Sunday, June 1, 2014

Planning Summer Reading

As part of a continuous collaboration among educators interested in digital learningMargaret Simon has started a weekly Digital Learning round-up on her blog:  DigiLit Sunday.  I'm joining the event again today.  Stop by Reflections on the Teche to read, discover, and link.

As the school doors close behind me and I look forward to my first steps into summer, Mother Reader's 48 Hour Reading Challenge is always my kickoff event.  This year, "in solidarity of the cause of #WeNeedDiverseBooks, this year's 48 Hour Book Challenge is dedicated to reading, sharing and reviewing books that show diversity in all ways."  As I peruse Google, Shelfari, Goodreads, Pinterest, book reviews, and blogposts, I can't help but marvel at how the way I find books has changed because of the internet.

Digital tools have changed the way I find, plan, purchase, and record books I have read or plan to read. I used to wander the shelves of the bookstore or library to find titles of interest.  Now my list of books I plan to read is filled by readers I connect with via Twitter, suggested titles as I request books from the library, the virtual shelves of friends, publishers' blogs and book trailers, book review posts, and book websites.

This change has seeped into the classroom as well, and this evolution was apparent during the last few weeks of school.  As a class, we started to look at the books we had read across the year on our Shelfari shelf.  We discussed books we loved, books we'd read again and again, as well as books we'd recommend.  Then we began to shift our focus to the books we hoped to read in the summer.  We loved Mo Willems.  Did he have books we hadn't read?  We enjoyed Otis.  Had the author written other titles about this favorite character?  We began to run through the lists of authors, characters, and topics we enjoyed reading as well as those we hoped to begin to discover.  We added books we all agreed might be worth reading to our class "plan to read" Shelfari shelf.

Students then began to make summer reading lists in their "summer spirals."  Students went to Shelfari shelves to find new titles.  They went to author's websites to find new titles.  They read posts by friends on Kidblog to find new reads.  They pulled up our library website and searched for books of interest.  While this isn't the same as holding a book to decide if you plan to read it, it is a first step in making a plan.  Student lists grew across the week as did their excitement for summer.

As students departed on the last day of school with their new summer reading bags, their small summer reading spirals were tucked safely inside.  Digital tools had helped us make a plan for our summer reading.


  1. I find myself using the Internet as well to find what I will read. I love reading the It's Monday, What are you Reading? posts to find new books. The problem is my Amazon cart gets filled very quickly and my little hometown library doesn't have many new books.
    I tried Biblionasium this year with my students but we didn't stick with it. I never thought of creating a class Shelfari. Thanks for linking up and sharing on DigiLit Sunday!

  2. Michelle HaseltineJune 29, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    I use Goodreads myself and Biblionasium with my students. I agree...finding books now is so different with the use of technology and social media. Thanks for a great post!