Monday, June 29, 2009

NECC: Authoring Books with CAST Book Builder

At NECC I had the pleasure to attend a session called "If You Build It, They Will Read It: Authoring Books With CAST Book Builder" by Loudoun County Public Schools in Virgina.

The technology specialists presented about Book Builder, which is a FREE tool that allows you to create books online to adapt to the needs of your students. It is a free online authoring tool for educators and students. Book Builder has three characters to guide student thinking as they read the book: Pedro, Hali, and Monty. Pedro engages the affective networks by prompting readers to actively think about the text. Hali engages the strategic network by providing hints. Monty engages the recognition network by offering models of expert strategy use and think-alouds. The best part about the coaches is that you can customize them to make them say whatever you want to help children with their reading strategies.

Book Builder was created with the "design for all" concept of Universal Design that focuses on three principles: Representation, expression, and engagement. A teacher creates one account but multiple students can use to create their own books. Multiple users can create separate books on the same accounts with no problem. In fact, if students want to work on the same book at the same time, they can as long as they are on different pages. Book components can include: text, pictures, and recorded sound. There is also a multimedia glossary and 3 coaches (described above) to guide students' thinking as they read. The iTRTs that presented student books from Book Builder also passed around the book once it was printed out. They added symbols to each word in the story in a binder so that kids could have a print copy and not just a digital one.
Post any thoughts you have on Book Builder to the presenters' AT Tips Blog. For a link to their presentation, visit their website. There is also links to handouts of fold out pocket mods and videos on how to use it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the kind words, Amy. We are glad you enjoyed it! That was our first trip to NECC. What an amazing conference, an honor to attend.