I have been doing a lot of reading in the holidays. It is nice to read widely and without feeling guilty about work for school that I could be doing. I have also been working on updating some tools I created for the crime fiction genre and I have been trying out some of the Flickr and Google tools to help students with (or give them some alternative approaches to) some of the class novels. I have also been doing some reading about e-books and books on-line
I tend to do a fairly good job of finding the time to read. I always have a book with me, in my bag. Any time I find myself waiting in a queue, I can pull out my book, rather than sitting or standing with nothing to do. (I really hate the loud mobile conversations that many others seem to have to have with whoever is on the end.) I also listen to audiobooks when I am driving, especially when I have 3 hour drives into the country. I am always looking for ways to encourage our boys to read, and for them to have positive reading experiences. I thought that I should have a look at the some of the other options for reading. DailyLit is just one option.
DailyLit is a free service that brings books (also free) (particularly classic books in the public domain) as excerpts, right into your inbox in convenient small messages that can take less than 5 minutes to read. For instance, reading The Count of Monte Cristo, via DailyLit, meant that the emails were about 500 words per day, about the size of an average email or blog post, and that title was free. This is not just an option for your computer, it also works perfectly well on a Blackberry or whatever other PDA you may have. Sometimes there’s a small charge for the e-book (usually a modern book) but there are plenty in the free category.
Using DailyLit with students.
There is something about DailyLit that I believe could appeal to a number of the students at school. I think lot of boys would like to like to read serial e-novels. It could increase the anticipation of what is in the next chapter. This might then really heighten the interest for a positive experience. It could also make the idea of reading the classics less daunting.
A lot of boys don’t always read regularly. They read in spurts, often when it becomes necessary to write about something they have read for class assessment. This could encourage them to read each day.
It could make it easier to analyse the books as well. The strategy would be to write about each section as it is read, rather than trying to think of something after the book is finished. The boys could look at individual characters, quotes, or storylines, in easily digestible parts on a daily basis. They could also be encouraged to try to anticipate what might happen next or examine how they believe a character might react to the situation.
There is also the possibility of some sort of on-line book club. A group of students could negotiate and choose to read the same book and have the same sized parts posted at the same time each day. (You can choose how often or on what days you wish to receive instalments). An on-line chat area /blog/wiki could be set up for them to share their reading experiences. This could be done within a class, across the school or with students from other schools.
There are many genres to choose from and the numbers of books that are on offer is increasing all the time. You can browse by titles, authors or categories or enter in a discussion about some author or title, current piece of writing.
You can receive new updates with news of current offers and has various features, including a To-Read queue, reader ratings and reviews, and a members page.
Have a look and try it out. I would be interested to find out if anyone has used this with students.