Tips for Online Student Book Clubs

Online Student Book Clubs

Our school libraries or Media Centers are re-inventing themselves within the 21st century educational world.  One of the ways librarians are incorporating technology in schools is through online student book clubs. Online student book clubs are a great way to encourage students to read! In today’s age of virtual or digital learning, an online student book club is the perfect way for librarians and media specialists to engage students to socialize in addition to losing themselves in a great book. Online book clubs help to promote a love for reading and literature. They also give students a sense of belonging while supporting their social and emotional mindset. Check out these tips for online student book clubs you can use in your library!

Let students choose their books

Providing choice in what your students are reading can not only encourage them to pick up a book but eventually find themselves a lover of reading. Student choice, regardless of the subject area, is always a good option to allow for young minds to take ownership of their learning. 

Get students hungry for books with virtual book tastings

One of the ways you can encourage student choice is through virtual book tastings. Instead of using physical books, a virtual book tasting gives students an online experience with a simple click! They can search online books from sites like Epic! or Tumblebooks.  

A virtual book tasting gives students an opportunity to explore different genres and have a choice in what they want to read. It also exposes readers to different topics based on what they might be interested in which helps to get them engaged and excited about reading.  

Showcase different genres of books with ready to use virtual book tastings. The slides cover the following genres:

  • historical fiction
  • mystery
  • fantasy
  • science fiction
  • realistic fiction
  • informational text
  • biography/autobiography
  • folk tales
  • graphic novel
  • poetry

Simply add your own book covers and trailers to get your students hungry for books!

Vote for book choices using Google Forms

Another virtual option for book choices is to use a Google Form. Teachers can create a form to determine what books students are interested in reading. The form can be simple or more in depth depending on your preference. For example, if you are looking for book choice, create a form that asks students what books they are interested in reading. You can have a pre-made list of books or you can ask the students to type in their answer. Based on their answers, the teacher can determine what book they will read. Try this Virtual Book Tasting Selection Form with your students. Simply make your own copy to use in your classroom. 

Use Flipgrid for online student book clubs

Flipgrid is a website and an app where teachers can create “grids” of questions and have students record discussion responses. Each grid is like an online video message board. It is a great tool where students can use their voice and record videos to reflect on the book they are reading or reflect on a discussion question. 

Students can also record responses to their online student book club members which encourages the social aspect that students might be missing due to isolation during distance learning. They can easily take part in an online Flipgrid discussion, provide a summary of what they read to check for understanding, and learn from their peers while viewing others FlipGrid responses. Flipgrid is great for giving students an interactive and engaging outlet to express their book thoughts while using fun filters and stickers! 

Drop everything and read 

Remember when you were in elementary school or middle school and the principal would come on the intercom and say it’s D.E.A.R time? That was the cue to Drop Everything And Read for a certain amount of time. Every student picked up a book and read.  In fact, D.E.A.R even has its own day and month. April 12th is the national drop everything and read day with a month long initiative throughout April. Why not create a DEAR time with your online book club? Utilize an app such as Google Keep to send reminders or give book club members a specific time every day to Drop Everything and Read! 

Use celebrities and challenges to help support your initiative

Sometimes young readers need a bit more incentive to read. Creating a competition or a challenge can encourage students to engage in reading. For example, Atlanta, Georgia DJ, Greg Street founded the “We Need To Read” program to challenge kids to improve their reading. He works with local schools and offers prizes to students who show the greatest growth in their reading scores. Even if you can’t get the actual celebrity to endorse your book club, you can use their platform to help encourage your readers. 

Malcolm Mitchell‘s Read with Malcolm (former UGA football player, former NFL player and Super Bowl Champ) has made reading “super” cool with kids. 

Online student book clubs are a way to get your library students excited about reading and socializing! Even if your students are attending in-person school, in-person clubs may be restricted due to the pandemic. Encourage your students to participate in online student book clubs with these simple tips. 

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