With its BookLeveler app, Columbia-based education technology startup Unbound Concepts has provided teachers a tool with which they can “score” reading materials and figure out which texts are age-appropriate for their students.
As Technically Baltimore reported, books categorized in the app are associated with different letters of the alphabet. A book with the grade “Z,” for instance, is appropriate for students in sixth grade and above.
Version 3.0 of the app, introduced last week to coincide with National Reading Awareness Month, not only includes more than 350,000 individual book entries crowdsourced by BookLeveler users, but it also now incorporates a badge system for scoring books using Unbound Concepts’ textual analysis and leveling engine API, Meridian.
“Powered by collaborating educators using BookLeveler, Meridian uses teacher-trusted, crowdsourced levels combined with advanced natural language processing to automatically determine the reading level of a book,” said Josie Keller, a senior copy editor for Unbound Concepts, in an e-mail.
While these Meridian Badges are easy visualizations for determining reading level, tiny icons, placed above the badges and corresponding to separate bibliographic entries in the new version of BookLeveler, represent elements found or not found in a book that can be helpful clues as to what books are or aren’t appropriate for different reading levels.
“What’s useful for teachers is that several of the [icons], such as repetition, knowledge building and strong relationship of images to text, align with the Common Core State Standards and will be incredibly helpful to teachers struggling to develop standards-aligned curricula for K-12 students,” said Keller.