It’s no surprise that Twitter is a powerful educational tool. But often, educators keep Twitter for themselves, using it for their professional learning. But what about Twitter’s power to build a culture of reading?
I’d like to share a few ways that Twitter can be used to build a culture of reading. This is a topic that I’ve been exploring as I work on Hacking Literacy, a Hack Learning series book.
Schools can use Twitter to build a reading culture among staff.
Amy, the librarian at my school, has done so much to build a culture of reading. One of her initiatives this year is a simple idea with a big payoff: she gave each teacher a sign for their doors, and on this sign, the teachers can post the book they are currently reading. On this sign is also a hashtag, #HHSReads. The hashtag becomes a place for sharing and discussion between teachers about their reads. I recently sent a Tweet sharing the book I was reading, and the replies were filled with recommendations that I’d like to check out in the future:
— Gerard Dawson (@GerardDawson3) March 23, 2016
— gloria lee (@MsGleehhs) March 23, 2016
— Amy Gazaleh (@afgazaleh) March 23, 2016
— courtney summers (@courtney_s) March 23, 2016
— Kayla McLaughlin (@KMcHHS) March 23, 2016
Classes can use Twitter to connect with authors.
This is most successful when the practice is first modeled by the teacher. Last year, I began Tweeting students’ book reviews at the authors who wrote the books. Then, surprisingly often, the author would respond, much to the students’ delight. Here’s an example:
@GerardDawson3 great review. You really got it. Thanks so much.
— Susan Kuklin (@susankuklin) February 5, 2015
While the response might be short, it was meaningful to David. He recognize that his reading and his writing was a community-based experience, and he recognized that Twitter can connect the work done in class to the outside world.
As a way to expand on this, have students Tweet at the authors on their own. Elementary and middle school teachers often use class accounts, so multiple students can safely Tweet from the account.
Students can use Twitter to share their reading lives.
— Christine Finn (@ChristineFinn17) February 2, 2016
While the conversations between students or classes can often remain relatively one-sided, students can also conduct conversations with each other on Twitter about their reads.
While working on Hacking Literacy, I talked to Stephen Ferguson and Christine Finn of Cedar Creek High School in New Jersey. They created #PiratesRead as a way for students to share their reading lives with the each other and the public. You can search #PiratesRead and get a sense of the volume of Tweets and the engagement of students using the hashtag.
So, whether you decide to Tweet at authors, at your colleagues or amongst your students, you’ll soon see how Twitter is an out of the box tool ready to connect readers and build a culture of reading.