Sunday, September 9, 2012

I "heart" Book Retriever!!!

Helloooooo....I know, I have been MIA since school started 3 weeks ago! I am sorry! But I am finally coming up for air and I waned to share about this app for the iPhone or iPad that I fell in love with this week. It is called Book Retriever and it has totally changed my life and the process I use for facilitating book check out in my classroom library. Before I go one, NO, the company that developed this app is not paying me to endorse this app, I just love it and I wanted to share it with all of you!

Since I began teaching, I have always my students to take home books form my classroom library to read at home. I want them reading every night and in fact I require them to read a minimum of 20 minutes a night. However, I teach in a Title I school and found out early on, that many of them did not have any books at home to read.  I couldn't require them to do something without them having adequate  resources to do it.

My first year of teaching, I (naively) used the honor system for borrowing classroom books.  If they borrowed a book, they knew (or so I thought) that they had to return it. With the size of my class, I really had no handle on who had what book. At the end of my first year, my classroom library was missing about 60 books. I couldn't go to the last student who borrowed a particular book that was now missing because I had no idea who had borrowed it.

The next year, I started using index cards to facilitate check in and check out. That worked great for a few year but I still had missing books and a lot of times I did not have an easy way to figure out who had it, nor did I have a way to notify parents if the book had been checked out but was not returned.

A few months ago, I came across the app "Book Retriever" and it upped my game plan for facilitating book check in and check out in my classroom. It has also helped me manage my classroom library more efficiently.

This app uses bar-code technology and the books bar-code/ISBN number to scan in the books in my classroom library.  I can then set up a list of my students (I have 2 classes of 5th graders this year with 20+ students each) with info such as parent name, email address and phone number.  When a child wants to borrow a book, I scan the bar-code, and voila, check it out to them...

 The company who develops and sells the app (it costs 99 cents for iPhone or iPad)  is The Classroom Library Company. They have a huge database of books embedded in the app so as soon as you scan the bar-code on the back of a book, the book's info comes up (most of the time) and you just add that book to your online class library.  The app will then recognize that bar code/book for you to check it out to a student.   There have been a few glitches (we all know technology is GREAT--when it is working).  However, noting major, that would keep me form continuing to use it and go back to my old methods. The app even allows you to create your own bar-codes. However, you have to have access to a wireless printer.  I have one at home but not at school. Eventually I will have my entire classroom library bar-coded.

I really love this app...check it out. I think it will change your life (okay, maybe just make it a little easier!!)


  1. This looks awesome! Does this app allow you to look up a book's reading level as well by scanning it? Thanks for sharing.:)
    iTeach 1:1

  2. I love this! I've been using booksource, but the app is kind of terrible. My only problem will be if it only works for iPhone. I have a droid. Thanks for sharing!!

    Oh, and I just started a new blog for my teacher-y stuff. Please come follow me!
    Don't Let The Teacher Stay Up Late

  3. Just downloaded this! Sounds amazing!! Can't wait to try it out. My kiddos will be amazed.

    I am your newest follower!!!!

    Fourth Grade Lemonade