Technology and reading are not often thought to be partners; in fact, teachers struggle to make books more appealing to students than so many other tech past times. A recent article that I read on Edutopia suggests a unique way to blend these two seemingly opposite ideas – book commercials. The article compares this project to the more common book review or book preview. And, in essence, these commercials are the exactly the same – they get kids excited about books and about reading. The big difference is that they also give kids the creative power. Oh, and they use technology.
When I was working with one upper elementary class a few years ago, my goal was to read and write one book review each week for the class (to be fair, I was not the classroom teacher, but rather helping out my cousin a few afternoons a week in her classroom – aka I had a lot more time). After I would give my review, I put a typed copy of my review and the book in the classroom library. My cousin told me that students would practically fight over the book in hopes of being the next one to read it.
This excitement occurred with me, an adult, simply taking the time to read the book and recommend it (in an engaging way, of course) to the class. Imagine the power of this recommendation coming from a fellow student? And imagine how much more excitement there would be if there were visuals, graphics, and music? Not only would students be excited to read recommended books; I am sure that they would be equally as excited to read a new book and recommend it to their classmates in this way.
I thought that this idea of a book commercial was really creative and a great way to pair technology with reading. With so many options available to distract kids from reading, teachers and parents will need to continue to be creative to instill a love of reading in our students. As my grandmother told me a long time ago, “If you can read, you can do anything.” We need to do whatever we can to ensure that our students not only can read but love to read. When this happens, they will truly be able to do anything.