CAST UDL Book Builder

Website review by
Polly Conway, Common Sense Media
CAST UDL Book Builder Website Poster Image
Read, write, share -- there's no wrong way to enjoy a book.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to write their own book and pick up some online publishing skills as well. Book Builder shows kids that people learn in different ways, and offers its writers advice on how to reach the widest audience with their words using UDL (Universal Design for Learning). From page layout to learning styles, kids will gain practical experience with something to show at the end.

Positive Messages

Book Builder sends kids the message that there are lots of different learning styles, and that whatever works best (visual, auditory, etc.) for individual kids is A-OK and supported by their system. It also promotes self-esteem, which is created when a kid writes his or her own book and is able to share it with the public.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Book Builder is a website that allows kids to read, create, and share their own books online. Some of the books are educational, written by adults to help kids learn in their own ways, and others, written and illustrated by kids of all ages, are just fun to read. Because it's a self-publishing tool, the quality varies, but kids should enjoy browsing titles and gathering inspiration for their own story or idea. They may need a parent's help with the more technical aspects of the site (scanning and uploading pictures, formatting pages), but the tool is pretty intuitive and kids will love being a "published" author.

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What's it about?

CAST UDL Book Builder is a free online tool that allows visitors \"to create, share, publish, and read digital books that engage and support diverse learners according to their individual needs, interests, and skills.\" Many books include a learning guide that helps parents and teachers facilitate discussion and enhance the reading experience for kids. Kids can also use the tool to publish their own stories and lessons, including illustrations and photographs.

Is it any good?

Kids will be thrilled to see their own book in the Book Builder Public Library (or use the option to share only with family members and friends). There aren't too many bells and whistles in Book Builder -- no fancy fonts or ways to resize photo, but kids will appreciate the straightforward, simple program. Parents should be pleased to see that many books in the Book Builder Library cater to various learning styles as UDL's mission is to make information easy for all students to understand.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what inspires people to tell their own story and share it with the world.

  • Families can talk about what it means to publish something online. Who can see it? How does it feel to share your work?

  • Families can also talk about individual learning styles. What works best for your kid?

Website details

For kids who love to create

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