First, I want to begin by saying that, obviously, the best place to get good recommendations for any of these categories are people you know and whose judgment you respect.
Secondly, I want to clarify that in this list I’m not going to cover any of the many websites that allow you to see what your “friends” are suggesting, either.
Instead, this “The Best…” list will highlight ways to get recommendations that are (or at least I think they are) based on some kind of computer generated formula. And, in some of them, they might be considered more like a search engine.
I’ve used these applications to identify new resources to assist in my teaching, and I’ve also had students (primarily reluctant-readers from my ninth-grade mainstream class) use one or two of them to find books in which they might be interested.
I’m sure I’m missing some good tools out there, so please feel free to leave suggestions in the Comments section.
Here are my choices for The Best Places To Get Blog, Website, Book, Movie, & Music Recommendations (again, through some kind of computer generated system):
BLOGS & WEBSITES:
Similar Sites is another web tool that deserves to be on this list, and in this section.
BOOKS, MOVIES, & MUSIC:
Here, one obvious tool is Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item..” section that lists the books, movies, and music that other people purchased who also bought the item you’re looking at.
Scholastic has recently started the Teacher Book Wizard. It’s a data base of over 50,000 books that’s searchable by keyword, title or author. You can also type in the title of book and indicate if you are looking for similar books at the same, lower, or higher level. I typed in the keyword “immigration” and was able to find quite a few that I know my students would consider “high-interest” ones. I certainly got a better selection that I did when I typed the same word at Amazon’s site. I think this might end up being quite useful to teachers of English Language Learners.
Netflix’s “Enjoyed By Members Who Enjoyed” and “More Like This” features are also useful sources of recommendations.
Movie Lens is a new recommendation/search engine for movies, and it’s by far the most effective tool — for teachers, at least – I’ve found to search for movies. The other typical sites that let you search for movies do it by genre (adventure, romance, etc.). Movie Lens is the first that I’ve found that, in addition to searching by genre, lets you search by what they call “tags.” For example, I searched for “World War II” and got an extensive list of World War II-related movies — a list that I would not have found through Amazon, Netflix, or any other tool on this list.
Huey the Bookbot recommends children’s books based on the user’s interest.
Boys Read is a good source of book recommendations for…boys.
The Book Seer is the newest addition to this list. You complete this sentence:
Ambassador, I’ve just finished reading _____________ by ____________ . What should I read next?
After that, you’re shown a split screen with recommendations from Amazon and from “Library Thing.” I could see my mainstream ninth-graders getting a “kick” out of using it and, more importantly, finding some books they might be interested in reading.
Sonia uses Artificial Intelligence to develop book recommendations after you describe what you are interested in reading.
Type the last three books you read into Reccabook , and it will make books recommendations for you.
Readow is another AI tool for book recommendations.
Love at First Line is a lot of fun – it introduces new books to you by showing you their first lines. You can even create a collection of them! It’s sponsored by the Franklin Public Library and the Boston Public Library.
What to Read After… offers book recommendations. It worked most of the time I tried it, though sometimes I would receive an error.