So, I have had my Kindle for a few years. I go through phases with it and have spent a lot of time trying to decide if I like it or not. I have decided that I love it, but that I still like "real" books. It was quite a relief when I realized that loving my Kindle did not mean that I was finished with holding and reading a real book. I can do both--some things call for an ebook while others invite a "real" book. I am happy now that I know that both have a place in my reading life.
I believe strongly that teachers need to be users of new tools of literacy. I think that if we hold on to the traditional tools, we will lose the opportunity to give our students authentic reading experiences. And authenticity is what it is all about. From my short use of the Kindle, I know that the reading experience is pretty much the same. When I am in a good book, I am in. It doesn't matter what form the book is in. But I do think there are opportunities that ebooks provide that we haven't tapped into yet as teachers. I am amazed by the highlighting feature and notetaking feature of the Kindle. I love the fact that I can go to the Kindle store and see the lines that many anonymous readers have highlighted in the book. I can imagine what my 5th graders would have done years ago when book clubs took over our reading workshop and the conversations brought a depth of understanding I had never seen before. I can imagine how these students would have used ebooks and the tools available when talking to each other about their reading.
So, I am proposing an idea. I am inviting you to be part of an ebook book club via GoodReads. The goal--to become users of the Kindle and to think hard with each other about the possibilities of ebook reading for our students. What is possible that hasn't been possible before? How can we best incorporate ebooks in an authentic way in our Reading Workshops? How does it change our experiences? Or does it?
Wherever you are as a reader/teacher with your use of ebooks, I think it would be great to chat and explore the possibilities together.
So, I've set up 2 groups on GoodReads. The first group will run from now (today) until March 1. It is for readers who are interested in reading a nonfiction book. After having attended Educon and hearing Kathleen Cushman speak, I thought FIRES IN THE MIND would be a great read. It is not a brand new book so there are already some notes and highlights at the Kindle site. This book is also available on the Nook. If you are interested in joining this group, you can go to our Goodreads site and participate there. The discussion is divided by chapters. This won't be anything formal. The main conversation will happen in the "ebook" conversation discussion. This spot is for us, as educators to discuss what we are learning/thinking as we go through this process.
Because I believe that some of the best book talks are based on fiction books, I have chosen ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis as the fiction Book Club book. This is one that has been on my To Be Read pile for a while and I keep hearing great things about it. This one is pretty brand-new. You can join this Goodreads group here. I'm thinking we'll start this one on March 1. So you can read the book now or begin it on March 1. The process will be the same--we'll talk about the book and also how the ebook impacts our reading or our talk around the book.
You can join one group or both--whichever works for you.
Buffy Hamilton, The Unquiet Librarian has done a great deal of work with Kindles in her library and has generously shared how-tos in terms of management as well as reflections of students on their experiences with the Kindle. I have learned so much from her generous sharing and am ready to dig in myself.
I have several questions I want to explore as I'm sure so many of us do. My questions include:
Is the experience of reading a book in preparation for talking to others change when it is an ebook?
How do I use the highlighting and note-taking features when I know that I'll be talking to others about the book?
Do the "popular highlights" that previous readers have posted impact my understanding of the book?
Am I interested in what other members of the group highlight?
How is this different when reading fiction vs. nonfiction text?
I am hoping that this invitation begins a bigger conversation on Goodreads but also invites lots of blog posts and reflections about what possibilities ebooks provide for our students.