eBooks info

Using eBooks in school

What are eBooks?

eBooks are electronic versions of printed books that give pupils and teachers a new way of interacting with words and pictures on screen. A growing number of schools around the country are using eBooks as part of their teaching – engaging reluctant and struggling readers with the increased functionality and personalised reading experience.

  • Use on the whiteboard and/or laptops or netbooks for guided reading sessions
  • Network for independent and group reading on desktops, laptops, iPads, Kindles or other eReaders
  • Add to your school’s VLE or network for pupils to access independently at home or in the library

‘Using eBooks made me enjoy reading better’
Year 9 student

‘The effects of using eBooks are hugely positive – leading to an increase in comprehension, motivation and overall attainment’
Jenny Langley, Manchester Academy

What eBook format should I use?

The eBooks provided here on the site are in ePDF format, which is a universal format that will work well across PCs, whiteboards, netbooks, iPads, iPods and other eReaders.

Loading and using the eBooks on your PCs and laptops

To access your ePDF eBook on computers and laptops, you will need a PDF reader. To enjoy the full functionality, we recommend using Foxit Reader.

Once you have saved the eBook onto your network or hard drive, you can navigate via the on-screen menu to go to your chosen page. Zoom in and out using the tools to increase the size of the text, change the view to include single or double pages and click on the navigation keys to go to the next or previous page for ease of reading. You can highlight text to focus on specific words or phrases, add sticky notes to embed questions and use the interactive glossary to pull up a description of the word where it appears in the text. Some of our eBooks feature interactive quizzes that can be completed once the text has been read – simply click on the question to reveal the correct answer. Links to external websites can also be embedded to allow pupils to find out more about the subject.

If you do not already have Adobe Reader or Foxit Reader, then the software is available as free downloads from their websites.

Rising Stars eBooks are also available in other formats (including ePub and Mobi) for optimum use on any device. Visit the Rising Stars website to find out more.

Loading the eBooks onto your eReader or Apple device

On a Kindle
• Save the files to your desktop or onto your school’s network
• Connect your Kindle and open the documents folder
• Drag or copy the files across

On a Nook eReader
• Save the files to your desktop or onto your school’s network
• Connect your eReader and open the My Documents folder
• Drag or copy the files across

On a Kobo eReader
• Save the files to your desktop or onto your school’s network
• Connect your eReader and drag the files across into the Digital editions or My Documents folder

On a Kindle Fire
• Save the files to your desktop or onto your school’s network
• Connect your Kindle Fire and open the Books folder
• Drag or copy the files across

On an iPad, iPod touch or iPhone
• Most Apple devices come with the iBooks app – but if yours doesn’t, then it is free to download from the App Store
• Save the files to your desktop or onto your school’s network
• Drag or copy the files across into iTunes
• Plug in your Apple device and sync with iTunes

How can I use eBooks in my school?

The success of eBooks with learners is significant – the image associated with technology rather than paper gives reading a new, modern and ‘cool’ feel, the increased functionality means that pupils can interact more fully with the text and the reading experience can be personalised to motivate and enthuse all pupils.

Recent research by PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) has shown that the gender gap in reading ability between boys and girls is much narrower when they are reading digital texts rather than print-based texts.

Boys’ interest and abilities in digital reading could be exploited to start a ‘virtuous cycle’ through which more frequent reading of digital texts would result in better digital reading proficiency, which, in turn, would lead to greater enjoyment of reading and better proficiency in print reading as well.

PISA report, Jan 12

eBooks on Whiteboards

eBooks on interactive whiteboards can be used in a similar fashion to big books, displaying text and images to the whole class at once. With the ability to zoom in and out of text and images, the teacher can ensure each pupil’s eyes are looking at the right part of the book on the board, rather than gazing over the whole page. This also enables teachers to maximise the touch-screen interactive nature of the whiteboard to hone in on specific words with which the class may be unfamiliar, including those with unusual spellings. Many eBooks have in-built glossaries and dictionaries meaning that it is a simple clickthrough process from the word on the page to showing pupils a written definition of the word on screen. If terms within the definition are also unknown to the learner, these too can be immediately understood by clicking through again.

eBooks on PCs, netbooks or laptops

On a smaller scale, eBooks can be used on PCs or laptops to facilitate children working together in groups or pairs. With a mouse and keyboard, children can answer questions embedded by their teacher together. eBooks, when used on PCs and/or with a whiteboard offer a new and effective approach to guided reading.

eBooks on iPads and iPod Touches

Many schools are now investing in various Apple devices to use in class. eBooks are a great addition to your iPad or iPod Touch content – simply add them to iTunes to sync with your device, where they will be added to your iBooks app.

The full colour Rising Stars eBooks work particularly well on screen.

eBooks for less able and reluctant readers

eBooks have proved particularly successful with low-ability and reluctant readers. They offer a degree of privacy that is not possible with paperbacks. Many teachers will recognise the embarrassment felt by learners who have a lower reading ability than their peers. Humiliation felt from struggling with a babyish book when their peers are steaming ahead with age-appropriate materials can erect a great barrier to reading and have a demotivating effect. When eBooks are read on handheld devices, children have been known to read them on the bus, confident in the knowledge that those around them will not know whether they are playing a game or reading. In addition to reading any level of book that they want, free from the scrutiny of their peers, this ‘camouflage’ of the eBook also allows learners to read and re-read books until they feel comfortable and confident to move on to trickier texts. As confidence and motivation are often the key to becoming successful readers, the freedom from peer pressure can have a great effect.

Case study

Marie Buckland from Oakhill First School in Redditch describes her experience of using eBooks in her classroom:

“Using eBooks with my groups of reluctant Year 3 readers working at Level 1 has been a real revelation. I find that the use of technology motivates and engages reluctant and struggling readers. Using PDAs enhances the quality of our sessions as the children are so enthusiastic that they quickly learn to use the technology in order to navigate the books with ease. I downloaded a Kids & Co. story for my guided reading session. They really engaged the children through familiar but humorous contexts, and within a term, both groups moved away from slowly decoding word-by-word in a monotone voice to reading enthusiastically with fluency, expression and UNDERSTANDING of the text. The illustrations were great for stimulating good discussion about the possible plot of the story and, enlarged on an a whiteboard, provided great opportunities to teach specific vocabulary related to the story by playing matching games, using the highlighting functionality and adding annotations.”