What are they?

Livescribe smartpens are a college students' dream. Imagine a pen that not only allows you to take notes, but records what you are hearing. You can upload your notes to your computer and sync them with several online applications including Evernote.

How can I use them to promote reading?

Gwyneth Jones, the Daring Librarian, first introduced me to the idea of using a Livescribe pen to record booktalks (advertisements for books). Using your Livescribe pen and notepaper, create a booktalk for a book you wish to promote. Post the note in a prominent place and allow your students to check out the pen from you. When they use the pen to click on the book title, they hear the recorded booktalk.

Example Pencast: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Where can I purchase them?

  • Best Buy and bestbuy.com
  • Livescribe.com (They do have an educator's site which requires creating an account.)
  • Amazon
  • Target.com
  • Staples.com

I purchased my 4G Livescribe Echo SmartPen at Best Buy last year when it was on sale for $99.99. It is now listed on BestBuy.com for $149.99. The 2 GB is listed there for $84.99 while the the 8G is listed at $179.99.

Your pen will come with the specialty paper it uses. There are directions in the software for printing more paper, but I have never tried it. I purchased the small sticky notes I use for booktalks at Best Buy. A pack that includes both the 3x3 and the 3x5 sizes is listed on their site now for $12.99.

Disclaimer: I do not work for Best Buy!

Where can I learn more?

About Livescribe SmartPens

Livescribe's YouTube channel provides many helpful videos

Livescribe's website provides great support: Getting Started, How to, and Forums.

About Booktalks and Pencasts

Gwyneth Jones, The Daring Librarian, shares how she first started using SmartPens for book review pencasts in a blog post. She shares the steps she used to create them as well as some examples of ones she has created.

Gwyneth Jones has created and shared bookmarks you can use in conjunction with booktalk pencasts. Scroll to the bottom of this page to download them.

South Carolina's own Tamara Cox, the E-literate Librarian, won a SmartPen last year and began having her students create booktalk pencasts. Read her blog entry and follow the link to a handout she created to guide her students through a booktalk creation.



"Booktalks." Librarians@Random. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 June 2011. <www.randomhouse.com/teachers/librarians/booktalks.html>.

"Booktalks Quick and Simple." Nancy J. Keane's Children's Literature Webpage. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 June 2011. <http://nancykeane.com/booktalks/>.

Using Livescribe Pens in the Classroom

Livebinders - This Livebinder contains links to several sites with ideas.


Andrade, David. "Livescribe Echo Smartpen." Tech & Learning. N.p., 23 May 2011. Web. 6 June 2011. <http://techlearning.com/blogs/39218>.

Cox, Tamara. "Eliterate Librarian: A "Smart" Booktalk." Eliterate Librarian. N.p., 12 Nov. 2011. Web. 10 Mar. 2012. <http://e-literatelibrarian.blogspot.com/2011/11/smart-booktalk.html>.

Jones, Gwyneth. "Livescribe Pencast Book Reviews & More!." The Daring Librarian. N.p., 2 Dec. 2010. Web. 6 June 2011.

Nevermissaword. "How Do Smartpens Work?" N.p., N.d. Web. 6 June 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/user/nevermissaword?ob=5#p/c/DF3C7D7CED3E003B>.