Website review by Ana Beltran, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2021

TeachingBooks.net

Comprehensive site collects resources on authors and books in one place

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Grades
Pre-K–12
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Social Studies, English-Language Learning

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Pros: Helps students gain insights directly from authors and illustrators. Useful, deep database of diverse books.

Cons: Although it's user-friendly, there are piles of resources. Some more curation would be a boon.

Bottom Line: This rich database of literary resources is a must-bookmark for teachers looking to extend learning experiences with books and their authors.

TeachingBooks.net is a great resource for teachers incorporating book or author studies in the classroom. You can search for content based on grade, subject, genre, or cultural experiences and apply specific filters to further narrow down results. You can also browse book collections or search for specific titles or authors. The site incorporates a barcode scanner to streamline the process of finding resources for a particular book. All relevant resources are listed under each book and organized into categories. You'll be able to browse author resources/interviews, lesson plans, activities, text complexity, vocabulary, book readings, and more. 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 to find the most appropriate resource. 

Book pages include valuable reading information such as text complexity, genre, 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. You can use the diverse book toolkit to find culturally relevant and inclusive books and resources to infuse into your class's literary experience. 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 as well as supporting the diversification of what books and authors are taught. Users can browse through the online database by grade level, genre, or media/content type. The portal contains a seemingly endless number 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 personal, school, or district subscription.

TeachingBooks.net has tons of utility.  Although user-friendly and seamlessly organized, each of the book pages includes author websites, interviews, lessons, readings, and vocabulary, and it takes time to process each resource to determine which one is most relevant to the learning target. There are useful things on offer, though. The Diverse Books search tool is a clear standout, organizing tons of resources for highlighting literature from different cultures and regions as well as resources that speak to different identity categories or populations. Resources such as Meet-the-Author movies or book trailers are also extremely helpful, creating an additional entry point and 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 choose appropriate materials and differentiate for their students. Resources pertinent to distance learning are a plus! The ability to browse books based on cultural experience is particularly useful in identifying resources that lend themselves to culturally responsive teaching. Each book page provides a snapshot that'll help you determine if the book is a good fit. Depending on the time you have on hand, however, browsing the site's mound of resources can be a positive or negative experience, and it'd be helpful to see TeachingBooks lean more into curation of some kind to rank and sort resources.

Even so, the layout is simple, and each page has a similar structure so that once you get a hang of things, your search time should improve. The barcode scanning feature and title search make it easy to determine if there are resources on the site that can be used to enrich your particular curricular resources. There are tools on each page for sharing resources with students or colleagues, which is a plus, and it's particularly easy for Google Classroom users. And if you get lost, extensive help and support are available.

Overall Rating

Engagement

There's a vast amount of actionable materials that offer compelling context. The user-friendly design makes navigating across all resources simple, although time-consuming.  

Pedagogy

Resources deepen book studies and help students better understand authors' perspectives. The range of resources -- from interviews to activities to databases of differentiated content -- round out lessons.

Support

There's extensive support and videos for teachers. Materials are exceptionally diverse and differentiated, including varying text complexity and media types. The site is designed to be accessible.


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Ana Beltran Other

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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 c ...
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