I just finished the excellent Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Set in the not too distant future, a homeless teenager named Wade is part of a virtual world, along with just about everyone else on the planet, called OASIS. There is a contest in which who ever finds a hidden “egg” with their avatar will be rewarded with the OASIS’ late creator’s estate worth billions of dollars. Danger ensues when Wade, whose avatar is known as Parzival, finds the first clue. The author does a really nice job of keeping the suspense high, while also making lots of 80’s references that, growing up during this decade, I found very humorous.
Ready Player One is also the 53rd book I have read since the summer of 2011. Although I did not meet the 40 book expectation within one school year that Donalyn Miller has for her students, it should be noted that some of my books were quite thick :). And just like her students, I also have set a goal to read a variety of genres. I think it is important to develop a more well-rounded reading diet.
I cringe a bit when an educator says, “I don’t have time to read during the school year.” I keep my thoughts to myself on this matter. However I do reflect on how any teacher who isn’t a regular reader can effectively guide students to be independent readers themselves. What titles would that teacher recommend to a student if they did not have the knowledge of what is available? Instead of addressing this in one-on-one conversations, I find the best way to encourage educators to be readers is to model it.
An iOS app that has helped me find my reading balance is Book Crawler. It is a paid app that is similar to Goodreads. You can scan in a title, or find a text through an online server such as Google.
So why not use Goodreads? I use that too. But what Book Crawler provides is a more visual inventory of what I have read and plan to read.
I can add titles I have in Book Crawler to Goodreads, as well as share what I have read on other social media tools. I can also add tags and comments to books in order to organize them into more specific categories.
One of the best parts about Book Crawler is the visual way I can assess my reading balance. By selecting “Genre” instead of “Titles”, my list of books is reorganized by subject matter. Each genre is tallied based on how many books are in each group.
After looking at my list this way, I could easily see that I have not read a graphic novel, need to look for more general fiction, and had read quite a few professional resources.
One of the negatives about Book Crawler is that it seems like not a lot of readers are using it when compared to Goodreads. The location tool in the app tells me who the nearest person is proximity wise that has read the same book. Many times that person is hundreds or even thousands of miles a way. This is why I connect my Book Crawler account with Goodreads, to be able to connect with other readers.
I could see this app being used for a teacher’s classroom, professional and/or personal library. For example, students could scan the books in and tag them with their names. Once they finished reading a title, they can write a review in the comments for other students to find. There is potential for this tool to help develop a community of balanced, avid readers in a classroom.