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Booktrack for amplifying story


Booktrack is a new, free platform designed to encourage readers to immerse themselves in their readings by accompanying digital texts with movie-style soundtracks.

Booktrack Classroom offers a library of public domain books to which soundtracks have already been added.  Students may opt to create their own soundtracks content they’ve authored themselves. And teachers may create virtual classrooms with their assigned readings and may choose to mashup their own literature/sound creations.  The site points to research connecting use of Booktrack to increased engagement and comprehension.

Booktrack’s CEO Paul Cameron discusses some of this research and demonstrates some of the features of the Booktrack reader in this TEDx talk.

No registration is needed to read books in the existing Booktrack library, but registration is necessary to create your own. Booktracks may be shared with other registered Booktrackers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or emailed with a handy icon click.

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Booktrack Classroom offers a sample standards-aligned lesson plan library and suggests that the platform might be used to engage learners in:

  • Narrative Writing – Students add music and audio to their original stories.
  • Informative and Explanatory Writing – Students compose essays and articles selecting suitable audio to accompany their text.
  • Literature Study – Students gain insight and increased understanding of the text by creating their own soundtracks for novels, stories, and plays they are reading in class.
  • Read-Alouds – Teacher and student led read-alouds are enhanced through the addition of sound and music to the chapter or act being presented.

I can see some readers eagerly involved in adding the many music, ambience or effects goodies to enhance their text or enjoying what comes pre-loaded in the library.

I can also others preferring a quieter, less distracting experience when they read.

Nevertheless, I love the idea of offering readers an option and that the Booktrack reader offers such useful features as the ability to control reading speed.

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I would love to see some original recording or annotation options and the ability to embed creations.  (A comment on Larry Ferlazzo’s blog suggests an embed feature is in development.)  It would be truly lovely if enhanced books could live on teachers’ and library websites and in our catalogs!)

Classroom Reader apps are available for both iPhone and iPad on iTunes and at Google Play or Google Chrome.

Among the tutorials is this one that talks you through setting up Booktrack Classroom classes.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for this lead!

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School, a technology writer, and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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