This year we’ve been working on harnessing the power of Social Media to build a reading community. This community is both within and beyond our classroom. Here are three ways you can start using social media to build reading community with your students today!
#1 Scrap your reading records, use Padlet instead
Instead of just keeping a list of books we’ve read I had each student create a Padlet instead. This Padlet will hold a record of every book they’ve read this year. So far it’s working great! Students decide what and how much to write about each book and while some give a simple sentence and rating, others enjoy jotting more. We have a bulletin board in the classroom with each students’ picture and a QR code. Scan any student’s QR code and it will take you right to their Padlet. When readers are looking for a new book they check out each others Padlets to get ideas for what to read from classmates that they know they have reading tastes in common with.
#2 Join a Hashtag Community like #5bookFriday or #readergrams
Every Friday I pull out my special bag that has five mystery books for the week. Instead of book talking every day which I’m bound to forget, I do my book talks on Fridays. We even have a jingle worked up and the students buzz with excitement when they see the bag out. They gather close to me as I sell each book and jot down titles on their books to read list. Then we photograph it and Tweet it out to our followers using the hashtag #5bookfriday. We would love for you to join us so that we can share amazing titles among classes. My students love to see what books other classes have in their #5bookfriday bags.
Or have students send a #readergram! I was super excited about this idea this summer when Katharine Hale (@KatharineHale) sent me an email talking about her idea for #readergrams. Students send out tweets, recommendations, questions, and reading needs using this hashtag to help build a digital reading community. We have found new titles to order for our classroom and made some great connections by participating in this fun Twitter community.
#3 Blogging, Commenting, Connecting
If you don’t have your students blogging yet then start! Blogging is so powerful in connecting students with an audience. We teach them to write thoughtful posts, give supportive and constructive comments, and then reach out to an audience outside of our classroom to connect with.
When students are aware of and connected to their audience they write more, they think creatively about how to construct posts, and they have more energy for their work. This year I’m getting my class involved in some of the global blogging communities that are going around for adults. But more on that later!
Social media is a powerful tool for connecting and we can show our students how to use it in a way that makes their work more meaningful than ever. So get out there and start connecting your kids today!