PPS Elementary Library Media News

Volume 1, Issue 2 February 2015

This Issue:

Accelerated Reading Dashboard to the Rescue

Alexandria - More than a Location

eBooks, eXciting eDucational Opportunities

Featured Author - Jacqueline Woodson

Accelerated Reading Dashboard to the Rescue!!!!

By Kathleen McCawley


Are you taking advantage of this valuable tool found within the Accelerated Reading Program? You may not be aware of how useful and beneficial the Dashboard can be for instruction. From the students who are excelling, to the students who are barely making progress, using the Dashboard is a great way to accumulate individualized data and aid in specific remediation.


With each school having fewer Reading Specialists in their buildings, it is now up to the classroom teachers to instruct English and Reading. The Reading specialists are no longer there to provide valuable insight and assistance in reaching goals and raising achievement.


The Reading Dashboard can help you focus on the reading habits and patterns of your students. It is a great way to accumulate data and obtain remediation ideas suggested for teachers to put into place. Individualized Growth Plans can show students who are meeting benchmarks, require intervention, or are in need of serious intervention.

Quizzes can be tracked as to accuracy, how many the entire class has taken, and how many each student takes as well as their results. Skill areas include structural analysis, analogies, connotation, synonyms, context clues, and structural analysis, just to name a few.


This is an invaluable tool which cannot and should not be underutilized. If you haven’t taken advantage of using this tool at your fingertips, please start now. It will make a world of difference in helping with lesson plans, differentiated instruction and remediation.
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Alexandria – More than a Location

By Shannon Tompkins


What does the word Alexandria conjure up for you? Perhaps it brings to mind a modern city in Northern Virginia. A bustling metropolis in modern Egypt? Or the capital of ancient Egypt with its numerous contributions like the Great Library, the largest in the ancient world?


Well, from a Portsmouth Library Media Specialist’s perspective it is a wonderful combination of the modern and ancient. For our purposes, Alexandria is a library media tool which allows us to use modern technology to archive the collections of our libraries. You too have access to Alexandria and can use this tool to enhance your classroom instruction. And students can use this tool as well.


To access Alexandria, navigate to the Portsmouth Public Schools website and find Alexandria Search under the Favorites link. Once on the Alexandria Search screen you have the options to use “Scout,” “Researcher,” or “Mobile.”


Scout allows you to do a quick search of the your school's library by simply typing in a subject, title, or author’s name. A visual for all matches is displayed and the corner of the “book” is turned down to reveal whether the book is checked in or out.


Researcher allows you to search specifically by author, title, series, and subject. There is also an Explore option which allows you to search for “Most Popular,” “What’s New,” and “Award Winners.” For a brief synopsis of the resource, you click on “Details” located just to the right of the call number. Click on “Show Copy Information” located below the title to find the call number, barcode number and status of the material. You can print your searches or create a temporary basket of titles that you would like to check out and then print your basket. To begin a basket, click on “Add to List” which appears to the right of the call number then click “Temp Basket.” If you give your lists or basket print outs to the school librarian your items can be pulled for your use.


In the Alexandria Researcher mode you can also place items on reserve or on hold. However, to use this option you will need to request your username and password from your librarian.


From the Alexandria Researcher page you can get to the Capstone Interactive link which will allow you to search Capstone eBooks. This does not display all the eBooks to which we have access, but only the Capstone eBooks.


So if you’re wondering if your library might have a great read aloud to introduce a topic or books on a particular topic for students’ independent classroom reading check Alexandria Search. If you’re looking for professional books on a certain subject or just want to find out if that new book you heard about is in your school library – take a peek on Alexandria Researcher.

eBooks, eXciting eDucational Opportunities

By Shannon Tompkins


As a parent and especially as a teacher, I am sure you have bemoaned the attraction of students to technology as it seems students consistently have their attention on an electronic device whether a phone, iPod, or tablet. Even the youngest students know how to manipulate a multitude of electronic devices and are often the go to assistants for their elders.


A Scholastic study noted that eBooks seem to have positive benefits especially for certain subgroups. "We are seeing that kids today are drawn to both print books and eBooks, yet ereading seems to offer an exciting opportunity to attract and motivate boys and reluctant readers to read more books," noted Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic. (Sinek)


In yet another study, “The National Literacy Trust report, in fact, shows insights that digital books can lead to great progress for children’s education. Here is some more information from the article:

Our new research with 34,910 young people aged eight to 16 reveals:

  • 39% of children and young people read daily using electronic devices including tablets and eReaders, but only 28% read printed materials daily. The number of children reading eBooks has doubled in the last two years (from 6% to 12%).
  • Children say they prefer to read on screen. Over half (52%) said they would rather read on electronic devices but only a third (32%) would rather read in print.
  • Nearly all children have access to a computer at home and 4 out of 10 now own a tablet or a smartphone, while 3 in 10 do not have a desk of their own.
  • Girls are significantly more likely than boys to read in print (68% vs 54%)
  • Girls are also more likely to read on a range of on-screen devices including mobile phones (67% girls vs. 60% boys), eReaders (84% girls vs. 69% boys), and tablets (70% girls vs. 67% boys).” (Bacon)

So, it would be great to use this natural attraction to get students reading? Now, we have that opportunity. There are numerous eBook resources available to Portsmouth Schools’ students and faculty. These resources are underused and can provide a way to engage students with reading. Whether it is the novelty or the format preference the important thing is it presents another opportunity to get students reading.


The largest selection is the Mackin eBooks. These books can be accessed by the Portsmouth Public Schools’ main page under the Favorites tab. The log in information can be obtained from your librarian as it varies by school. Once logged into the Mackin site the books are displayed alphabetically. You can conduct a search by clicking on the Author, Subject, Topic, and Series buttons on the left hand side. You can click on the book or more information to read a complete summary of the book. This will also tell you if the book is Interactive which means it has read aloud capabilities. In addition, you can locate the Accelerated Reader level here.


Another option is FollettShelf https://wbb40274.follettshelf.com. (Check your libraries webpage for a direct link.) FollettShelf is accessible to students by using the login information. The student login = PPS + student number (No spaces between PPS and the number). The password is the student number. Teachers need to request a login from their librarian. Again, the books are displayed alphabetically or you can conduct a search by selecting the tabs at the left side. This site also allows you to check the book out into your book bag so it will remain there until you check it back in. There is a notebook which allows you to highlight parts and take notes on particular points. Most books are supported with text audio. In addition, the book bag keeps the last page so you can begin reading where you left off. The book bag also has a place for you to rate the books you have read and has a history button which keeps track of all the books you have read.


And yet another option for eBook materials is under the Alexandria Search page where you can get to the Capstone Interactive link which will allow you to search Capstone eBooks. Once on the Capstone site you can choose to Show All by book cover, Visual Search, or Advanced Search. When conducting an Advanced Search you can choose to search by AR level. The books have an audio option.


The last resource is Tumblebooks. This site can be accessed from the Portsmouth Public Schools Home Page. Select “students” then “Library Media Services.” On the Library Media Services page in the bottom right hand corner is the Library of Virginia link which also has the Tumblebooks link. Tumblebooks can be searched by keyword, title, author, reading level and books with videos. In addition, there are category searches such as graphic novels, nonfiction books, math stories, and favorites. The site contains videos and games as well. These books are “animated, talking picture books.” (Tumblebooks) Many of these books are Accelerated Reader.


All of these resources could be used by students independently. Or the resources could be used as a class read aloud and projected for the class during “Drop Everything and Read” or silent reading time. Another option is to use as an introduction to a topic or as support for a current topic. Please check out these exciting resources and see if they can help to engage your students

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Works Cited

Bacon, Beth. "Are Ebooks Worse For Kids Than Paper Books?" Digital Book World. DWB News, 13 June 2013. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/are-ebooks-worse-for-kids-than-paper-books/>.

Sinek, Sara. "New Study on Kids' Reading in the Digital Age: The Number of Kids Reading EBooks Has Nearly Doubled Since 2010." New Study on Kids' Reading in the Digital Age: The Number of Kids Reading EBooks Has Nearly Doubled Since 2010. Scholastic, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/press-release/new-study-kids-reading-digital-age-number-kids-reading-ebooks-has-nearly-doubled-2010>.

"TumbleBooks - EBooks for EKids!" TumbleBooks - EBooks for EKids! Tumblebooks. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <http://www.tumblebooks.com/library/asp/customer_login.asp?accessdenied=/library/asp/home_tumblebooks.asp>.

Featured Author – Jacqueline Woodson

By Rebecca Overton


Born in 1963, Ms. Woodson has written 30 books for children and young adults. She shares a birthday with Abraham Lincoln and author, Judy Blume. Her books have African-American themes. She has won numerous awards including three Newbery Honor Medals and the Coretta Scott King Award. Her books have been published in over 10 different languages.


While growing up, the author lived in both South Carolina and New York. She is known for her detailed landscapes. She has characters break through boundaries to create strong and emotional stories. She seeks to explore many different perspectives through her books.


In her book Show Way, Ms. Woodson writes about her family history going back seven generations. The Other Side takes place in a small rural town in the 1950s before the Civil Rights movement. Two young girls of different races learn how to develop a friendship in spite of society’s barriers.


Ms. Woodson’s books are ideal to highlight in February during Black History month. For additional information about this author, please visit her website: www.jacquelinewoodson.com