I’d like to take credit for their reading – but the credit belongs to the students themselves. They share books with each other. They talk about what they are reading and make recommendations to peers. Many have a stack of books to read that is as big as mine.
My job, then, is to become a catalyst for book talks. The goal is to continue the “community of readers” into the summer. Here are some ways I’ve offered up to my students:
Make a Book Review Blog Post Schedule
All my students have been allowed “contributor” access to the class blog. They’ve all subscribed to the feeds. I ask for student volunteers to sign up to write posts on certain days. They can use book reviews of books as mentor texts.
One of the great things about blog posts is the comment feature. Students can continue to create a book community by responding to the posts their classmates have written.
Create a Closed Shelfari Group
If you have your own Shelfari profile, you can start a “group” of readers. This group of readers can be private – see the setting options below.
The downside of Shelfari is the rather obvious advertising. That said, many of my students read via Kindles – so the Shelfari group makes for super-easy ordering.
Have you set up a Shelfari class group? How has it worked?
A Shelfari-like social media book club for children, BiblioNasium is now in Beta test. It is more secure than Shelfari – only open to teachers, parents, and students. Students do not need to register with email addresses. Once you create a class, students will be sent a login and password.
There is no easy one-click ordering of books – which may be good news for parents’ credit cards. Teachers can email parents with individual student challenges. Many of my students’ parents would respond well to such differentiated reading “homework”.
Another great feature is that you can manage book lists and search for books according to Lexile, Guided Reading, DRA, and Reading Recovery levels . The site allows you to print out reports of who reads what.
In the spirit of Teach Paperless, the site “About” page states: Students can email you their reading logs instead of handing them in on paper; you can set up fun challenges and rewards that will help encourage your students to keep reading, and you can set up a reading list that the students won’t lose. It brings the whole classroom together and gives the kids a chance to easily recommend books to each other.
I suspect I’ll be testing this out in the Fall. I hypothesize that students will keep up with their reading logs better if they believe they are “socializing” instead of logging.
If they could only find a way to feed this into Edmodo…
Schedule Skype Book Club Chats
It’s no secret that my 5th grade students spend time on Skype. When I asked students about their book club project work processes, many said they had multiple Skype chats about books. Since multiple people can be on Skype at the same time, groups of students can schedule impromptu book clubs.
The downside of the Skype option is that students need to share private Skype addresses with one another – and possibly you. Most of my international school students have already done so. Also, students may ask teachers to join their chats. Such an option may not be permissible in some school districts. Ideally, students host and run book clubs without teacher intervention.
Picasa Picture Album: Classmates Reading Worldwide
Start a summer Picasa album that allows students to post pictures. Students post pictures of themselves, faces hidden by the open book, reading in their summer locations.
Since faces are hidden by books, internet safety is in place. Also, students can guess which classmate is behind the book. I ran the idea by my students this morning – and they were really excited. They then asked if they could post pictures of their travels (with no faces or names) attached to poems or captions of their activities. Ummmm…..yeah. That’s like asking, Teacher, can we write?
Picasa pictures may be added to a Google map, giving classmates further clues as to their classmates’ identities.
Students without computers or internet access can get ideas from the Quirky Momma Kids Activity Blog.
Have you shown students your own participation in a book club? Your stack of “books to read”? How do you keep the “book club buzz” going through the summer?
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