Monday, July 28, 2014

Grab Your Toolbox! Part I

Grab your toolbox because I have some great tools for you! Okay, well, maybe just a notepad, snipping tool, or your iPhone!

But first, what do you use for your book leveling needs? There are so many resources out there and it can get a bit frustrating when you don't know which to use. So, using my tech teacher background, (ha ha, really?) okay, using my I've-tried-every-freakin'-app/site-known-to-man background, I am sharing here! I want to save your sanity! Yep, you can thank me later! ;)

So for Part I (Part II will be tomorrow) I will start with the apps because they are great for leveling quickly when you're running around your classroom trying to set up and organize your library relaxing and organizing your class library.

Oh but wait, let me preface this all by saying no tool is exhaustive in its capabilities. Some books simply aren't found by any of them. However, having some leveled is far better than none!

Some iOS apps:

Book Leveler: This is a FREE app. It found SOME books, but you had to add your own book level. I didn't care for this aspect, but they say this is for you to level based "on your own classroom experience". My thinking is, if I can level them on my own, why would I need the app? Again, this is my opinion. BUT, you can see a summary, the author, and other pertinent information that you may find useful.

Scholastic Book Wizard Mobile: This is a great app! It had about 80% of the books I scanned in there. It provided 4 different types of book levels, and you can create lists (think: keeping track of books in your library you already have). It gives you the title, cover image, author, interest level, and then the reading levels by GLE, GRL, Lexile, and DRA. Did I mention this app is FREE?

Level It Books: This is another great app! It had most of my books I scanned. Just like the Scholastic app, it provides the GLE, GRL, Lexile, and DRA level of the books. Additionally, you can make wish lists or keep track of your library. A  book of the day is featured which  may pique your interest in new literature. This app is $3.99.

Book Retriever: This is an app that's more affordable than the last (it's only $0.99) and provides more leveling information (think: GRE, GRL, Lexile, DRA, Reading Recovery, Accelerated Reader) and allows for you to have students check in/check out books. But a pitfall is that bulk upload doesn't show the title  names and you would have to hunt for it and editing once it is in your library list is minimum. However, there's more information, most books scanned, and the check out feature is helpful!

Literacy Leveler: This app is another pricey one ($3.99) and provides only GRL, DRA, and Lexile which can be limited to others using other levels. This leveler, however, had information on every book I scanned (I tested 40 different ones for this post, not my entire library) and even books the other apps didn't get were in this one. That is definitely a bonus and makes this price tag more worth it. Please note that their database focuses on K-8. This was specifically stated so I wanted to mention it. :)

Now this isn't truly for leveling, but it is worth mentioning.

Classroom Organizer: This is another Free app. A feature I have used from it for a while is that the library of books you scan can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet. *angels singing* This helps when you want to keep a more comprehensive list on your computer for quick searching, adding of details, etc. You can also scan the books for check out and check in when students borrow them, too.

Grab your phone and explore!

What do you use to level your books? How do you organize them in your library?

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