Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Posted by Keith Schoch
Scholastic's Teacher Book Wizard is a truly awesome resource for teachers. I highly recommend you check out the video tour of all the features.
At its simplest, the Book Wizard is a database of 50,000 books, available from different publishers. You can search by author, title, key word, reading level, or themed book lists. Book results contain author information, vocabulary lists, and age-appropriate extension activities. The Leveled Search option allows you to search by interest and reading levels, language, book type, and even genre.
Teachers who try Book Wizard seem most excited about the BookAlike feature which allows you to find books similar to one you've already read. For example, if a student loves The Magic Treehouse series, you can enter that title to see other books which may be appealing. The slide feature allows you to return results that are at, above, or below the original level. So for that fourth grader who picked out Shiloh but finds it too challenging, the BookAlike feature would recommend Ribsy or Stone Fox as more appropriate grade-level choices. In my experience I've had lots of parents ask for book suggestions at parent-teacher conferences. Having the BookAlike feature available makes such suggestions a breeze! Students could even be taught how to use this resource for themselves.
List Exchange allows teachers, authors, and celebrities to share lists of favorite books. These are searchable as well. See a list you like? You can save it and then customize it to make your own.
A final feature allows you to use search results or book lists to create online purchase orders. One click formats the book list as a purchase order, with all math done online. But truthfully, for the average classroom teacher, that's probably the least impressive function.