Change formatting (font size, style etc) in books made from reader templates

Question: Should users be able to change formatting in books made using a reader template? I made decodable-leveled reader templates for a particular vernacular language and generated a Bloom Pack. Then I installed the Bloom Pack on another laptop (both computers running up-to-date Windows 10). Then, using the installed templates as the sources, I made three books. One thing I noticed is that the Level 1 Stage 1 book opened as Level 1 Stage 3. No problem, just adjust the stage. Then added a page with no complaints and tried to open the gear icon to check the font size and character spacing. It was disallowed, with a message popping up stating, “Sorry, Reader Templates do not allow changes to formatting.” The change layout slider and associated functions work, and all parameters for the stage and level are editable. Is it intended that text format not be changeable? Or might it be a result of something I’ve overlooked? Or a bug? Running Bloom 3.9.7.

Yes, it is intended that text format not be changeable.

The reason is that we expect the designer of a level or stage to determine a good font, size, line spacing and so forth for that level.

Thank you, John. Understood. I’ve observed the flow of development on this. The first time I prepared reader templates for use by folks in several vernacular language communities, maybe a year and a half ago, none of the parameters related to formatting or to the settings for the decodable or leveled readers were editable by end-users. They could not even add a sight word. Then in a second experience about eight months ago, it seemed there were no restrictions as to what the end-users could change, but I’m not sure if I looked at text formatting at that time. I saw the restriction on end-users adjusting text/paragraph formatting for the first time yesterday and so wanted to confirm that it is intended so we can instruct participants accurately as to what they can and cannot do as they use the templates. So, we will let them know that, should they need to adjust font size or paragraph spacing, they can let us know and we will sent an updated Bloom Pack.

Thanks again.

It appears that some books created from templates (like the moon and the cap) allow modification of the formatting. Is it ONLY books created with the decodable and/or leveled reader tools activated that are restricted to not change formatting? Or what are the limits?

And just to add another thought… In a book created from a decodable reader template, I can’t change the formatting of a text box, but I can change the formatting of the page - adding pictures and text boxes. Isn’t that a little inconsistent, that you can’t center your text (would need a whole other template set for centered text), but you can add and even delete the fields that are on the template pages? I didn’t try yet, but I wonder if you can change the text format of a field that you add. If you can, then add another field, set it the way you want, and then delete the original field!

Yes, Jeff, normally Bloom allows formatting to be changed to fit the needs of the local language. However in the case of decodable/leveled readers, the idea is that adapting to the needs of the language has already been done, and authors are not have the freedom to change those decisions.

I don’t think so. The organizations that requested the decodable/leveled features wanted to, for example, lock in a large font size for certain levels. I do not think they are concerned if you needed to change aspects of the layout of the page.

So is there a way in a decodable/leveled reader to add a text field with a title? The best we have found is to make the text bold and, if you want the text centered to use spaces to “approximate” centered text. I couldn’t find a way to select a different style. It seems like higher-level texts need to be able to have a little bit more than just straight text in a text field. I’m not a literacy person, but just trying to express the frustrations of the people in the course.

What I understand is that the templates are intended to be used in cooperation with a resource person who can adjust them if program people (teachers and supervisors, for example) agree that an adjustment is needed. Then the resource person would provide everyone with an updated Bloom Pack. Decodable readers in particular are a new concept for many, needing clear explanation and time to learn how they work. Since they are intended to be used with pupils who have not yet learned all the sound-symbol relationships in the orthography of their language, they are by nature to be quite simple - which actually makes them more difficult to write well than more advanced materials. In one workshop where the version of Bloom we were using did not have all the parameters controlled, some users “discovered” that by making all the letters available for Stage 1 readers they could solve the “problem” of the highlighting that happened when they used disallowed characters. More careful explanation was definitely in order.

You should still be able to select text and bold it. If you cannot, please file a bug and we’ll get that fixed.

Yes, we can make the text bold. So that is helpful. And the participants do understand the concept of decodable/leveled readers pretty well. And I think it’s great that there are limits on font sizes and such at the different levels, and that those should be enforced. But I guess the question I’m trying to ask is about the pedagogy of leveled readers, for example. When you get to level 6 where the default limits are 20 words per sentence, 50 words per page, and 1000 words per book, is the intention still to have one completely controlled (identical size/format, except that one can add bold) block of text? Our editors were feeling that with that much text they wanted the ability to put in titles, for example. If the pedagogy says, no, just a monolithic block of text in leveled readers, then we’ll just make sure they know that. I guess I should mention as well that in this particular case they are planning on using Bloom to design and control the books, but then put them into something like InDesign for professional publication (for the education system of 3 national languages). So, in some sense, the details of the formatting don’t really make that much difference. The workshop is over now, but I appreciate your input over the week.

Please read my other reply, but just to add one thought - I agree completely that the resource person should be defining the configuration of font size, etc., and that if people feel differently, they need to negotiate with the resource person. But the pedagogical question is whether larger texts should be able to have a title (for example) or not. Might it be possible for the resource person to define 2 styles that could be used in the leveled reader? In that case the formatting “gear” might give the same message “You can’t change the formatting in reading templates”, but if there was more than one style defined (by the consultant that created the template), it would give you the option to select between the styles that were created. I can imagine that that would be a bit messy to program… and I guess it would still be good to hear from the experts about whether the higher leveled readers should still just be one monolithic text block. Full stop. Get on with life…