I am updating my workshop on how technology can be used to promote reading—the only foolproof means of both improving reading proficiency and developing a lifelong love of reading in every student. This list started with “The last of the book-only librarians” column from back in 2011.

Let me be right up front about this: I am primarily sharing the good ideas of other, far smarter, people that I could ever pretend to be. Some primary sources for this list include:

I only steal from the best. So here we go.

Johnson’s Top 10 ways to use technology to promote reading

1. Author and fan websites. Young readers like to know more about the author, and the internet is rich with resources produced by the authors themselves, their publishers, and their fans. Want to know what’s next in a favorite series? Check the author’s page or blog. Want to read more about a favorite character? Check the fan fiction often written by other young readers. That popular new movie might be based on a novel that’s in the library, so media ties-ins are powerfully motivating. Clever librarians find ways of helping students easily locate these materials by pasting printed lists of websites or QR codes in the backs of books or by adding links as a part of the electronic bibliographic record in the catalog.

10 ways to use technology to promote reading

2. Sharing/social networking sites. Making reading a social activity no longer means just having a weekly book club meeting. Make sure older kids know about free websites like Goodreads and  LibraryThing. Biblionasium is great for younger readers. If you want a walled-garden program that allows sharing, library automation programs like Follett’s Destiny Quest allow students to record what they’ve read, write recommendations, share their recommendations with other students, and discuss books online. Underlined is designed just for aspiring authors to share their own writings with others.

3. Curation tools for student use. While not designed just for sharing reading interests like the tools above, curation tools like Pinterest, Tumblr, and Scoop.it allow the selection and sharing of interests among students. Student read what other students recommend and get excited about.

About the Author:

Doug Johnson is the director of technology for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage (MN) Public Schools. His teaching experience has included work in grades K-12. He is the author of nine books, columns in Educational Leadership and Library Media Connection, the Blue Skunk Blog, and articles published in over 40 books and periodicals. Johnson has worked with over 200 organizations around the world and has held leadership positions in state and national organizations, including ISTE and AASL.


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