Goodreads: A Free Social Networking Site for Readers
In this day and age, constantly tethered to an electronic device, it can be hard to inspire students to sit down and enjoy reading a good book, whether a physical book, an audio book, or an eBook. With social media connecting us more than ever, it can seem boring for kids to spend time disconnected from their peers, reading alone.
This conundrum is especially sad considering that the real joy of reading lies in connecting, with the characters, the author, the story, and other readers. A love of reading is meant to be shared; that’s why when you get excited about a book, all you want to do is convince everyone you know to read it too!
So how can you harness this natural excitement and help your students make connections and share their reactions to reading?
Share the Love of Reading
Enter Goodreads, a free social networking site for readers. With over 10 million users, Goodreads lets you create lists of books that you have read, are reading, or plan to read. If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent years writing down recommended books on scraps of paper (that you’ve promptly lost) or trying hard to remember titles (that you’ve promptly forgotten).
On Goodreads, you can keep track of that growing reading list in one place and receive recommendations from your friends directly on the site. Users rate books on a 5-star system and write reviews, and the site will even suggest new books to you.
Now, this is well and good for your average avid reader, but how can it be put to use in the classroom? One way is to create private Goodreads Groups for your classrooms and student reading groups, add books, and have your students get started rating and reviewing. Writing reviews on the site can be exciting for students, since their opinions could be read by other Goodreads members. They might even convince someone out there to read their favorite book! Create private discussions within your groups and allow students to share their thoughts with each other. Trading thoughts and opinions about a book with peers, during and after reading, can be far more interesting than writing a book report for a teacher’s eyes only.
Students can add the books that they’re reading to their accounts, too, giving a window into their own personal literary tastes. By checking out what your students are reading on their own, you can get a better sense of their interests and maybe even find some good new reading material for yourself (You can’t tell me you didn’t enjoy The Hunger Games!).
October 4 is Read for the Record Day
Another great way for students to make connections while reading is by participating in the seventh annual Read for the Record Day on October 4!Each year, Pearson teams up with Jumpstart to support literacy and early childhood education, and try to break the world record for the most people reading the same book on the same day. It’s a fun way to enjoy a book together in support of a great cause. There are lots of ways to get involved, but the most important is to read the book! This year’s title is Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by Jacky Davis, and guess what? It’s listed on Goodreads too.
To join Goodreads, go to www.goodreads.com.
Learn more about Read for the Record