Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cool and useful website: Biblionasium

In an earlier post I wrote about using Goodreads to track books students (and teachers) have read and keep lists of want to read. Biblionaisum is a similar site, but is geared specifically towards classrooms. It has many useful features to help teachers track what students are reading and what books they are interested in. Teachers can set up reading challenges, reading lists, or suggest books to groups of students based on their interest and reading level. Students can use it to find book recommendations and to keep a record of their independent reading.


Registering and setting up your class is easy to do. Once you've registered for your free account click on the Settings link. You'll see a tab to add groups. You can create classes or groups within your class.  You designate a grade level, a reading system (Lexile, DRA, Reading Recovery), and a few other preferences.

Adding students is just as easy. You can have up to 10 groups and 200 students in each group. Students can be manually entered or use the Bulk Upload Students feature to upload using a prepared Excel or CSV file. I liked this feature because I could download student info from our district SIS and use student ID numbers for username and passwords.

Once students begin to use Biblionasium, going to My Groups allows you to select specific students and see what books they have added to their shelves, reading logs, challenges, and more.


Click on My Books lets you see your book shelves. Besides the All Books shelf, where every book you select are listed, there are four other pre-defined shelves: Favorites, Recommended, Required, Classroom Wish List. As you find books you can choose which shelf they should appear on and can add them to multiple shelves. Hovering over book covers shows you basic book information and reviews.

My only gripe with the program is the inability to customize these book shelves. I wish I could create whatever shelf I want - picture books for example, or perhaps shelves based on genre. Students have a Want to Read It shelf and, as a teacher,  I would love to have one too.

Finding books to add to the shelf is extremely easy. Simple click the Search for Books link, type in the book title or author and click Go. You can also search for books by reading level or category. Once you see a list of possible matches you can click on the book to see a summary and student reviews (more on that later). From here you can add it to a book shelf or to the Class Wish List (which parents can use for suggested books to buy for you class.

Reports and Resources

The Reports section allows you to view class or student information. These reports can be viewed on screen or emailed to you.

There is also a sample letter to parents that can be copied and pasted into a word processor to customize.

Student View

When students log in they see a similar layout. From their navigation they can

  • add books to their shelves
  • see what classmates are reading and their shelves,
  • view teacher reading challenges and awards earned
  • log their reading
  • review books they've added to their shelves

When students review books, those reviews show up when another student in the class or the teacher searches for that book. This is an excellent way for students to share reading interests and to also practice their writing skills.

@Biblionasium is a great website for teachers to use to encourage independent reading.  I love that students can see what classmates are reading and read their reviews and recommendations. Recording their reading log is an additional tool teachers can use to make sure students are practicing their reading. My only gripe is the inability to customize shelves, but that's a minor complaint in light of all that teachers and students can do with the site.

Check out the Biblionasium website yourself and let me know what you think in the comments.


  1. Thank you for this thorough and thoughtful review. We will consider your request and look to see how to best implement it, without compromising simplicity and the performance of the platform.
    Kind Regards

  2. Thank you! I see that students have a shelf for Want to Read. As a teacher I'd like to be able show students whats on my Want to Read as well. Sometimes it's nice to group books - by genre for example, or picture books and chapter books, etc.

  3. Thank you SO MUCH for this useful explanation, Mr. Thomas! I plan to use BiblioNasium in my private school classroom next year, and your article will really help parents get to know the platform.

  4. Thank you for the read and comment! This website is an excellent way to get kids excited about reading and sharing.