How does it work?
Books That Grow is a differentiated reading platform that can be accessed as a website application, and as a Ipad and Chromebook app. Within our application, students, parents and teachers can access a growing library of adaptable books that can be read at multiple levels of text complexity. Our library contains classic fiction pieces, biographies, social studies texts, myths and folktales, and popular science pieces. Teachers can create virtual classrooms within our app, and afterward, assign books to their students, monitor their progress, and adjust their reading levels as they see fit. Students can create personalized libraries that reflect their own interests, in addition to the books assigned to them by their teachers. With Books That Grow, teachers can easily assign the same reading assignment to an entire class of mixed ability students, while also permitting these students to learn at their own level, so they can keep up with the class, progress measurably in their reading skills, and—of course—enjoy reading.
How do the books adapt?
The vocabulary, syntax, syntax structure, font size or other factors may change to provide the user the most challenging experience they can manage, but the core information remains the same. For lower reading levels, connections in the text are made more explicit by providing more contextual and background information, and by clarifying possibly confusing terminology or ideas. Generally, teachers have control over student reading levels, but they also have the option to allow students—depending on their age and readiness—to adjust reading levels themselves.
How does Books That Grow help students become better readers?
Research demonstrates that people become better readers by reading more difficult text. Books that Grow ensures that each student remains within their “Proximal Zone of Development,” to maximize growth. As students meet their proximal reading goals, they not only improve their reading skills and receive the scaffolding needed to push ahead, but they also benefit from the improved self confidence of seeing themselves grow as both a reader and a student.
How can teachers use Books that Grow?
Books That Grow was originally intended to help teachers facilitate whole group, small group, or independent reading sessions. Because we do the differentiation for them, teachers can focus on what they do best: teaching. In practice, many teachers have surprised us, and used Books That Grow in ways we didn't originally conceive! (Thanks for teaching us a thing or two). For example, teachers often use Books That Grow as a close reading tool. As a homework assignment, teachers assign their students the lowest reading level of a particular book, before going over it with them on a higher level in class. From their first read through at an independent reading level, students are able to maximize their reading comprehension before tackling the book a second time and engaging with the text on a much deeper, and more sophisticated level.
How can Parents use Books That Grow?
Parents can use Books that Grow to facilitate homeschool instruction or to provide their children independent reading practice at home. From the parents we've spoken to, many of them enjoy using Books That Grow as a supplement to their child's existing school instruction, to give them additional practice, and to help them consolidate their reading abilities. The parents of our younger users even report making Books Books That Grow part of their nightly bedtime ritual!
How can Schools use Books That Grow?
Books That Grow can support a variety of learning objectives. Students can access Books That Grow anywhere, at home and at school, and across a range of devices. Teachers can develop curriculum around Books That Grow, or use it as a tool to augment or supplement their existing curriculum as a way of facilitating small group instruction. In the future, schools will be able to use data compiled by Books That Grow to measure and assess student progress over time.
How can I track my students' progress?
Teachers can track student progress from the "Monitor Classrooms" page within the Books That Grow platform. From this page, teachers(or parents) can click on a particular classroom and view student performance based on that classes' assigned readings. As of right now, teachers can verify that their students completed the assigned readings, and can see exactly what percentage of each assigned book has been read. In the near future, teachers will be able to monitor student learning outcomes by seeing how their class performs on built in assessments for the books in our library.
What Books are offered by Books That Grow?
Books That Grow offers a rich variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, with a focus on literature, social studies science, myths & folktales. In terms of classic fiction, our library contains teacher favorites by Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, among others. Our social studies pieces are designed to appeal to students of diverse backgrounds, and can range from a cultural analysis of the importance of Hip-Hop, to reflections on gender in the beloved Harry Potter series. Our expansive myths and folktales collection come from a number of different geographic areas including Greece, Scandinavia, North America, and all across Africa. Finally, our science pieces, all Books That Grow originals, are developed to make complex theories and principles fun and easily relatable. For example, a book like "Is My Dog Smiling at Me?" teaches students about the cognitive and emotional capacities of man's best friend!
How Does Books That Grow Help Teachers
Books That Grow enables teachers to engage students of different abilities in the same reading and learning experience. Because we differentiate instruction for them, teachers can spend more time doing what they do best: teaching. In this way, Books That Grow simplifies teachers' lives and allows them to cater to the unique needs of their strongest and weakest students, and all those who fall in between. In addition, Books That Grow allows teachers to have their assigned reading materials, and access to student performance all in one convenient place.
What Research backs Books That Grow?
Books That Grow is based on well-established research in the fields of Neuroscience and Literacy Development. Like other muscles, our brain grows through exercise. To become better readers, students must be given task that are challenging, yet not overwhelming. Books that Grow encourages each student to read within their Proximal Zone of Development, so they can “grow” to become better readers. This Proximal Zone of Development is comparable to what literacy experts call a students' "Instructional Reading Level." This is the reading level where a student is comprehending about 75% of the text, and can benefit the most from in class instruction. This is in contrast to a students' Frustration Reading Level (where the text is too difficult and nearly incomprehensible) and their Independent Reading Level (where the text is too easy, and the student isn't being challenged enough).
How to measure students’ abilities?
At the moment the Books That Grow team is working on built-in assessments to help gauge a students' baseline reading level to better help them identify the most appropriate reading level for them. Similarly, we're also working hard to create assessment questions for each book in our library so that teachers can measure reading comprehension directly.
What Makes Books That Grow Unique?
The most unique feature of Books That Grow is how our books can "grow" in difficulty as students become better readers. This "leveling" process is accomplished through the use of both quantitative and qualitative measures. We use lexile scoring software to make sure that each of our texts meets the syntax, vocabulary, and lexile band requirements set by the New York state Common Core. Afterward, a team of professional writers and educators goes over each text multiple times to ensure validity. Worth noting is that most literacy and reading intervention products don't use "leveled" or "differentiated" texts, and we're proud to claim that out of similar companies, Books That Grow is the only company out there that offers a "leveled" library of classic fiction pieces.
What support do you provide teachers?
The Books That Grow team provides teachers with guidance on how to incorporate Books That Grow texts into whole group, small group, or independent reading activities. Additionally, the Books That Grow team is more than happy to help teachers select books that match their current learning objectives, or fit into their larger curriculum. Furthermore, we provide teachers with free access to our Teacher Guides which contain an overview of stretch vocabulary for each reading level, discussion points, and suggested activities. Finally, Books That Grow offers teachers live customer support via the live chat on our website, www.booksthatgrow.com. In the case of trouble shooting related issues, users can reach us through the live chat or contact any member of the team directly from our "contact us" page.
Does Books That Grow Support ELL Students?
With Books That Grow, ELL students can access grade and age appropriate texts at levels that they can understand. Books That Grow is used by ELL and ESL populations at the Queens Public Library, the CUNY system, and by community colleges in New York state and across the country.
What technology do I need to use Books That Grow?
Students can read Books That Grow on any internet connected device ranging from phones to tablets to computers.
How can I create a virtual classroom?
Teachers can create classrooms by logging in to their Books That Grow accounts and choosing the "Manage Classrooms" option from the main menu. From this page, you can create a classroom by choosing the "Create Classroom" option near the upper right hand corner of the screen.
How do I add students to my virtual class?
From the “Manage Classrooms” page, you can create a class simply by choosing the “Create Classroom” option in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
After naming and saving your class, the classroom will automatically appear on your manage classrooms page.
Below your newly created class, you should see a “Signup Code” consisting of a short combination of letters and numbers.
By sharing this “Signup Code” with your students, you can easily move students with Books That Grow accounts into your virtual classrooms!
For students with existing Books That Grow accounts, they can enter their “Signup Code” from their settings menu, which will automatically place them in the appropriate classroom. Yes, it’s that simple!