Rourke eRead and Report
Rourke’s “eRead and Report” database provides one-stop shopping for schools and libraries seeking informational ebooks. Each title is not only Common Core compliant, but comes with student assessment functions as well, with test results immediately available to teachers. Purchase includes unlimited access for an entire building, with the material being accessible using PCs, Macs, tablets, and smartphones. Students can search the entire ebook collection to which their library subscribes, or teachers can assign particular books and observe student progress within the system.
Grade Level Grades K–12
The database offers 1,000 original ebooks that are sold outright with no management fees. The books are sold in bundles, with titles costing an average of $25 each. The bundles break down as follows: Science K-6: 264 titles, $6,600; Fiction K-6: 114 titles, $2,850; High Interest K-6: 112 titles, $2,800; Social Studies K-6: 137 titles, $3,425; and Grades 7-12: 327 titles, $10,585. To purchase all of the titles, the cost is $25,375. All prices are per building. Clients can also build their own collections, with a minimum of 100 books.
With the purchase of 100 or more “e-Read and Report” titles comes the option to upgrade by purchasing additional Rourke ebooks (not the “e-Read and Report” ones) for $11 each. There are over 1,800 titles to choose from; 93 Rourke interactive ebooks are also available for $29 each.
Overview There are three user functions: student, teacher, and administrator. Users at all levels have access to the ebook library. Material is searchable by title, subject, Dewey number, guided reading level, Accelerated Reader level, and by fiction or nonfiction. There are some young adult titles, but the majority of the books are for children in the K-6 range. Student, teachers, and administrators can use e-read and report on PCs, tablets, or smartphones. All functions are operated by clearly labeled, colorful tabs, or by using clearly labeled drop-down menus.
Book Content Content covers a wide range of reading levels and interests. The science collection includes books on animals, geography, hygiene, biology, and earth science. The social studies collection covers community, economy, history, and biographies. The High Interest section has material on sports and hobbies. Fiction titles include books that feature traditional fairy tales and modern-day stories about school and family life. The math collection offers titles on addition, subtraction, fractions, graphs, and measuring.
Some of the books for very young children are written so that they can be sung to the tune of a children’s song. Other titles for the very young are rebus stories.
There are a few quirks here, but nothing that should turn away prospective purchasers. In A Book of Animal Sounds, in a couple of places the text is split over two pages (the software is set up so that pages are viewed one at a time, except on mobile devices). This means that the wolves on page 4 say “hoooooww” while one on page 5 says ‘wl.’ Arms Are for Hugging reads in part, “Our brains are made for thinking. Our lungs are made for breathing. Stomachs are for eating. Hearts are for loving.” Is the book about organs or emotions?
All of the collections feature terrific illustrations. Some of the titles have full-color photographs, while others have bright, cartoony drawings. All text is in large, plain font.
For Students The student application is designed for individual use. After logging in, students read an ebook and take the “Report Placement Test” for it, which includes comprehension and vocabulary questions. The text of the ebook is available as needed. The results are available immediately for the teacher to see.
For Teachers and Administrators Statistics are formulated automatically and cover individual and group score averages on both vocabulary and comprehension portions of the test. For vocabulary, progress can be tracked on a month-by-month basis according to how well the student body tests on Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 vocabulary words. Comprehension progress can also be tracked monthly according to how well students test on asking questions, determining the importance of central ideas, making connections and inferences, summarizing complex concepts, interpreting text features, and visualizing. The results are defined pictorially through graphs and charts, making them easy to share with parents. In addition, test scores can be stored and tracked from year to year.
Teachers can assign specific titles to specific students or to small groups or classrooms. This allows students to work at their own pace. It’s also possible for educators to create placement tests for groups and individuals, and to keep track of what portion of each ebook is read, how many tests are taken for each title, and to monitor the popularity of each title.
Some of the teacher’s functions are designed to facilitate use of “e-Read and Report.” Included is a template for a letter to send to parents explaining the benefits of using the resource as well as how it works. Also, there are a few read-only spreadsheets. One breaks down the titles’ ATOS readability formula level, number of AR points, grade level interest, Guided Reading Level, Comparative Measure Level, and Dewey number. Another spreadsheet correlates title information to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Other spreadsheets provide title-specific information of tiered vocabulary words and Common Core correlation.
Verdict All in all, “e-Read and Report” is an attractive, useful, user-friendly product with great potential in schools and libraries.
Jennifer Prince (jennifer.prince@buncombe county.org) is a librarian at the Fairview branch of Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC, and an SLJ reviewer.