Infobase's World Almanac For Kids Elementary Provides a Little Something for Everyone

With info on everything from animals to the weather, Infobase's new database offers a trove of material.

Infobase follows up its popular database World Almanac for Kids with World Almanac for Kids Elementary. This offering draws on the publisher’s print titles, providing material on everything from weather, nutrition, and the solar system to U.S. presidents, famous explorers, and well-known holidays.

Infobase’s World Almanac for Kids Elementary

Grade Level Gr 2-5 Cost Pricing for K–12 schools starts at $325. Costs are determined by full-time enrollment for schools and by the number of cardholders for public libraries. All prices are for unlimited usage within the institution and include remote access privileges. Overview Students will find lists of facts, brief overviews, and, in some cases, more in-depth articles on many subjects that are typically part of the elementary school curriculum. Ease of Use and Visual Appeal Candy-colored text juxtaposed against white space on the home page has a slightly dated feel. A small search box is available for a keyword search, with an advanced search option that allows the results to be filtered by topic. The home page contains a video of the day and six of the 19 featured topics (clicking “view all” lets users access the others). Topics are broken down into more specific subjects (for instance, “Our Solar System” lists an overview followed by information on the planets, the sun, and the stars). Also available are games and puzzles, fun facts, and videos. Colorful tabs (“home,” “topics,” “resources,” and “teacher support”) are a constant presence at the top of the page and offer the best way to move around the website and find specific information. Users can also use the “topics” section to explore a wide array of subjects. Text-to-speech options are available at nearly every turn, making the information accessible to a variety of learners. However, everything, including many of the games, is text-based, rendering the database impractical for pre-readers or ELL students, who might benefit from the use of images. The games and activities range from fun (Insect Generator) to mundane (word searches). They provide some distraction but are not necessarily edifying. Content The resource tackles a wealth of subject areas, including common elementary school curricular topics: many different animal species, holidays, weather, and nutrition. The language is straightforward, with a simple sentence structure and a relatively controlled vocabulary. Articles are formatted either as bullet points or a series of short paragraphs. Photographs and/or diagrams often supplement the entries, adding a much-needed layer of visual understanding, especially when it comes to the scientific topics. However, coverage is somewhat uneven. The biographical selections are broken down into several different subject areas, such as entertainers, athletes, presidents, and scientists, and explore a range of individuals from around the globe. Historical figures in this section trend toward white men, but more contemporary selections offer up diversity across many spectrums. Focusing on a frequent part of the elementary curriculum, the “Leaders in Your Community” section is particularly valuable to students, and it provides thoughtful descriptions of educators, health-care workers, and other careers. By contrast, there is no significant geographic information about countries outside of the United States and Canada. The biological and earth sciences are well represented, with topics on animals, plants, and weather, but searches for “magnets” or “levers” didn’t yield results. Student and Teacher Resources Students can print, save, email, or share just about everything to Google Classroom. Citations in MLA format are at the bottom of every article and map, and the option to export to EasyBib, NoodleTools, and RefWorks is also useful. Many of the articles allow teachers to search state or federal standards for the U.S. and Canadian national and/or provincial educational standards. There are also graphic organizers, science experiments, and worksheets in many forms for educators to print and use in their classrooms. All are fairly generic and widely available on education-related websites but helpful nonetheless. Verdict The information and visuals are accessible and serviceable, though the design is dated. Casual browsers will find fun things to explore, but young students and/or their teachers looking for specific topics may have to search elsewhere.
Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

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