Here’s a way to encourage your students to read more. We know that a love of reading does not come naturally for some children. As teachers, we need to find a way to light that spark. Goodreads or Biblionasium may help you kindle that fire.
Goodreads and Biblionasium are social media platforms designed around books. Biblionasium is geared toward children, ages 6 to 13, while Goodreads is intended for children 13 years and older. Both sites allow readers to track books they’ve read, see what books others are reading, rate and review books, and set reading challenges. Students can also browse the recommendation engines to find suggested books based on personal literary tastes.
One feature that really motivates students is the ability to recommend books to each other. Parents and teachers make suggestions on quality literature, but they often get ignored. Children, especially young teens, are definitely more influenced by their peers than by adults. They will take a suggestion from their friends over their teachers any day of the week.
One of these programs has made an important impact at a middle school in Northeast Ohio. My cousin and her teaching partner started using Goodreads with their 8th grade language arts students after reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. Miller’s book encourages teachers to allow students class time to read books they pick out themselves and discourages conventional book reports and worksheets. Goodbye to reading a class novel chosen by the teacher, hello to carving more time for independent reading.
The Ohio teachers introduced Goodreads to their students. The one requirement they had was to write a brief review and make recommendations in Goodreads for each book they read in class. As the year went on, students kept seeing Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick show up in their recommendations list. Eventually, every single student in the 8th grade read and reviewed the book. The author noticed and personally responded to many of the reviews.
The teachers embraced an opportunity by contacting the author and arranging a visit to the school. Mr. Sonnenblick spent a full day with the entire school, which included an all-school assembly and small group sessions of writers’ workshops.
Since the visit, students continue to find books through Goodreads and are constantly engaging in authentic discussions about the books and authors they are reading. It is safe to say these teachers have ignited that spark and created many avid book readers! This is a unique situation, no doubt, but it could happen in your classroom. It shows how Goodreads and Biblionasium can be very powerful tools for connecting kids with one another through favorite books and authors.
So why not give it a try! It’s easy to get started, just click on the links below for step-by-step instructions.
*Remember, student privacy and safety must come first. It is recommended that first name and last initial are used when creating an account for a child. Biblionasium only allows parents or teachers to set up accounts for children.*