A social media platform used to swap book reviews engaged many Wrightsville Beach School students to continue reading after the 2013-14 school year wrapped up in June.
Wrightsville Beach School librarian Lucrece Medlicott tried the new approach to keep kids excited about reading and to better understand their preferences.
“I wanted students to pursue reading for enjoyment this summer. I wanted them to self-select and tell me all about it,” Medlicott said.
In the past, Medlicott distributed reading lists or reminded students about programs at the county library to encourage summer reading. But in the flurry of back-to-school excitement, she never got the chance to really know what students read during the break. So she decided to use Padlet, an online bulletin board, to continue the discussion throughout the summer.
It turned out to be a success. Students logged 150 literary reflections and recommendations to WBS Reads Padlet.
“The library is certainly not all about books on a shelf anymore. There is an element of technology, and when you can incorporate the two and combine them, that’s very engaging to the students,” Medlicott said. “This really is just a virtual wall where everybody can collaborate in a fun way and discuss a topic together, and it’s just so simple to use that even the kindergartners understand what to do.”
Medlicott said the participation exceeded her expectations, especially the sustained momentum from students to post and share.
“I really wondered if beyond the first two weeks of school being out, I would see much of anything. But I would say even this late in the summer, I’m getting an email with new postings once or twice a week. There are certainly kids that have continued with it,” Medlicott said.
Medlicott listed the Junie B. Jones and Nate the Great series as big hits this summer.
During the last few weeks of the school year, Medlicott taught the students how to post to the Padlet and stay safe in an online community. Students were told to use first names or nicknames only and to ask permission before posting any pictures.
“I was concerned about doing things online and parents become very concerned about that,” Medlicott said. “Anybody in the world could pull that up and look at it, and we talked about that. It was a great side lesson, to be able to incorporate some Internet safety features.”
Although the Padlet was meant to motivate students to read during the summer break, Medlicott plans to continue using Padlet throughout the school year.
All students at Wrightsville Beach School come to the library once per week and during their first visits of the 2014-15 school year, Medlicott plans to get some feedback on the program and decide how to continue using the platform based on their experiences.