How do I Create a Virtual Book Club for my Students?

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A virtual book club creates a platform for students to read and discuss books together.In today’s world of digital technology, computers, gadgets and instant information, most students do not read. The children’s intellectual arena has shifted from good old reading to video games and television. Youngsters do not have the patience to sit down and run through a book, unless it is forced upon them as school work or, in some case, by their “old fashioned” parents.

As teachers, it is our responsibility to encourage students to read more. The only way to do this is to make reading a fun task. Add some challenge. Add some competition. And hopefully, you’ll have the whole class begging for more. One of the best ways to make the ‘task’ of reading look fun is to organize an online or virtual book club.

An online book club takes reading to computer-stricken students. It helps them relate to ‘reading’ in a new way. An online book club is a space (or website) that brings people together to share their ideas and thoughts as they journey through a book. It is a forum for people to talk about the book, tell others what they liked, share their disappointments and basically interact with others on an intellectual level.

There are two types of book clubs – open and closed. An open club allows anyone to register and become a member of the club. One would, however, require an invite to join a closed club. If you are looking to start an online book club for the classroom, it may be advisable to initiate a closed club.

There is no rigid interface required to run the online book club. You could choose to create your own website by buying a domain (web space) from websites like godaddy.com and others (some of them will even set it up for you and handle aspects like basic design and email features). This would allow you to add a number of exciting features and enhance your club’s website. You could also just choose to keep it simple by creating a blog and using that as the virtual club’s headquarters.

Selecting a book is a crucial decision and must be done after a lot of research. You may read reviews of various books online. It may also help to initiate a discussion with your book club members on the interface and ask them what they are interested in. This would help initiate some interaction in the club and allow your students to get used to the website/blog, even before a book is discussed.

Interactivity is crucial for the success of the book club. And in order to encourage interactivity, it is essential that you come up with some creative ideas to keep things exciting. Debates generally capture a majority of the class, if they are able to relate to the topic being discussed. It is, therefore, important to keep the discussion real and induce an element of sentiment into it. Polls often include participation of some of the more silent members, who do not necessary like to voice their opinion out loud. The questions that you ask at the club should not sound like a classroom assignment, but more of a friendly discussion.

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Discuss Here: What are some things you could do to keep the virtual book club vibrant and exciting?

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Comments

One Response to “How do I Create a Virtual Book Club for my Students?”
  1. I like the idea of a virtual book club. It wouldn’t be difficult to set up given the many options out there. I would love to hear from others that have done this and maybe even get some examples of open and closed book clubs.
    Regards!

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