot easier.
Typically, children look for new books once they've read the ones in their cubby. After they "shop" and pick out their new finds, they have to check them out before putting them in their cubby. This brief checking out conference just means I have a one-on-one with the child to jot down the titles of their books. We discuss the genre of the books and what made them choose that particular story. Each conversation differs slightly. It is a chance for me to keep a record of the books my children are reading and track their interest pattern. I love any opportunity to get to know them better as readers.
1. Reading Logs Made Easy
Since I had the Book Wizard app, I was able to grab my phone and scan each child's book. They thought it was so fancy. Adorable, right? Well, they weren't alone. I thought it was pretty fancy, too. This was one of those moments in my room that would change the way I managed my library. I love when I find a system that enhances a structure in my room to better my practice.
Now I could select the child's name and have a complete list of the books they have checked out to read. Not only do I have an organized list of the book titles, the information also includes each book's level. At a quick glance, I have so much information at my fingertips. Of course, this system helps me keep track of all the books I own, too.
2. Search for Books and Save Them in an Organized List!
I was recently at a teaching workshop to learn more about The Phonics Dance. The presenter, Ginny Dowd, is one of the best. I always learn so much from her. As she was sharing strategies to teach comprehension, she would suggest several powerful mentor texts to go along with each strategy and lesson. While those around me grabbed their pens to jot notes onto paper, I pulled out my phone and launched the Book Wizard app.
3. Level Your Library in a Click
I've used several sites to help level my classroom library in the past. I would grab a basket of books, log into the site, and start entering titles to search for the book. Now . . . drum roll please . . .
With the Book Wizard app, I no longer have to lug the books over to my computer in baskets. I can be mobile with my device. I just grab my phone and walk around my classroom library scanning books. Instantly, the book and its information display on my screen. Magic!
One piece of advice — I'd caution teachers to remember that the Book Wizard app is brand new. I have found that not all of my books in my library are recognized in the application's system (although new titles are being added). For these books, I still use my traditional system of leveling. What is wonderful is when I order new books from Scholastic, as I unbox the stories, I scan each one to jot the level on the inside jacket. My second graders do not realize these are the book levels. They haven't really ever asked about the writing on the inside. One time I did hear a child tell another student that it must be the code so Mrs. Klein knows it is her book and where to put it back. I like for my students to read books that are just right. I don't like them to select books based on their level. I teach my students to find a book they are excited about based on the plot, author, genre, series, cover, etc., and then determine whether or not the book is too challenging.
My favorite part is that the app is free! I'd love to hear if you are using the Book Wizard app. How do you organize your classroom library? What system do you use to manage the checking out of books?
Be sure to check out Lindsey's awesome post with tons of tutorials on Book Wizard Mobile. She's great!