Simple recipe...

For Shireland’s approach to adding value and

interactivity to texts using Books Notes









  • Delegate credit to teachers. Admin accounts can set teachers a credit limit so you can budget for this study. Teachers won’t actually need much of a limit as most book short rentals are under £1.
  • Train teachers. so they know how to approve students’ book requests and annotate books effectively.
  • Select your students by creating suitable groups. Shireland focused on their transition Yr6 students.



1.   Investigate the titles that are
      available which cover the required
      area of the curriculum

  • Finding and allocating books is a very straightforward process. Use the search facility to locate titles using key words.
  • Make use of the range of filters that are available so that you can drill down and find titles that are going to be of most benefit to your students.
  • Preview a book so that you have a good idea about its contents.



  • If you discover a book that will be of use to you at some point in the future, add it to your wishlist
  • When you have discovered the title you require, allocate the book to yourself or add the necessary number of copies to the school library.

2.  Use the new annotation tools to
     add interactivity to an ebook.

  • The new reading experience in RM Books enables you to create and manage Book notes
  • You have the ability to add text, web links, YouTube videos, images, your own video, audio, attachments and quizzes. You can also create a comment, bookmark pages, discover the meaning of a word, search the book for words or highlight text.
  • To add an overlay, basically select the necessary text using the Select tool and you are given the option to Create overlay. You can then decide upon the tool that you would like to use.
  • If you discover a book that will be of use to you at some point in the future, add it to your wishlist.
  • When you have discovered the title you require, allocate the book to yourself or add the necessary number of copies to the school library.
Section 4d
  • Quizzes are an excellent way to test a user’s understanding of the text. When you select the quiz icon you can give the quiz a name and you can decide upon the quiz settings. Once the quiz settings have been made, click Next to start building the quiz content. There are four different types of questions to choose from: Multiple Choice (single answer), Multiple Choice (multiple answer), True or False, and Short Answers. Enter a question and choose a question type from the drop down menu. Then, fill out the question choices accordingly without forgetting to indicate the right answers. Once done, click on the Finish button.
  • If you want to edit any of your annotations, right-click on the icon and you have the options to edit the overlay, edit the appearance of the overlay or delete the overlay.
Section 4e
  • Once you have created your annotations they are stored in your Book notes. They are stored separately from the books, so even if your book rental period has expired you still have your Books Notes for next time. From here you can request a copy of your teaching colleagues’ Book Notes – for example you could share the task of annotating books for a particular topic between your team.
  • You can push out your Book Notes annotations to students by choosing Book notes > Share > then select the Group of students you’d like to receive your annotations (or select students individually) > Save changes. Now when you allocate those students the corresponding book, their copy of the book will inherit your annotations. Note, for the rest of 2014, you need to read online to see the Book Notes.
  • Teachers at Shireland found that the new interactive features were intuitive and incredibly easy to use, and their students were more engaged by annotated books.

4.   Introduce your project to your students

  • To start their annual Transition project, Shireland visit their main feeder Primaries (not all, there are over 30) to introduce the summer school challenge to the Year 6 students during the summer term. A project Summer Challenge Pack of resources, including students’ RM Books login details, are mailed home to parents and guardians, to involve families too. 
  • Send students their logins directly. They will no doubt discover the offline apps for themselves. This email template will help you do that quickly.


  • Explain to students that they can read whenever they like, including at home on games systems, their own phones or tablets, as well as in school on devices in rooms X, Y, Z and the library, and when those rooms are open. You don’t want any barriers to reading and many students do most of their reading at home.
  • Show students how to look-up all words they don’t understand using the built-in dictionary.
  • If you’re going to include a prize or incentive for the most books read, most Accelerated Reader points accrued, or the most progress in reading level made, then tell everyone about it from day one, keep it simple and provide regular updates on progress.


  • Support this project with timetabled reading time.
  • Provide internet-connected devices (PCs, tablets, netbooks) for all students during that time, or, trust students to use their own SmartPhones or tablets for reading at school.

5.   Use auto-marked quiz dashboard
      to personalise next interaction

  • You can easily monitor which students are reading which books and for how long using the “Reports” section of RM Books. Choose “Users” and select your students to see a breakdown. Optionally, if you’ve added these students to a Group, e.g. “Transition KS2 Level 2”, selecting that group will speed-up finding students.  You can export this reading data for your records.
  • This usage reporting is only visible to teachers. You could choose to show students you have these screens and use the data with students in one-to-one discussions or make a fun competition out of the reading stats.


  • After using the quiz facility to test the student’s knowledge and understanding of a book, the assessment reports show you the automarked results in an actionable dashboard. You can drill into a subset of the overall quiz’s results using filters, e.g. just showing your Transition KS2 Level 2 readers’ results rather than all Transition students.
  • Variation in results between students tells you who you now need to focus additional individual support time with. Questions that have commonly been answered incorrectly suggest areas that you need to spend more whole class time on. You can export this formative assessment data for your records, if you wish.


  • Rerun your reading level test, such as Star Reader, at the end of each term to provide a regular tracking of whether reading level is improving as a result of the reading that’s been going on.
  • Use reading monitoring to engage in a dialogue about books with your students, to intervene where progress is not being made, and as evidence to praise progress. 
I’m very comfortable recommending to other heads that they ought to look at RM Books as a solution which will increase levels of engagement and absolutely will increase levels of achievement.
Sir Mark Grundy, Executive Principal