Monday, March 8, 2010

Shelfari: Like Facebook...for Literature

What do you do with your students once they have finished reading a book? How do help them get excited about picking their next great thriller, romance, or mystery novel? Are there any tools that will help students recommend books to each other? These are probably all questions you've asked yourself at one time. Shelfari is a very useful and user friendly site that attempts to answer them!

What is it?
Shelfari is a website that is set up as a social network…just for books. Similar to Facebook, Shelfari users create a profile and add books that they have read to a virtual bookshelf. Other members can view their shelf, read their reviews, and ask them for recommendations. It’s an interesting way to keep students reading.

Recently, I introduced Mrs. Maria Custer's 10th and 11th grade English classes to Shelfari. They quickly caught on to the idea and built their bookshelves with books they have read in and out of school. Mrs. Custer created discussion groups and showed her students how to friend each other so that they could network. I'm excited to see what they do with the site for the remainder of the school year.

Anything else I should know?
  • An email address is required to create a Shelfari account. At this point, Amazon (who owns the site) does not offer any type of educational or classroom account for teachers and students.
  • Shelfari bookshelves are embeddable. Students and teachers can embed their Shelfari shelf on their classroom webpages quickly and easily. It will look something like this:
  • This is a very thorough website with vast amounts of information about books--far more than just a summary.
  • From what I can tell, Shelfari is not policed that well for inappropriate content. I came across a few comments from other members as I was looking around. Be aware of that if you use this site with your students.
Please let me know if your students would like help setting up a Shelfari account and bookshelf!

Good Luck!

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