A Sweet Deal: Ice Cream & Books

The bestselling series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (this series has an average measure of 950L), by Jeff Kinney, is set to release The Ugly Truth. This will be the 5th book in the series, which is published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams. Currently, traveling across the country to a library near you is the Diary of a Wimpy Kid ice cream truck tour. This is the second annual ice cream truck tour, which made a visit to 40 libraries throughout the US last year.

According to Wimpy Kid Truck Tour Offers a Sweet Deal in Publishers Weekly:

“The ice cream truck tour begins August 15 and runs through August 28. Each truck will have 26 events, with stops that take them up and down the East Coast and into the Midwest. One truck will visit bookstores in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois; the second will stop in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Ohio, Michigan, Ontario, and Vermont.”

 This tour will not only give out purple ice cream treats, which happens to be color of the new cover, but for every treat given away, Abrams will donate one children’s book to the nonprofit organization First Book.

“This is the best kind of promotion,” said Abrams president and CEO Michael Jacobs in a statement. “Ice treats for fans and booksellers, and more than 25,000 new books donated to First Book to help programs across the country serving children in need.”

 Click here to view the tour schedule on Abrams website.

A Tipping Point: E-readers Gain Momentum

Amazon recently announced that sales of e-books surpassed hardcover books for the first time.  This major milestone  lends credence to the idea that consumers are willing to accept content in a variety of forms.  No one is seriously arguing that physical books will completely disappear anytime soon.  But whatever the shortcomings of e-books, they are apparently not significant enough to deter consumers from embracing  multiple formats.  As Clay Shirky has argued in another context, the appropriate question is not whether readers will accept new technologies  and formats, but why they are reading in the first place.  Depending on their purposes, e-readers may fulfill those desires as much as physical books (possibly in a cheaper and more efficient way to boot).  Here’s The Atlantic’s Megan McArdle: (more…)

Targeting Reluctant Readers

One of the key benefits of the Lexile Framework for Reading is that it can be used to target reluctant readers.  What exactly is a reluctant reader?  One resource defines a reluctant reader as:

There are several different types according to the experts.  They include: children who are intelligent and interested in reading, but don’t read well; children who seem to have no interest and, as a result of not reading regularly, are falling, or at risk of falling, behind; and children who are dealing with specific learning problems that impede their ability, and willingness, to read.  Then, there is the most frustrating type of all: the child who reads well but has little interest in doing so.

One of our partners, Orca Book Publishers , has developed a series, Orca Soundings , which is a series of teen fiction specifically targeted to reluctant readers.  Orca describes the Sounding series as:

…the Orca Soundings for reluctant teen readers are books that teens want to read…Key features include:

Short, high-interet novels, contemporary stories, compelling characters, linear plots, ideal for lit circles, and ideal for independent reading. (more…)

We Give Books

As an educational measurement company we have the privilege of working with a wide variety of publishers.  Through that work we learn of so many noble literacy efforts.  At the recent International Reading Association conference, for example, we had the pleasure of meeting Darel Cragnolin, the director of We Give Books .  We Give Books was developed by the Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation and can be described as a digital initiative that promotes the joy of reading in addition to supporting literacy efforts through partnerships with other well-known organizations like Room to Read , Books Across America , United Through Reading , etc….

Supporting We Give Books is an easy process. Participants simply visit the website and choose a literacy partner to support, read an online book with a student or child, and once finished the book is donated to the literacy partner of your choice.  This is great way to get books in the hands of children who need them.  Check it out.

E-books and the Future of Publishing

You’ve probably heard much lately on the perils of the publishing industry.  Many have been reporting on the death (or at least significant decline) of the industry for years.  Getting beyond the hyperbole, Ken Auletta offers a detailed analysis of the behind the scenes wrangling between Amazon, Apple, Google, the publishing industry, and book retailers.  You may have already been aware that e-books were creating downward pricing pressure on publishers, but you may not have known just how dire things have gotten:

The industry’s great hope was that the iPad would bring electronic books to the masses – and help make them profitable.  E-books are booming.  Although they account for only an estimated three to five percent of the market, their sales increased a hundred and seventy-seven percent in 2009, and it was projected that they would eventually account for between twenty-five and fifty percent of all books sold.  But publishers were concerned that lower prices would decimate their profits.  (more…)

Mason Crest – Now With Lexile Measures

Good news: Mason Crest Publishing will now be providing Lexile measures for their educational books to upper elementary and young adults in the school and library marketplace.  The measurement of titles began in February and to date over 500 titles, comprising 33 series, have been measured.  Measured titles include Dream Big: American Idol Superstars, Hip Hop, Major Competitive Reality Shows, Role Model Entertainers, The Making of a Monster: Vampires & Werewolves, Popular Culture: View Paparazzi, Popular Rock Superstars, Role Model Athletes, and Superstars of Professional Football.

And while Mason Crest has long been known for books placed directly in libraries across the U.S., they have recently expanded their offerings to include curriculum-based books.

Given ample research to indicate that students are more likely to read on topics in which they have an interest, Mason Crest has selected their high-interest books for measurement.  High interest titles allow classroom teachers to offer a wide selection of interesting books across a range of reading levels.

A New Kind of Textbook

Imagine a classroom in which content can be easily differentiated for students, in which even the complexity of the textbook can be reduced or increased to reflect the reading ability (Lexile level) or interest of the individual student.  That classroom may not be far off.  Macmillan recently introduced software that allows instructors to modify textbooks on demand.  By ‘modify’ I mean that instructors can add text, delete passages, move content around, delete pictures, upload pictures or videos, even rearrange chapters – think Wikipedia for textbooks.  This allows instructors to modify and update texts without having to wait on reissues of the same textbook.

In addition to saving on the cost of expensive reissues and new editions, these customizable textbooks also allow professors to make decisions about the way content is presented.  Based on their own experiences and preferences, the reading abilities of their students, the amount of time devoted to a given topic, or their own classroom syllabus needs, instructors now have substantive input on the structure of the text and how information is presented. (more…)

The Future of Publishing

Dorling Kindersley Books offers a brilliant video in response to all of the premature eulogies for the publishing industry.  You’ll want to watch it twice.  Enjoy.

\”The Future of Publishing\”

And here Penguin provides some background on how the video came about.

MetaMetrics is an educational measurement organization. Our renowned psychometric team develops scientific measures of student achievement that link assessment with targeted instruction to improve learning.