Saturday, October 5, 2013

Shelfari: Curating Our Love of Books

Our class shelf on Shelfari is already up and running.  I began the year adding books we had read together across the day to our shelf during our afternoon meeting.  My first graders were hooked from the beginning.  When we started our shelf they wouldn't let me end a day without adding our books.  It wasn't long until we realized we needed someone to be in charge of our Shelfari shelf each week so it is now a job in our classroom.  Each morning our Shelfari friend adds the books we read together the previous day so we can share them with the world.

Families love seeing the books we are reading.  It gives parents something to talk about when students get home from school, helps them find books at the library, and can be a resource when finding that perfect book for a gift.  I've gotten many comments from families so I wasn't surprised when my students, with the help of their parents, started their own Shelfari shelves.  

Our Shelf

Why I Love Shelfari
  1. It's Visual:  Students can easily see the books being read in our classroom.  The book covers on the shelf help young readers to easily recognize titles and books.  
  2. Curation:  Shelfari allows us to collect titles we have read and share them with others. 
  3. We Can Connect:  Shelfari allows us to follow other classrooms and find friends.  We can view their bookshelves and place books we'd like to read on our "plan to read" shelf.
  4. Knowing Readers:  When students and their families start their own shelves I learn a lot about the books they enjoy reading.  This can help me in the classroom with instruction and often requires me to rethink the books in my classroom library.  
  5. Energizing:  Shelfari energizes readers and our workshop.  
  6. Room to Grow:  As we move along in our year we will be able to rate and review books together.

Generating Interest
  1. Twitter:  I often tweet book shelves on our class Twitter account so families can take a look at updates or see new families joining the conversation.  
  2. Class News:  I try to update information from shelves on our class news page to generate interest.
  3. Borrowing Books:  All four of our first grade classes have Shelfari shelves and we often borrow books we noticed on shelves from one another to build interest.  
  4. Mystery Shelf:  Several times each week I project a "mystery shelf" on the large screen in our classroom.  Students try to guess who the shelf belongs to before I show them.  We can then discuss what we know about the person (or group) as a reader.
There are other possibilities for curating books with your classroom including Goodreads and Biblionasium, but I really like the ease and visual appeal of Shelfari.  


  1. Cathy, thank you for telling about using Shelfari in the classroom. It's a great way to encourage book interest and I enjoyed hearing all your ideas about its usefulness. Will share...

  2. Thanks so much for the shoutout about Biblionasium! Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help support you in the classroom. Emily (Community Development, Biblionasium)