Creating Excitement for Reading through Social Networking


As the pressure of the implementation of new core reading standards builds and the specter of SAGE looms, it is easy to forget that instilling the love of reading in our students is our primary goal. If our students embrace an authentic love of reading, everything else is easier and eventually falls into place. Research shows that as students read more, their comprehension grows, and so does the text complexity as they seek greater gratification from more sophisticated reading.

If we can make reading a social forum, suddenly, our students are texting, evaluating, chatting, messaging, and basically engaging in reading. I propose that we form an electronic book club through the use of the app, Goodreads. It allows readers to connect with other readers and authors in an electronic environment through book evaluations, reading lists, chat groups, data grouping, etc.
Though the use of Goodreads, we could collect data regarding the popularity of specific books, genres, and authors. For instance, I recently had an author “like” the comment I made about her book. I was in heaven. I felt like I had touched a celebrity. Imagine the effect of this kind of interaction on a student. Goodreads also gives readers opportunities to view webinars offered by authors, engage in discussions about specific books with readers across the world, rate and evaluate books and authors, and even, on special occasions, Skype as a group or individually with authors.

John Green, author of “Fault in Our Stars,” sends out links to videos about his writing process, and also quotes and memes from the perspective of his characters. Now, I am “friends” with several of my favorite authors including Neal Shusterman, Stephen King, Francisco Stork, and Ali Conde. I delight in the information and opportunities afforded me through this contact, and I know our students would get caught up in the fun of reading, not just the skills and standards.

There are many applications and uses of this app. We could hold reading challenges and competitions that range from class to class, to grade to grade, and even, school to school. We could schedule Skype sessions with specific authors in our school library for students who are “fans”. Imagine if we could change the focus of celebrity from wealth, fame, and body type to authors of great books! As an English teacher, I can see endless possibilities. Here are a few other uses for the devices:

• filming book responses as a Performance Based Assessment
• recording interviews for research or narrative papers as a Performance Based Assessment
• instant access to the Internet for in class research
• instant student polling for test review, checks for understanding, assessing, etc

My plan includes the purchase of either iPods, or some kind of tablet where students may access the Internet and update their reading status, give ratings to books, chat with authors, etc. Because these devices are portable, they could be used in multiple classrooms across the school and even multiple curricula.

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  • Uploaded by: kiirvine
  • Upload Date: 01-29-2014 07:04:25
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