The Learning Librarian

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The Horn Book

on March 1, 2013

For this week’s reading, I decided to look into The Horn Book (www.hbook.com), a resource I’ve been hearing about time and time again but haven’t yet read in depth. From what I’ve heard, this sounds like a phenomenal professional resource for librarians, and I was instantly impressed (though slightly overwhelmed) upon my initial visit to the website. With so many categories and headings, I didn’t know what to click on first. However, after an hour or so of browsing, it became much more manageable, and I discovered resources that were extremely valuable.

My favorite part of The Horn Book is the “App Review” section, and I think this section is crucial for all librarians, whether they’re just starting out or have been in the field for decades. Since there are so many apps available – with new ones being constantly added to the mix  – it is very important for teachers and librarians to stay current and know which are most educational and beneficial to use with students. Even though I consider myself to be fairly up-to-date with modern technology, I know I’m nowhere near being familiar with every educational app, so I was excited to read about some I’ve never heard of before. One review I read discussed the “Goodnight Moon App”-http://www.hbook.com/2012/11/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/goodnight-moon-app-review/. This instantly caught my attention as I am a huge Goodnight Moon fan and have many fellow fans in the pre-school class that I teach. Since we have been starting to use iPads lately, I thought reading this review could be helpful in determining if I should download that app to use with my students. The review gave a thorough description of the app, talking about everything from visuals and sounds to whether it’s appropriate for ‘before bed’ or not (it isn’t.) The review discussed that the app is interactive (but not TOO interactive – there is a mix between activity and simply listening). The app allows children to further explore the room in the story by using a magnifying glass to see objects more in-depth. The author mentions that the app has several user-friendly options as well – children can choose whether to hear the story read to them or to read it themselves, to listen to soft background music or not to, and return anytime to pages they’d like to see again. The article provides a link to where you can buy the app. It also includes “related posts” so you can easily jump to something similar.

I was really impressed with the quality of this app review – it is clear that the author really studied everything it includes. I feel that I have a good understanding of the app even though I have never used it myself. I think all of the reviews and information on The Horn Book would be helpful when I become a school librarian, but the app reviews would be particularly helpful because the concept of an “app review” is so unique. I haven’t seen them on many other library-related websites. With so many apps available to us, this resource would really help me get a feel for new options and easily select what would be appropriate for use with students. Finding the best apps is important so that students are able to make the most of their limited iPad time. The best apps will encourage and utilize good reading, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. I like the sound of this app because it allows students to gain information in different ways – they can listen to the story, read it themselves, or use the illustrations to understand the meaning. Apps like this encourage multiple learning styles, which I think is very important.

Overall, I think The Horn Book is a fantastic resource for educators. I like how it is both a website and a magazine, and I definitely want to subscribe! It’s nice that there are multiple ways you can follow along with new and interesting information. I like how there are so many author interviews; the “obituary” section is fascinating as well. At first I was confused by it – what are obituaries doing on a family-friendly website? However, the obituaries are amazing – they pay tribute to some of the most prominent and influential authors of our time. The obituaries could be used to help students learn more about the lives and writing of these respected authors. As a librarian, I can definitely see myself referring to The Horn Book often.

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