Rosen Digital: Spotlight on a Fair and Equal Society | Reference Database Review

SLJ reviews the latest offering from Rosen, a database that would be useful for research of civics, social studies, and ELA topics.


Grade Level  Gr 4-8

Cost  The 12 Interactive ebooks are $899.40 (school & library price). Individual interactive ebook titles are $74.95 (school & library price) and can be purchased a la carte. These are one-time purchases with unlimited simultaneous access and free MARC records.

Content  This series of interactive ebooks focuses on the importance of listening to the marginalized voices of society with an emphasis on empathy, acceptance, and embracing identity. They are also correlated to the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards, the CASEL Framework, and the National Social Justice Standards. In addition to outlining how to develop and internalize the skills essential for social justice, the ebooks challenge readers to be agents of change by practicing authentic communication, decision-making, and problem solving.

The first thing users will see when logging into Rosen Digital is a bookshelf with 12 volumes of “Spotlight on a Fair and Equal Society” series displayed prominently. Hovering over each book cover with a mouse will display the book’s title; clicking the cover will select the ebook, which then becomes the screen’s primary focus. Buttons are located at the top and the bottom of the screen, giving students the option to select Full Screen, Cite the Book, Credits, and Open Bookshelf. Open Bookshelf will take users back to the homepage bookshelf.

The ebook experience begins when the user clicks on Start. The ebook will open to the first spread of the first chapter. Previous Page and Next Page buttons are positioned at the top right, and a Listen button is located at the top left, which provides an audio experience of the information on the page. The narrator speaks at a manageable pace and clearly enunciates words. There are no other audio options. At the bottom of the pages, users can hover the mouse over the page numbers, and a menu appears offering a variety of options that includes a Table of Contents and Printable Items, among other things.

Located above the ebook pages is an Interactive Timeline that pinpoints key events relating to the content. In the upper left of the window, there is a guiding question with a Get Answer option. On the left-hand side of the ebook pages is a section named Explore this Page that features a focus on Vocabulary, Primary Sources, and Instructional Support. The Instructional Support offers lesson plans, graphic organizers, and templates, among many other options. There is a View Book Only button located at the upper left of the window that will eliminate all the content other than the ebook itself.

As the user flips through the pages, the Explore this Page section changes to accommodate the information. For example, there may be a video to accompany an important event highlighted on the page or a profile of an important person ­mentioned. One that stands out is How You Can Help. When selected, it outlines ways students can help by problem solving or communicating with the community to make a positive impact.

Each ebook selection features a glossary of terms at the end that will help the student understand the content-specific terminology. The ebook text, images, and graphics are high definition and provide different ways to deliver the content to readers. The information is divided up by chapters that are important components of the subject matter. The colors of the images are vivid. There are text features, like captions, sidebars, time lines, and headings that an educator might expect to see in an informational text.

Students and Teachers  The Rosen Learning Center is compatible to many commonly used learning management systems like Canvas, Schoology, and Google Classroom. The content supports social and emotional learning as a pathway to active citizenship and brings awareness to identity, diversity, and civic action. Because the ebooks address contemporary social issues surrounding identity and citizenship using familiar text features, they serve as a useful resource in an ELA and Social Studies classroom or library to teach informational text, as well as Civics. The focus of the books are about empathy and embracing identity and acceptance, relevant skills that students will need in today’s society to become self-aware and advocate for others.

Verdict  This product has an abundance of ­well-organized information regarding ­equity, empathy, and awareness that provides guidance and creates pathways to active citizenship and becoming an agent of change. The digital collection is reasonably priced and would a good addition to any middle grade library or classroom. Teachers and librarians will appreciate it for its user-friendly interface, simultaneous use, and supplemental curriculum support. Students will appreciate it for its relevancy, informative breakdown, and positive messaging.

Alexandra Cornejo, Harlingen School of Health Professions, TX

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