Flying BooksHere’s a clever use of technology to promote reading among kids—taking a cue from speed dating to create “Extreme Speed Booking”. The idea is that kids are given two minutes with each book—they can do whatever they like: examine the cover, read the first chapter, skip to the last page—and then rate how interested they would be in reading more (as well as copy down the author and title of those that do interest them).

And the great thing about the e-book age is that this sort of thing is easier than ever without needing to have physical copies of the book. The uncredited author of the Extreme Speed Booking article created a website linking to Amazon’s “look inside” for students to use with their school-issued iPads. And the technology can have other complementary uses to viewing the books:

I’ve added a few extra pages to our Extreme Speed Booking website including places where students can explore other books that they may like to read (Shelfari and Book Wink).  I’ve also added a form that book groups can fill out as they are reading.  The form gets emailed directly to the teacher.  Our students will probably be blogging quite a bit of reflection about their reading.  I thought it might also be useful to have a place for groups to answer questions, make comments, or update their teacher with their progress as a group.

The article includes a number of suggestions on what books to choose and why, though most of them boil down to selecting a variety of books, and possibly using them to reinforce a particular theme currently being studied in class.

I think this is a rather clever idea. It doesn’t require anything that’s not already available (you can even do it with printed books if you don’t have the tech for e) and the time restriction means kids get exposed to a lot of books very quickly. Indeed, the structured nature of it could mean kids will be exposed to more books than they would have if they were just given the same amount of free time to browse a library. It could also “leave ‘em wanting more”—they might very well be more likely to seek out a given book afterward because they didn’t feel they got enough time with it during the speed booking.

I wonder if more schools could be persuaded to try this?


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