Introduction to Renaissance Place

Renaissance Place is the "home base" for Mitchell Middle School's Accelerated Reader (AR) program. You are able able to access all parts of the AR program (STAR Reading and Accelerated Reader) by clicking on the icon found in the Novell application box (this is the same place you open Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing). There are many things you can get done by using the Renaissance Place icon; however, there is a critical component missing -- the ability to find books in the first place.

What follows below are some exercises that will introduce the most under-used part of the program: AR BookFinder. This site lets you search by book title, author, ZPD Range, and many other combinations. My hope is that by introducing you to this site you find a tool that helps you select the best books for you!

By the way, Renaissance Place and AR BookFinder can be accessed from the Internet anywhere in the world!

AR BookFinder

Searching for an Author by Book Title

Have you ever read a really good book and wanted to read another book by the same author (the person who wrote it) but could not remember the name of the author? There are multiple ways to find the answer you are looking for. You can use a search engine (Yahoo, Google, Bing, etc.) or you can use a site that specifically focuses on providing information regarding books (Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc.) You can also use this site: AR BookFinder.

To see how this works, use AR BookFinder to determine (find out) who the author is for the following books.

1
Little Women: Book One
2
A Wrinkle in Time
3
The Outsiders
4
Peter and the Starcatchers
5
Birdwing
6
The Vampire Prince (Cirque Du Freak)
7
Esperanza Rising
8
Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia)
9
The Nixie's Song (Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles)
10
Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook
11
Lawn Boy
12
The Skin I'm In
13
Ribsy
14
Perfect
15
Marvin Redpost: Class President
16
Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception

Record your answers in a Microsoft Excel or Google Docs workbook and, when done, save your work (using the Save As) option so you are ready to go for tomorrow's assignment. Here is an example of an acceptable answer document:

Searching for Books by Author

Besides searching for information by book title, you can search for books by an author's name (for when you know the name of the writer and want to know what book they have written). To practice this skill, use AR BookFinder to find two books written by the following authors.

1
Laurence Yep
2
John Irving
3
Mark Twain
4
Judy Blume
5
Meg Cabot
6
Stephanie Meyer
7
Dean Koontz
8
Gary Paulsen
9
Madeline L'Engle
10
Beverly Cleary
Using the same Excel workbook you created to record the answers to the previous section, create another answer document (use Sheet 2 -- I'll show you how). Here is an example of an acceptable answer document:

Searching for the Book Level

Now that you have found the right book for you, you need to find out if the book fits into your ZPD Range. To do this you go through the same process you did to find the book in the first place. Below you will find another set of books - search for them using AR BookFinder and record the their book level. To help keep things simple the author of the novel (story) is is parentheses. Here's another hint, record the book level (BL) not the point value of the book.

1
Billy the Kid (Theodore Taylor)
2
Becoming Naomi León (Pam Muñoz Ryan)
3
Sounder (William H. Armstrong)
4
Hard Drive to Short (Matt Christopher)
5
Stuart Little (E. B. White)
6
Perfect (Natasha Friend)
7
Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine)
8
Snow Treasure (Marie McSwigan)
9
Following Fake Man (Barbara Ware Homes)
10
Flipped (Wendelin Van Draanen)
11
Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson
12
Red Dog (Bill Wallace)
13
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie (Jordan Sonnenblick)
14
Joshua's Song (Joan Hiatt Harlow)
15
The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts (Richard Peck)
Use the same Microsoft Excel or Google Docs workbook you have been using, record your findings on a new spreadsheet (use Sheet 3 and label it Book Level). Here is an example of an acceptable answer document: