It’s time for summer reading, and if you’re a long-time library user you know the drill: go to the library, sign up, log your reading and activities in a paper booklet, get prizes. But this year we have some cool new additions that will let you participate without ever leaving home (except to pick up prizes) and will let you help us raise a very cool 10G for a new library facility.
So, for starters . . . we need you to sign up and read!
Participating in the summer program always helps us with our statistics, but this year, the family of Judy G. Western has very kindly offered to donate $1 to the building fund for every hour of reading that our community logs through the summer program, if we reach the goal of logging 10,000 hours. So, our goal is to read 10,000 hours for $10,000. You can help us do that by signing up for the summer program and reading.
Like, literally that’s all you have to do: read and log your reading from June 1 to July 31. All types of reading count, including listening to audiobooks and reading to others.
And that brings us to our next big announcement. We now have a digital way for you to sign up, log your hours, and track your activities. It’s through Beanstack, and you can access it through an online browser or through a smartphone app that you can download from Android’s Google Play or Apple’s App Store. (No worries, if you still want to use the paper booklets to track your participation, you can certainly do so, or you can do both, track on paper and record on Beanstack. We’ve got you covered this summer!)
I’ve been using Beanstack over the past week and have been pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to use.
Here’s a quick tutorial that walks you through how easy it is to sign up and use!
As with my Libby tutorials, I’m going to do this tutorial via the browser rather than the app because it is easier for me to do screenshots that way, but I will switch over to the app at the end to show you how easy it is to log reading.
If you’re signing up for the first time, just go to “Register an Individual or Family.”
You will then have the option to just register yourself or to be an adult who registers a child. I’m going to walk you through how to register yourself and multiple children because I know a lot of our users are going to be families participating in summer reading, but adults registering themselves will fill out the same information.
If you have multiple people on your account, Beanstack makes a distinction between the main person on the account and the other readers on the account. (In one of the training videos I watched, they compared it to a driver with passengers–the person who creates the account is the driver, and everyone else in your house is a passenger.) That might seem a little abstract, so I’m using a fictional family to show you how this works. Ragnar and his Viking family really like to read, so they all want to participate. 😉
The first thing you’ll do is fill out your name, username (which can be whatever you want or, if you don’t want to create one, leave it blank and it will default to your email address), email address, phone number, and password.
We have challenges for all ages, so even if you have children who are too young to be in school, they can still participate.
For readers under 6, they’re eligible for our Once Upon a Time challenge. For kids this age, we’re counting books read to them rather than minutes spent reading.
Once you have registered the first child, you’ll see the badge they unlocked for registering (everyone gets a badge for registering!):
Once you have exited out of the badge, you’ll see the option to register another child.
Our reading challenges for the summer are age-based (as always) and Beanstack automatically signs you up for the right one. Be sure to fill in the child’s age and grade level for the fall to place them in the right answer. For schools, you have an option of picking Berryville Public School, Homeschooled, or Other if they attend one of the other local school districts.
Readers between 6 and 8 are eligible for our Imagine Your Story: Far Away challenge while readers between 8 and 12 are eligible for our Imagine Your Story: There Lived a Frog challenge. For children in these challenges, we’re counting hours read–that includes them reading or being read to or listening to audiobooks–and the main difference is in the amount of reading required. Each challenge also includes some fun activities they get to complete. Our teen Flying Monkeys challenge is open to readers between the ages of 12-17 and also includes logging reading hours and completing activities.
If you’re wondering about the overlap in some of the categories, readers who are on the bubble (such as 6 year olds, 8 year olds, and 12 year olds) have a choice in which challenge they sign up for, and parents can use their own discretion on which challenge they think is a better fit.
For our fictional friend Loki the Viking, as an 8 year old, he can sign up for either the Far Away challenge (which requires 15 hours of reading) or the There Lived a Frog challenge (which requires 25 hours of reading), and Beanstack gives the adult registering him this choice:
Once you’ve selected whichever challenge you think is best for the child’s reading level, you’re finished, and you can add more children–or another adult in the family.
When you indicate you are finished adding readers, you’ll be asked if you want to register yourself, and of course you do!
Since you added your information at the beginning of the process, all you have to do here is confirm you are over 18 and indicate Adult for your grade level, and you will be registered for our Yellow Brick Road challenge, which involves logging reading hours and doing some quick fun activities.
Once you’re finished logging everyone, you will be able to view all the readers on your account:
On the top left-hand side of the page, you’ll see the name of one of your readers. You can also click there to switch to another account in your household or even to add someone else:
In the very top left-hand corner, you’ll see the green button that says “Log Reading and Activities.” If you want to log reading for someone, just click there. You can also use the “Select a profile” option to select which reader you want to log time for.
You can choose to log by book or minutes. Let’s be sure to log minutes, though, for the challenge, so we can get to $10,000 for the library.
Select a day on the calendar and type in the minutes or hours you spent reading that day. You can just add “1 hr.” or “30 min.” or whatever amount of time, hit “Log,” and it has been recorded. Note, you don’t have to type in the title if you don’t want to.
What’s really nice is if the family is reading aloud together, you don’t have to add that time to everyone’s account individually. You just have to select “All readers” and all the readers on the account will be credited with the time.
You can add the hours as regularly or as irregularly as you want–whether that’s daily, weekly, monthly, or all at the end of the challenge. Just as long as the hours are logged by July 31, it doesn’t matter. It all counts!
If you want to be really detailed about how you log your time, the app is great for that. Once you’re logged in, you’re immediately greeted with your reading stats. To add reading time, just hit the purple plus sign at the bottom of the screen.
You can add activities for the challenge or reviews for the books you read, but to record actual reading time for the challenge, select the central “Reading” button.
You then have several ways to add whatever book you are reading. You can scan the ISBN, you can manually enter the ISBN, you can add the title, you can look at recently logged books, etc. You can also just bypass all that and only add time read.
I personally love the ISBN scanner. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how good it is. It’s so good I had a terrible time taking a proper screenshot of it because it kept scanning the ISBN faster than I could take a picture. Just move that red bar down toward the ISBN, and it will scan it.
As soon as it scans the ISBN, it automatically recognizes the book:
Once you’ve added the book, you can add time you’ve already read or automatically add it as read. But I really love the reading timer, which you can activate by just hitting “Start Reading Session.”
The timer runs as long as you read. You can pause it if you have to pause your reading, and when you are done, all you have to hit is “Done.” And you don’t have to worry about calculating how long you were reading because the timer does it for you:
When you’re finished, you will have the option of adding the page range you read while you were reading. Again, you don’t have to do this, but if you’re like me and you like to be obsessive, it’s an interesting way to track your reading stats.
You’ll also have the option of indicating when you’ve finished the book each time you time your reading, though again that’s easily ignored:
If you’re logging titles, you can view what you’ve read through the app’s reading log. You can also check the badges you’ve earned and any reviews you’ve written.
The really nice thing about Beanstack is it makes it easy for you to track the whole family’s reading and summer program participation, and it is really flexible on how you record your reading time. And that’s going to help us get $10,000 toward a new library. 🙂
Have you signed up for the summer program? Have you tried Beanstack? Any questions you’d like us to address? Let us know in the comments!