Virtual Book Communities

Last week I thought about how talking about books within our classrooms helps develop a sense of our classroom community.  These classroom communities provide our teen students with a place to read books, talk about books, learn about the favorite books of others, struggle with books, and be a community.

But, what happens outside our classroom doors?  How do teens discuss their reading lives when they are not in school?  Some would think they don’t talk about their reading lives.  However, I found this is not the case!


How It Used to Be

Way back in the Stone Age (the 1990s) I was in high school.  My friends and I might talk about what we had read, but there was no Google or Facebook (or MySpace or blogs really) to talk with others.  We had to do it “old school” and talk face to face or even on the phone.

Image Credit: StockMonkeys.com
     Image Credit: StockMonkeys.com

Maybe it wasn’t quite the tin can era.  However, we were limited to people we knew when talking about books.


How It Is Now

Today’s teens have many different avenues for talking about books and developing their community of readers.  There are still all the “old school” ways – talking in class, discussing books at lunch or in the hall, hanging out with your friends over a book, and calling each other on the phone.

Today’s YA readers are going past these prehistoric methods though.  In my web research this week I found out that teens use a variety of platforms and social media services to talk about books.  They are not limiting themselves to people they know in person.  Rather, they are enlarging their reading community to include anyone who has access to the web.


Tech and the Community of Readers
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Image Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

There are about a million different places that teens, and YA readers in general, go online to share book recommendations, get ideas, and talk about (or to!) their favorite authors.

These are a few of my favorites…

  • Goodreads – Goodreads is a pretty amazing site for cataloging your favorite books, rate the book after you have finished reading it, and get ideas from your friends.  You can connect your Goodreads account to your blog (check out one of my shelves on the right of this page), Facebook, or Twitter account.
  • Twitter – This has been the coolest new to me social media this semester!  I never had a Twitter account before, but I have found that it can be extremely exciting to talk books on Twitter.  I can tweet to my favorite authors, join in discussions with my classmates or with other readers, and share my thoughts in 140 characters or less.  Still working on keeping it to 140 characters….but a girl has to have a challenge now and then!
  • Blogs – Following the blogs of other readers is an amazing way that teens (and YA readers) can share their musings, their ideas, and their reviews about books.  Reading my classmates’ blogs has been a strong stitch in the fabric of my YA Lit Class community.  The blogs are places we can discuss ideas about reading and share books that are our favorites (or our not favorites).  I haven’t really explored how a person finds a new blog for suggestions.  Do you know how?  Be sure to let me know in the comments.
  • Pinterest – This is a new social media site for me.  I just joined Pinterest in January and mainly to get ideas for another class (Pythagorean Theorem time!).  But did you know that there is a HUGE Pinterest community that pins different images or articles or sites about books?  I definitely have fallen down the rabbit hole of Pinterest this week and have found some amazing resources.
  • Snap Chat & Instagram – Here are two social media sites that I don’t belong to.  However, it seems that teens are using these platforms to visually talk about books  This is great, especially for those who like to read but do not like to write – they can share their faves via a picture!  Then, they comment on each others’ photos and start the conversation there!

Integrating Tech into My Reading Community

I am very thankful to my YA Lit Class and our professor Dr. Ellington for making us a community.  You see, I take this class online and have not ever actually met any of my classmates in person!  However, thanks to the wonders of the internet, I now have some amazing bookish friends.

 

My books, my computer, my TBR list...
My books, my computer, my TBR list… and my mess!

I am continuing to integrate tech into my reading life.  I currently use Goodreads, Blogs, and Twitter – especially for my YA Lit class.  I am going to continue to explore the depths of Pinterest to find lists and ideas about books.

 

I am also very lucky to be part of an “online book club” for YA Lit Class.  We “meet” every week in a Google document and talk about a book.  This week we discussed Crank and had really, really, really good discussion.  Without the web, I wouldn’t be able to have this experience.


Always More Questions

As I shared with the ladies in my book club yesterday, I always end up with more questions than answers.  This is especially true when the topic or idea is something I want to know more about (okay….so everything)!  I’m going to leave you with some questions.  Please answer below and let’s keep this conversation about tech and reading going!

  • How do you discover a new blog to follow?  What are your criteria for a “good” book blog?
  • Would you rather post images and photos or words when discussing books?
  • Is there still a place for the “old school” technology and books?  Do we put enough emphasis on being able to discuss books and themes orally?
  • How do we develop strong writers and readers if they communicate in 140 characters or less?
  • What is the best place online that you have found to get new book ideas?
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4 thoughts on “Virtual Book Communities

    1. So very true! I am surprised at how smoothly using the Google Doc for book club has worked. I always anticipate problems, but we have all been understanding when we have internet issues too! I love it!

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    1. I avoided Pinterest for a long time. However, I was looking for some lesson ideas and finally decided to go for it. Book Riot posts a lot of cool infographics there. Plus, there are a ton of YA Lit/Children’s Lit resources too!

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