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To encourage the digital native generation to read, we may have to redefine what we mean by reading. According to a recent article in American Libraries, teens are reading all the time--they just aren't always reading in the "traditional ways."
So why not use what they DO read to encourage them to read more books?
Use online forums like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, author blogs, and online book groups to help get your students excited about reading. Compile a brief list of links with additional info about an author or topic and print them on an address label. Stick the label in the books in a highly visible place--on the last page, or opposite the first page. Encourage your students to explore reading in their own territory.
Where to Search for Author Information
Start at the author's website. It may include links to the author's blog, Facebook, and/or Twitter account. Look for other "fun stuff," such as author generated playlists and publisher-created trailers for the book.
Search for the author's name within Facebook. You may find the author's page as well as groups about that author. These are often online fan groups or book groups where teens chat about the author's books.
Go to YouTube and search the author's name or the name of the book. Some books have trailers created by teen readers.
Don't forget to include some general sites that might direct the readers to other books or authors for future reading. Examples include:
Not Your Mother's Book Club, a online book group for teens:
Where to Search for Information on Specific Topics
A Sample Label to Match a Nonfiction Selection
Start with the book itself. See if the author included a bibliography
or a recommended list of websites.
Visit the author's website. It may include links to the author's blog or
to information about the book and the book's topic. Authors often include
stories about what inspired them to write, how they did their research,
and links to additional information on their websites.
Check out YouTube for videos on the topic. Remember our students are
a highly visual generation!
Surf the web for some great sites about the topic--pick the best ones
you can find.
See if there are any magazines available on the topic. Often magazine
sites offer some of their articles online for free.
Kid-Friendly & Free Internet Resources:
The Internet Public Library
Cart, Michael. "Teens and the Future of Reading." American Libraries: Oct 2007, 52-54.
This low-tech tool was highlighted in Joyce Valenza's blog entry entitled,
"Releasing ReadingGirl: BookLeadsWiki!"
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