Reading with Novel Effect

I don’t remember who introduced me to Novel Effect, but I love it and think that you will, too – especially if you read picture books to kids! Novel Effect is an app that enhances the reading experience. Here’s how it works:

  1. Look through the app to find a particular book that you want to read.
  2. Find the actual physical or digital book.
  3. Tap on the play button in the app.
  4. Start reading the story.

While you’re reading, the app will play music and sound effects that go along with what you’re reading. When you pause, it will pause. Once you resume reading, it will pick up with you. If you skip a page, it will recognize that and keep up with you. It’s so much fun and really adds to the story. Kids love it. So far, we only have the app in Self Service for staff, however the makers of the app have told me that they are actively working on a classroom edition for students.

Some ideas of how you can use Novel Effect:

  1. The obvious one – Read aloud a book and use Novel Effect on your iPad to enhance the story.
  2. Find the book in Sora on your laptop and project it on the screen. Read it aloud while your iPad has Novel Effect open. You can have your iPad hooked up to speakers via Bluetooth so students can better hear the sound.
  3. Have a student read the story aloud while Novel Effect is open and playing along.

This app is great for use in the classroom, the library, and at home. Have fun reading!

Posted in Elementary | Leave a comment

Take a Walk in Their Shoes

Recently, I talked to a bus driver who was telling me about his route and the students that ride his bus. He was very positive and not complaining, but he made me wonder, “Do we teach our students how to behave on the bus? Do we teach our students to think about what it is like to be a bus driver?” 

This time of year is a great time to talk about what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. What is it like for the bus driver? What is it like for the custodian, for the principal, for the teacher, for a new student? I know of an elementary library that has boxed up various sizes and kinds of shoes with a brief description of the person who wears the shoes. Students then get into small groups with one of the boxes of shoes. They read the blurb about the owner of the shoes and discuss how they could show kindness and compassion to the owner. Then the groups take turns sharing to the class their ideas. What a great lesson for all of us!

Other ideas: Read aloud one of the books below and have a  discussion. Create a book display of books titled: Walk In Someone Else’s Shoes. 


  • Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
  • The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
  • Come With Me by Holly McGhee
  • All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
  • Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller
  • Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Christian Stead
  • Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
  • Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
  • I am Human by Susan Verde
  • I walk with Vanessa by Kerascoet
  • Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks
  • Wonder by R J Palacio
  • The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor
  • Front Desk by Kelly Yang
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

These books are available in Sora! If you have other book ideas, please let us know in the comments!

Posted in Elementary, High, Middle | Leave a comment

Sora Summer Reading Program

Starting June 6th through August 15th, Sora is providing 30 free and simultaneous use juvenile and young adult ebooks. This means that anybody and everybody in our district can read the same title at the same time (of the 30 summer titles). These titles will be prominently displayed in Sora so it’s easy for students to find their next book and chill out and read.

Students and staff can access Sora from any device through the Sora app or through the website. All you have to do is log in with your district username and password and you’re ready to read or listen.

Have a great summer and happy reading!

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

Posted in Elementary, High, Middle | Leave a comment