Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Scholastic’s Book Wizard Makes Choosing Books Magically Easy

Helping kids choose books can be a perplexing experience. Many parents hear buzz about titles for young people, but it can be hard to know whether particular books will be just right for their children. Sure, the book got great review on Amazon, but will it be too hard or too easy? Are the themes going to be over the child’s head, or will he find them juvenile? And what the heck is this book about anyway? Thanks to Scholastic, however, parents don’t need a magic wand to divine important information that will help their children find the perfect match; with a quick trip to Scholastic’s Book Wizard,  parents’ book questions will vanish.

Book Wizard provides information about virtually every book you've ever heard of. Simply type in a title and - poof! - information appears, like the book’s grade level equivalent and interest level (grades 1.0 to 12.9) and genre. Users can also learn whether the book is part of a reading motivation program like Scholastic Reading Counts, Accelerated Reader, etc. Those who are well-versed in other measures of reading ability can choose to view a book’s Guided Reading or DRA level, or its Lexile measure, too.

Another valuable feature of the Scholastic site is the BookAlike search, which allows readers to find books similar to titles they've enjoyed. For example, a search for Harriet the Spy reveals that The Wednesday Wars, Surviving the Applewhites, and Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra, along with many others, have the same reading level and themes and so would appeal to students who enjoyed reading about Harriet’s exploits. Not sure whether a particular book on BookAlike’s list sounds captivating? Click on the title for a plot summary and other information.

There’s no need to register or pay for this service, but it might be a good idea to create an account for yourself or for your child. Registered users can make lists of books that look intriguing and save them for later reference. Trust us, you’re going to find this feature indispensable when you see how many great suggestions the site provides.

Thanks to the magic of Book Wizard, you don’t need to be a librarian, or a magician, to find great book choices for your child!

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