Successfully Navigating the “A Book And A Hug” Website: A Seven Minute Video Tutorial

Prepared by: Marissa Marmolejo and Erin Mundy, San José State University


This instructional design plan is a one-time instruction tool designed for your learners. It is in the form of a 7 minute screencast tutorial, which specifically introduces the learners, K-12 educators, how to navigate the website, “A Book & A Hug” (ABAAH).

We believe our instructional design functions as a guide for how to effectively search and use a valuable online resource. Furthermore, we think that it is highly important for this specific learner group to be resourceful and prepared with the most useful academic tools available that will enable them to also encourage their K-12 students to be successful life-long readers and learners. As the ABAAH website profoundly states, “the magic happens when the characteristics of the reader match the characteristics of the story.”

TLDR: Watch this Screencast Tutorial! A transcript is also available at the bottom of this page.

Why this instruction needs to happen & what types of learners will benefit from it

Our overall goal for this tutorial is for participants to learn how to proficiently search the ABAAH website so that they can find and select meaningful books, which would both expand their library collections and enrich their students’ learning experiences. Especially given that the volume and pace of information resources continues to grow on the Internet, it is imperative to familiarize educators how to navigate them effectively. In this way, the K-12 teachers and school librarians that are seeking to develop their searching skills will do so more efficiently after completing our ABAAH tutorial.

What learners should already know

This learner group is assumed to already know how to use web browsers, search databases, and because they would have a better sense of their students’ literacy skills and needs, they would know how to choose appropriate texts that meaningfully supplement lesson plans/curriculum. As educators, we assume that they have a need/desire to broaden their library collections with new, engaging books.

What learners will learn

After completing this tutorial, learners will be able to:

  • Effectively and confidently search the ABAAH website, and describe what each of the seven tabs at the top of the ABAAH homepage covers.
  •  Conduct a search using one or more of the identified criteria in our tutorial, and perform searches using the different search criteria promoted on the ABAAH website.
  •  Utilize the assessment tool available on the site and subsequently teach their students how to take it.
  •  Create an account for themselves and/or their class and start making recommendations.

Learners, in this way, will become savvy in searching and finding resources that will ultimately provide them opportunities to interact with other dedicated educators, and share productive ideas for potential lesson plans. It also gives them a chance to become an integral part of ABAAH by signing up for an account, and making book recommendations that can possibly fast-track the decision making processes for selecting new material in the future.

How learners will experience this tutorial

In order to avoid information overload, learners will be given a broad overview of what the ABAAH website is about in the introduction of the tutorial by: explaining the seven tabs at the top of the homepage; demonstrating how to search the ABAAH website by using the identified search criteria available on the site; accessing and taking the ABAAH site’s Reader Personality Type(s) assessment; and describing the different ways that this instruction will benefit them by briefly touching on the site’s educator benefits.

As a way of arranging learner participation for the virtual unit of instruction, learners will be prompted to pause the screencast tutorial, and practice the demonstrated examples on the ABAAH website on their own. This provides learners valuable opportunities for developing their skills (and memory retention) as they progress through the tutorial.

Since the instructional delivery is in the form of a pre-recorded screencast, communication and assistance for guiding learners in real-time is limited. For instance, if a learner had any questions, we would not be immediately available for response. Other limitations may include slow internet connectivity or low bandwidth issues which could interfere with the screencast instruction and learning process. In this regard, the instruction has been purposely kept brief and direct, insofar as to optimize accessibility and flexibility for all participants.

What instructional materials are needed for this tutorial

The screencast, our method of instruction, is recorded on Canvas Studio, which learners can easily participate in embedded discussion threads. The benefit of a pre-recorded screencast is for learners to access and learn on their own time, at their individual pace. Canvas Studio can also generate captions (which have been created). This particular feature enables learners with hearing impairments or other accessibility issues a viable means of engaging with the tutorial. A transcript is also provided from the recording to go with the screencast (see Appendix).

How learners & the tutorial will be evaluated

The ongoing evaluation will be derived from any learner feedback received during the instruction, or comments regarding the database search exercises. For example, we may respond by modifying the instructional design by spending more time discussing and instructing how to use a particular feature on the ABAAH website.

Final evaluation will take place in the form of a short survey at the end of the tutorial. The questions we plan to ask learners for the final evaluation are as follows:

  • Do you feel the instruction was successful in meeting your learning needs?
  • Do you feel you would sign up for a user account based on your review of the tutorial?
  • What would you add, remove or change to improve this tutorial?
  • After reviewing the ABAAH website, would you refer a friend or colleague to the site?

As for final evaluation outcomes, we will respond by comparing gathered feedback from the questions above and apply relevant improvements.



“A Book and a Hug” Screencast Transcript

Erin: Hello everyone, welcome to our tutorial. My name is Erin, and this Marissa, and we’ll be sharing an awesome resource with you all today called “A Book and a Hug,” an open website and searchable database replete with diverse books for K through 12 librarians; to browse, make recommendations, and effectively add titles to their collections based on students’ reading levels and interests. You see, the creator, Barb Langridge, started “A Book and a Hug” in 2008 with the intention of helping children find books that they love. Especially since she has seen how children view reading as an assignment rather than a fun activity to enjoy on their own. It is for this reason, we thought it would be important to share this resource and instruct you, our learners, how to search the “A Book and a Hug” website and describe each of the seven tabs here at the top; conduct searches using one or more of the identified criteria in our tutorial; utilize the assessment tool on the site and teach your students how to take it. Then, at the end, we will show you how to sign up for an account for yourself and/or your class so you can start writing recommendations. Alright, let’s get started.

Marissa: The “Keywords” tab and “Books by Category” tab are pretty self-explanatory in that you can either search by keywords or by genre. The third tab, “Read Alikes,” features lists of favorite titles broken down by genre. So if your students enjoyed reading The Hunger Games, then you can click on that title and it will take you to a page that features similar titles they may also enjoy. If your book is not listed here, then you can go ahead and email “A Book and a Hug” at this email address and they will go ahead and post it. Fourth, “Authors,” under the “Authors” tab, features current and/or favorite authors. And these are just biographies of these authors. “Write Your Own Reviews” tab is the instruction page for how to create an account, set up your profile, how to write reviews, and write comments. And once you become a top reviewer, in that you make a number of recommendations, then you and/or your class can be posted on the leaderboard as making top recommendations. “Lesson Plans” is a page where librarians and teachers can post successful lesson plans and collaborate with one another. And then the “Log in” page is just that, a login page to your “A Book and a Hug” account.

Erin: As you notice, each of these criteria is located in the column on the left hand side of each page for you to conduct a search. We talked about keywords for example, so let’s look at searching by category and subcategory. Let’s do a search by selecting a category of book genre. Let’s go with historical fiction in this case. And then we can also pick a subcategory. We’ll go with countries. So doing a search by country means the search will pull book results about the country itself or the name of the country will be in the title of the book. So let’s go with Japan, in this case. And we have chosen historical fiction. Looks like 19 results pop up. At this time, please pause the tutorial for a few seconds to perform a practice search of your own. Another way to search a category includes a curriculum driven search which we’ll see here at the bottom. Let’s clear our options here. So what this means is you can click on a subject based curriculum that’s available. We’ll go with the science curriculum. Several books pop up that fall under that category. So if a category at the top, in this case, we’ll change it from historical fiction to non-fiction, that should also change our results. It looks like we get over 700 results once we change that category. So at this time, go ahead and pause for a few seconds to perform a curriculum based search on your own. So also, you when you click on a title, that book’s profile should pop up right here and the corresponding information, including the reading level, reader personality, the author etc. Scroll down, you’ll find a short synopsis of the book right here. And then as you scroll further down you should find an opportunity to write user reviews and also to favorite the book.

Marissa: One of the main features of the site located under “Reader Types” is a reader personality assessment quiz. And this is a 10 question quiz in which the results categorize each person into four reader styles: Team Player, Jokester, Champion, or Investigator. Answering these questions will help determine the type of books your students gravitate towards. So for example, if the results determine your student is a Team Player, he or she might gravitate towards books about friendship, sports, or working together. Jokesters might gravitate towards books about adventure, books about doing things, or funny books. Champions might love reading about the underdog, while Investigators might like reading about non-fiction, puzzle books, or historical fiction. Knowing your students’ reader styles will help you make more informed choices about what kinds of books would best suit your classroom and library collections. So at this time, you can either stop the tutorial and take the quiz or you can take the quiz later at your leisure.

Erin: Lastly, there are also a variety of feature educator benefits that the “A Book and a Hug” website provides, to name a few. By scrolling down to the footer of the home page you will find a comprehensive bulleted list under the title, “For Educators” header. Clicking on “Classroom Guide” you will find a convenient tutorial about registering your entire class for an account. As the site shares, this will not only give you greater access to features on “A Book and a Hug,” it will also inspire your students to write more reviews and enthusiastically participate in the evaluation of books that they read.

Marissa: So please take a moment to let us know how we can improve this tutorial by answering the following questions in the comments box. Do you feel the instruction was successful in meeting your learning needs? Do you feel you would sign up for a user account based on your review of the tutorial? What would you add, remove or change to improve this tutorial? And finally, after reviewing the “A Book and a Hug” website, would you refer a friend or colleague to the site?

We appreciate you spending some time with us as we navigate the features of “A Book and a Hug” and look forward to seeing you on the site real soon. Thank you.