Friday, April 6, 2018

More Alternatives to AR

One of my most read posts is Alternatives to AR where I describe three alternative websites  to Accelerated Reader or Reading Counts, or other reading incentive websites-Book Adventure, Reading Rewards, and QuizWik.  Since that post, I have come across several other alternatives.

Whooo's Reading is a fairly new website which claims to accelerate not only reading but also writing through the use of open ended quiz questions rather than multiple choice questions.  Because the questions are open ended, the quizzes are not limited to specific books.  Students also get feedback and hints as they are forming their answer to included evidence that support their answer.  Teachers get quiz result as students complete quizzes and also receive reports tracking student progress.

Just like in AR, up to 3 goals can be set for students to encourage and motivate them.  Students earn coins for successfully completing quizzes which they can then use to purchase items for their owl avatar.   Whooo's Reading is free for teachers, but teachers cannot add other teachers to their account.  For that, a school would have to purchase an account. With that account, schools also get access to reading logs which students can use to track how much they've read before quizzing.

The short (and admittedly cheesy) video above, gives you a quick overview of the website.

If you like the reading log part of a reading program, but not necessarily the quizzing part, then you might like to check out these next three alternatives.

Biblionasium is a place where students can review, rate and recommend books they have read in a safe, yet social online community. It's similar to Goodreads, but it's for kids in grades K-8th grade.  Biblionasium is COPPA compliant.  Students set up virtual bookshelves where they display books they have read, books they want to read, and books that they own.  Students are able to connect with their friends, teachers, and parents (with parent approval) and can recommend books to each other.  Students can earn badges based on how many books they have read and how many recommendations they have given.  There is also a reading log available as well as online reports for teachers for each of their students.  Teachers and parents can set up reading challenges for their kids.  The short video below gives a quick overview of the site.

Biblionasium is free, but if you would like to integrate it with Follett Destiny (if that is your circulation system), that is subscription based.

Book Taco is a website that students can use to log books they've read while earning game coins and "cyberswag" and "virtual pet play" and even class milestone rewards.  Students can customize their avatar.  Teachers can track, monitor, and set reading goals, print and share reports, and message class and individual students.  Teachers can reward students for read alouds, participation and completing printables.  Book Taco is free for educators and even offers free training, but also provides free resources on its site including helpful videos and parent letters.

The video above gives you a quick overview of Book Taco.

While the last two alternatives could be used for free, this next alternative is a paid program.  Beanstack is a reading program designed to encourage independent reading, drive circulation, and increase library visits.  This program requires the user to design reading challenges which students, classrooms, or families can participate in to earn virtual reading badges and real-world prizes by tracking their reading.  Students can also write book reviews and keep track of activities they complete during the challenge.  Beanstack is both a website and an app. Within the app, users can look up books by scanning the ISBN, log reading minutes, and achieve streaks by logging in multiple days in a row. Users get weekly emails or texts with recommended reads.

This video above gives you an overview of Beanstack.

Do you know of any other alternatives to AR or RC?  

*"AR" and "RC" are trademarks of Renaissance Learning and Scholastic, respectively.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Happy National School Librarian Day!

Hip hip hurray!  It's a special day!

April 4th is National School Librarian Day, a day to celebrate and honor school librarians- or media specialists, or teacher librarians.  Whatever your preferred title-it's your day!

Why not celebrate it with other school librarians?   Share this day by growing your PLN on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Below is a list of of ways to connect with other school librarians on this special day.

@cybraryman1  (Jerry Blumengarten)
@cathyjo  (Cathy Jo Nelson)
@THLibrariZen (Lynn Kleinmeyer)
@librarianprblms (for a good chuckle)

If you want to find even more school librarians to follow on Twitter, try searching using these hashtags:

#LibrarianProblems   (for more good chuckles)

Cybraryman has created a list of educational hashtags that you might find helpful. You can find that list HERE.

Another great way to connect to school librarians is through Twitter chats.  There are tons of twitter chats going on nightly/weekly/monthly. They usually last about an hour and go by surprisingly fast.  Pick one that tickles your fancy and check it out.  If you like what you see, jump in the conversation.   If the pace of a twitter chat seems too fast, don't despair.  Some Twitter chats are archived so you can always go back to look at something you might have missed.  If you're not sure what a Twitter chat is or how to take part in one, you can check out THIS helpful info compiled by Cybraryman

Cybraryman has also created a neat little page that lists the current day's Twitter chat and what time they take place. You can find it HERE.  Another great resource to check out is the TL Virtual Cafe.

Mrs Lemmo

Another great way to connect with other school librarians is through blogs.  Here are some of my favorite bloggers:


And of course, you can always follow me on Bloglovin', my Facebook pageTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

And as a special reward for making it all the way to the end of this post and to celebrate this special day, I am having a sale!  20% off all my paid products on TpT- no code needed!  Just click HERE to access my store.

So go celebrate!  It's your day!  Happy National School Librarian Day!