Full confession, I’ve been active on Goodreads since 2007. It is my longest social media relationship, and I’m still madly in love. First, it served as a reminder about books I wanted to read and those I’d already read. Then I realized it was a great way to connect to students and to use in the classroom.
1. You and your students can publish reviews publicly. Having an authentic audience can help students shape writing more carefully.
2. You can create shelves (essentially lists) for yourself or your students. For example, I have a poetry shelf, a play shelf, a shelf for books I’ve taught. I also have a 100 books for my students to read before they graduate shelf. You can assign students to make shelves, too, which could be an interesting assignment. They could create a shelf for a literary character: what might be on Holden Caulfield’s bookshelf?
3.The quotes section for each book is so much fun–and you or your students could add quotes that you think should be on the list. This is also a great resource for writing papers–if you have students like quotes as you read a book, they can look back and use them for analysis.
4. When I first went onto Goodreads, I realized I hadn’t been reading as much as I wanted to, so I was able to set a goal for myself. The option of having a goal for each year is helpful to keep me on track, and turn off the TV and read.
5. The updates feed with my friends’ and students’ books has been a great place to find books to read. For example, my former students, who are now in college, are often reading books that I then put on my to-read list. I can also follow authors and see what they are reading.