Hoffer School Librarian Aly Larson works with fifth-grader William Anguiano on checking out digital titles

Students utilizing Hoffer Elementary School’s library can now check out books digitally.

That is, they can check out digital versions of many of their favorite books, conveniently from anywhere, including Spanish versions of many of titles.

They can adjust the font size, alter the brightness of the words, and enhance a color background if they’re dyslexic, they can bookmark a page, and they can scribble digital notes among the text.

They can highlight an unfamiliar word and click on it to learn its definition.

Pages can be digitally bookmarked.

Aly Larson, the school’s first-year librarian, was sorting through titles to acquire.

Prices for digital copies of books sounded just as expensive as the hard copy versions.

And, similar to a hard cover copy: if a digital copy of a book is checked out, no one else can check it out unless another digital copy was purchased, or until the digital book comes due and is “returned.”

Fifth-grader William Anguiano, credited for having read over one million words so far this school year, tends to pick “longer” books, like those of the “Wings of Fire” series by Tui. T. Sutherland, in which he claims the first book “Moon Rising” has over 70,000 words, and another book in the series, “Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy” added another 69,911 words.

William plans on reading future chapters of books on a phone or a laptop.

Compared to physical books, “I’m pretty sure e-books are brighter and sorta easier to read,” he says.

As incentives to read more, students achieve stars for reading certain milestones, completing books, reaching particular word counts — even for logging in.

They get teasers for books that are recommended to them based on their past reading experiences.

According to Hoffer School’s administration, theirs is the first elementary school in the district to sign up with Overdrive-Sora, the software program the school’s library uses.

Overdrive-Sora has a live help desk to assist librarians with recommendations or technical advice.

It is compatible with their Accelerated Reader program, which tests for reading comprehension.

“It’s very exciting considering how tech-savvy kids are now,” Larson. “This will keep them engaged.”

She was particularly appreciative that publisher Scholastic has signed on as a e-book distributor, explaining that the company resisted going digital for years.

Teachers and students have been weighing in on potential titles.

As of a week ago, as Larson was still researching titles, Hoffer School had 537 e-books to choose from, in addition to their hardcover books in the school’s library.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.


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