Review by Sandy Wisneski, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2018

TeachingBooks.net

Dense site collects resources on authors and books in one place

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • English Language Learning

Skills
N/A
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
2–7
Great for:
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Helps students gain insights -- directly from authors and illustrators!

Cons: Cluttered layout makes it tough to locate specific lesson plans and materials.

Bottom Line: With time and effort, this database of literary resources can extend learning experiences with books and their authors.

If you're looking for a site with helpful K-12 resources and activities focused on books and authors, TeachingBooks.net will have something for you. The key to saving time sorting through the site's resources is having a goal in mind ahead of time. Begin searching the database by title, author, or subject to get a general overview of what's available. Dig deeper with the extensive drop-down tabs organizing key applications in the classroom. Pages are divided into author resources/interviews, lesson plans, and vocabulary. If your students have already read a novel, check out the author background websites or interviews, which can deepen student understanding. Students can listen to authors explain the backstory of their novel, or hear an excerpt read from the book. Each book's page can save valuable time hunting for websites, book guides, or trailers -- although some books have far more resources than others. Popular books often have so much, though, that it can take time just finding the best stuff. 

Book pages include valuable reading information such as text complexity, genres, and related book lists -- all helpful when finding the right fit for students' reading levels. Links to book guides, lesson ideas, and resources aren't limited to literacy classrooms, but include instructional ideas for areas such as STEAM, music, or art. Teacher-created book lists add another helpful dimension, especially for theme or subject unit studies. Students can access individual resources or entire pages through Google Classroom, email, or links as well as through teacher-created book lists.

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TeachingBooks.net is an online book database, assisting teachers, parents, and librarians with finding multimedia resources, lesson plans, and links to extend curriculum in the classroom around books. The database features a huge number of fiction and nonfiction books and associated resources, with a heavy focus on materials useful for author studies and introductory lessons. Users can browse through the online database by grade level, genre, or media/content type. The portal contains a seemingly endless amount of resources, including book trailers, lesson plans, and vocabulary assistance. "Meet-the-Author" movies or readings offer virtual visits to the classroom, deepening the experience for the reader. Students access individual resources or an entire page list using a variety of tools shared by the teacher or parents. To access the site's complete resources, however, teachers/parents will need a school or district subscription.

TeachingBooks.net is a great place to search for resources and links to enhance a book or author study. Depending on the time you have on hand, however, browsing the site's mound of resources can be a positive or negative experience.  Each of the book pages leads to author websites, interviews, or blogs, and it takes time to sort through each of the links. There are useful things on offer, though. Resources such as "Meet-the-Author" movies or book trailers are especially helpful, offering students a different way to engage with books than just the text itself. The materials align with the Common Core standards and Lexile levels, allowing teachers to differentiate materials in the classroom.

The layout is very busy -- favoring a list approach to a more modern, curated experience -- but the good news is that each page has a similar structure. Each section offers prompts for instructional use or Common Core connections, but the focus is very much on surface-level understanding of author intent and comprehension vs. more in-depth study. There are tools on each page for sharing resources with students, which is a plus, and it's particularly easy for Google Classroom users. And if you get lost, there's extensive help and support available.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

A vast amount of materials and resources to meet the needs of teachers and parents. The design is overly busy, making it difficult to narrow down useful resources.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The site's resources are useful for book studies and understanding authors' purposes. There's a broad range of content, but it's heavily focused on author interviews and similar materials.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

There's extensive support and videos for teachers. Materials are diverse and differentiated with a variety of media.


Common Sense Reviewer
Sandy Wisneski Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Melissa A. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
MS 51 William Alexander
BROOKLYN, United States
Rich (but old-school) collection of book/author resources
If you need a one-stop shop for author & book info, this is it. No frills looks-wise, but you will get all the publisher-created materials about the book in one place, reviews, author interviews, book trailers, and teacher features like lesson plans and text complexity measures. Popular new books are included with a large back catalog of children's/YA books searchable by title, author, illustrator, award list, series, and subject. TeachingBooks offers webinars and asynchronous self-guided PD, and site ...
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