- I don't understand my child's reading level.
- My child picks books that are way too hard.
- My child picks books that are way too easy.
- My child only likes The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.
- My child can't find a book that he likes.
- My child only likes books about _______.
You know you hear the same things. I especially hear it at this time of year when the parents are starting to panic about helping their children find books for summer reading.
So what exactly does the Book Wizard do?
1. Once you arrive at the website, you have three choices: All Books, Similar Books and Reading Level. You can select the reading level based on what information you provide to parents and the reading system that your school uses for benchmarks. This feature is useful for parents to find out the reading level of a book that their child has already selected. For example, some books have "levels" on the back of them, but if the parent knows their child's reading level is an 8 according to the teacher, and the back of the book says Lexile 900 or E... they don't really know what to do or how to translate that information.
2. If you click on Similar Books you can use the BookAlike feature. This is probably my favorite feature of the website because I have a lot of kids who claim to only like one book in the whole wide world. I like to prove them wrong. :) Again, you can select the level "language" that you provide so that parents can easily see the difficulty of a book.
The last cool feature of BookAlike is the reading level adjustment bar. Let's say you have a student who loves a book, but it is not challenging anymore. You can slide the reading level bar to find books that are similar but more challenging. You will also notice that it tells you how the two books are similar: interest level, theme/subject, genre, etc. Interest level is especially important when you are helping struggling readers since many of the books on their level are not of interest to them anymore.
Every year I send home a summer survival packet with my students and I include these directions for parents to be able to use Scholastic Book Wizard. To download the freebie, click here!
While I am giving Scholastic a big plug- have you ever used the Scholastic Book Timer app? It is really just a glorified stopwatch but you can log in as a parent and a child and do so much more! Parents can have multiple children and can track their summer reading minutes as a family. The kids can then submit their minutes to the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge and be included in setting a world record for minutes read and earn digital rewards! As a teacher you can pre-register your class and compete with classes and schools across the country for summer reading minutes. To read more about this cool reading incentive, click here.
If you would like to join me in talking about technology, stop by every Thursday and link up!