Category Archives: book time

Book Buddy App: Must Have for Teachers and Librarians

I have been so excited to share an AMAZING iPhone/iPod/iPad app with you! It is called Book Buddy, but it may as well be called the Best Book Cataloging App Ever :). And no they didn’t pay me to say it- I truly just love it! In the digital age that we live in- and the easy access most of us to have technology- it just makes sense to have a digital database of all our books. It will make lesson planning easier as well as assisting you in trying to locate that one copy of a book you know you have SOMEWHERE.

Here are some of Book Buddy‘s great features….


home screen of the Book Buddy app

1. You can easily add books to your library 3 ways: scanning the barcode, searching in an online database, or manually adding the books. You may think- why would I want to manually add books? Well, sometimes a book might not be in the database. OR you may want to add some of your classroom’s created books. Cute, right? It makes those homemade books feel more professional. 🙂


2. While lots of books have pictures of the titles already stored in the database, there are exceptions. No worries though- YOU can take a picture of the book! This is another feature that you could use when adding those books made by your kiddos.


3. After a book is added to your library that is in the database, there is a link to an online summary as well as reviews. This is also a great tool in getting additional background on the authors. There are also some links if you need to purchase more copies of the book.


4. One of my favorite features of this app is the tagging system. You are able to easily add tags to each book that is in your Book Buddy library. You are able to sort and search books by tags. For example, after scanning “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” into my library, I added the following tags: “animals”, “breakfast”, “comical”, “level k”, “pigs”, “problem solving”, and “sequencing”. Now, when I am teaching a unit on pigs, I just look up all my books with the “pig” tag and this book and others will show up. No more searching through all the book tubs for titles! I just love this- especially when you have books that can be placed in various places in your classroom/home. Which bring me to the next reason I love this app….


a few of the tags I added


a look at some of the books listed under the tag “Pigs”

5. This is a great app to keep track of those leveled libraries! While it doesn’t look up the guided or lexile reading levels for you, if you know the level already simply add it as a tag. (I used a free app called Literacy Leveler to look up levels on some of my books). So if you are wanting to know all the level N books in your classroom, simply look up the tag. It will let you know all the titles despite the location (super useful if you have books everywhere- in baskets, themed tubs, bookshelves, etc) Which also brings me to the next reason I love this app….


6.  You can sort your books into categories. Now you may wonder, how could I utilize this feature? Books that are scanned into this app are automatically placed in the “unfiled” section of your library and will remain there until you place them in a category. I have created categories for all the different locations where I may have books. Some of my categories are “Animal Tub”, “Biography Tub”, “Craft Room Bookshelf”, “Leveled Library”, and “Professional” (plus a TON more).  To add a book to a category, I go to my list of unfiled books, click on a book title, click on “move book” and then select the category. While this app does have the option of adding a physical location of each of your books, I found the categories much faster to add and it will be faster to edit the location- because lets face it, we are constantly moving books around. It is also easier to view all the titles in each of my tubs quickly while in the home screen of this app.


a list of the unfiled books in my library

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7. You can sort your library by title, author, genre, rating, and more! A great way if you know you want a last minute author study of Eric Carle or want to see what historical fiction literature you can share with your students.


8. If you have every spent hours at an expensive bookstore drooling over books with the intent to go home and find them for cheaper on Amazon (not that I have ever done that or anything) this will help you out! You can scan in books while at the store and add them to your wish list. Then the next time someone offers to get you a book for your library you can let them know specific titles right away. You can also printout a list of your wish list items to hand out to parents at conferences! 🙂 I LOVE it!!!!


9. Book Buddy has a simple yet effective check out system. Just click on the title of the book, click edit, and then change the “loaned out” status from none to either an existing contact or create a new contact. There is no way to import a class list, but to be honest I didn’t have students checking out books to take home too often. You can view your list of loaned out books from the home screen, and you can also export a list of those books that are borrowed, upload it to dropbox, and print. Imagine how nice that would be to show parents at conferences- they would not only see what books their child needs to bring back but they could see what the book actually looks like- which might prove to be useful in locating it :). Which brings me to the final reason I love this app….


10. You can back up your library. In this digital age of technology crashes- having a backup of data is a MUST. Especially if you have spent hours adding this data! You can also export and print your entire library- or just parts of the library. Like if I wanted a printout of all my Level M books so I could laminate it and place it next to my level M book tub, I would just go to settings, utilities, export, and then update the “My Books” section to the tag “Level M”. Click on export and there you go! If you have access to an airprinter you can print your wishlist, borrowed items, or an entire list of all books in your library. I think exporting them to Dropbox works better because you can export specific lists. And one thing I love about the lists is that there is a cute little thumbnail of the picture with information such as who it’s currently loaned out to, what category it’s in, and the different tags.


There are so many other features too- you can recommend books in your library via twitter, facebook, or email. You can also keep track of books that you have borrowed from someone else. There is the ability to import files (haven’t tried this yet), mark books that are your favorites, add books to a series, and give books a rating (up to 5 stars). There is a free version, which I played around with until I felt comfortable paying for the upgrade- in my opinion the pro version is well worth the money!

Before I started scanning in 1500 books, I did my research. This app does everything I need and more- hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I do!

Happy Teaching

10 Ways to Share Charlottes Web With Your Preschooler

My daughter LOVES animals and we are all about books at our house! So I wanted to find some great read alouds for her that would suit her interests.  A couple of years ago we tried reading Dr Dolittle to my Boo… we got about 6 chapters in but we just couldn’t finish. About a month ago I felt like we were ready to try the chapter book thing again. I found an old copy of Charlottes Web and I knew it would be a perfect fit for my daughter. Before we started reading I did a little bit of prep work. I scoured the internet looking for ways to share this book with a preschooler. I found lots of websites with vocabulary worksheets, upper elementary reading comprehension activities,… lots of things that I knew wouldn’t specifically work for my daughter. I thought that since Charlottes Web was on so many of those must-read lists for preschool age children that I would find more activities to go along with it! But nothing that seemed to meet my needs.
So I came up with my own plan.
It’s nothing fancy, but it worked. My daughter was captivated from start to finish. Maybe some of these ideas will inspire you as you read this classic with your young child.

1- Find a stuffed pig (or spider). We found this beauty at a local book store for $2.99. Having a little Wilbur to snuggle with while reading gave my daughter something tactile to hold while soaking in this classic piece of literature.

feeding Wilbur became a nightly job

2- Act it out! This is a great story with so many different scenes to reenact with your child… don’t wait until the end of the book to do it either- you can start acting a section or chapter at a time. After reading the first chapter, I told my daughter that daddy was outside on his way to kill a baby pig. At first she looked at me like I was from another planet, but then she caught on and was outside screaming at daddy to save the pig. Daddy then gave her a shoebox with the stuffed pig inside…. quoting lines from the story. It was a wonderful retelling activity. We had a great time acting out other scenes- like Lurvy chasing Wilbur to put him back into his pigpen.

3. During the first chapter you are introduced to the vocaublary word “runt”. After explaining it to my daughter, we went to the store and bought a box of Runts candy and talked about why they are called that (because they are super small fruit). During some of the chapters I would pull out the box of Runts and everytime I would read the word “Wilbur” (or another word) she would get to eat one candy. She had to hear me say the word though… it kept her listening!

4. Make stick puppets. I did a quick google search for barnyard animals and easily able to find pictures of the characters. During some of the chapters I would pull out the stick puppets. They came in handy during the barnyard scenes when there was a lot of character conversation.

5. Take advantage of Youtube! We were able to see little videos of baby pigs, spiders spinning webs and making egg sacs, baby spiders hatching… kind of gross but it strengthened our mental images of the story.

6. Crafts! There are so many different preschool craft ideas that would go perfectly with this book. (think pigs, spiders,…any farm craft!) My daughter prefers acting over making, so we didn’t make any crafts… we are sticking with her interests!

7. In one of the chapters the author tells us Wilbur’s schedule for the day. After reading about his schedule, my daughter and I sat down and wrote our schedule. From the pic you can probably tell where I got input from her. 🙂

8. Make snacks! There are plenty of farm-related treats out there that you can snack on while reading. Due to time constraints we opted out of doing this…but it would be a fun, yummy activity!

9. Go to the play or watch the movie. We were fortunate enough to go see a live performance of Charlottes Web by a local childrens theatre company. It was SPECTACULAR. On the way home we talked about our favorite parts of the play, and any differences we noticed between the play and the book.

10. Play it. Pull out your old Little People barn and let your child recreate the magic of Wilbur and Charlotte. This was an activity my daughter requested again and again. And you don’t have to stick to the script- have fun with the characters and try and predict how they would act in different scenarios.

I absolutely love this children’s classic. Take the time to read it to your little ones!
Happy Teaching!

The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything

This scarecrow story is becoming one of our family’s favorites! For those unfamiliar with the book… a little old lady is returning home only to find parts of a scarecrow following her! It’s darling! One of my favorite sites, Making Learning Fun, has a whole section on teaching ideas for this fun Halloween story. We especially like the story figures which work great for flannel boards or as a retelling tool. (The word tool sounds so workish!)

I thought it would be fun to compile a list of other great scarecrow activities!
Happy Teaching! And YAY for Fall!

Tea Time and Rhyme Thursday- THE MOST THANKFUL THING

Today for our little learning time we read a treasured book called “The Most Thankful Thing” by Lisa McCourt. It started out really well- my Boo and I were sitting at her table having pretend “tea” while I read her this book. I haven’t read this since I became a Mom, and the emotion of how thankful I really am for my daughter hit me while reading the last few pages. I am such a crybaby!!

After reading the book, we went up to the kitchen table and colored some thank you cards for my daughter’s birthday gifts. Since we really didn’t have any Spanish learning yesterday, I tied it in today by adding “gracias” to each note!

Happy Teaching!!

Our Favorite Reading Spots

Do you know those days when it’s raining like crazy outside and the house is unusually quiet (think pre-toddler days!) and all you want to do is curl up on your nice, comy sofa and read a good book? As a reader and a mom, I want to share that love of books with my daughter. We all want our kids to enjoy reading, and since we can’t make those rainy days happen everyday, we can all benefit from having that one special place where our imaginations can run wild as we turn the pages of our favorite books.
What do you need to create one of these literacy hideaways? A bundle of books- different sizes, genres, lengths, authors,etc. and let your creativity do the rest! Think of it as a small vacation spot right in your own home… a set location that you can revisit at anytime! The important thing is to make this a special place where you and your child are comfortable, relaxed, and ready to read!!!

This post is inspired by teaching tiny tots and literacy launchpad…check out their sites for more book nooks!! I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share the places we love to read!

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