iBooks Author

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”-Jackie Kennedy

How can I help my students be better readers?  What do good readers do? These are questions all teachers face daily.  For the past 3 years, we have been using the Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy approach to teach reading and writing.  This has been very successful for us.  One of our biggest obstacles in implementing this program is obtaining resources for teaching guided reading.  Our leveled book collection initially was non-existent.  Over the last 2 years, our school has prioritized literacy and added books to create a leveled book room.  While we are in a much better position with resources now, adding books is expensive…and no one has any money.

Enter iBooks Author.   This free program for the Mac allows you to create your own multi-touch book.  It allows for creation of galleries, video, 3D objects, and interactive diagrams.  There are templates ready to use or you can create your own. I’ve been creating books for my students in this app and uploading them to their iBooks app on the iPads.  My first book was a non-fiction book about our city, Charleston, SC.  It was written with easier vocabulary, repetitive text patterns, and utilizing mostly sight words.  I created a second version using the same pictures with slightly more difficult vocabulary and increased sentence structure.  The third version has the same pictures, but was written for my above-grade level readers.  Knowing my students’ interests has also helped me decide on book topics.  I wrote a non-fiction book on Dirt Bikes and another on Soccer.  Looking at my state science standards, I wrote a non-fiction book on Baby Animals.  Some of my boys who are more reluctant readers, love the Dirt Bikes book and read it daily.

The Common Core State Standards indicate students need to be reading more informational texts. By 4th grade, students should be reading 50% literary texts and 50% informational texts.  Today’s workplace requires many different kinds of literacy.  Good readers read many different kinds of books. They think about what they read and they make connections as they read.  Good readers ask questions and make predictions.  With the iBooks Author app, I am able to create student centered texts that are literally at their fingertips.

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8 thoughts on “iBooks Author

  1. I attended a session at ISTE today that you did a short presentation about the iBooks you have created for your students. It was a wonderful talk and I cannot wait to share this with teachers when I return home.
    I am very interested in seeing the graph again about the numbers of students reading above grade level as they go to first grade. You had a graph from before the introduction of the iBooks and then after you began using the iBooks. I would also love to see a few of your iBooks. It would be very helpful to share these with our teachers because I would love to implement this in our kindergarten and first grade classrooms. If any are available in iTunes U please let me know.

    Thank you!
    Liz Whaley
    Riverside, IL

    • Liz,
      How nice for you to visit my blog. If you send me your email, I can send you the slide. My books aren’t in the store yet. That’s something I am working on. I could send you a PDF version of one of the smaller, student interest books by email.
      Thanks so much!

  2. Hi Kristi,

    I saw your story at a technology conference two weeks ago and am blown away by how technology has transformed your classroom. I taught kindergarten for 5 years and am truly passionate about it. This year, I transitioned to 4th grade to gain some new perspective. However, I WILL be going back to kindergarten next year since that is where my heart is. 🙂 I am interested in using iBooks Author and was wondering if you had any tips for me. I created alphabet readers for each letter and now am wanting to create those using iBook Author that way I can differentiate for each of my reading groups. I’ve played around with it a bit, but am having trouble finding a template that will just let me create a book with pages and not break it into sections or into chapters. Any tips you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Also, are any of the books you created available in iTunes for me to download? If you are able to e-mail me some suggestions, my e-mail is jwells2@dentonisd.org. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Jeremy Wells

    • Jeremy, thanks for your message. The templates in iBooks Author are pre-set and can’t be changed, so you aren’t able to delete sections and chapters. I have shared my concerns with the developers personally and they understand this. That being said, I just work around it as best as possible. My books aren’t available for download…when I started creating them, they were designed for my class only and I don’t own the assets in them. I have also used Book Creator to create books for my students. It’s quick and easy, you can add video and voice over, you just can’t add the multitouch features and widgets. Something to consider. Good luck!

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