Personal Learning Network

Reading in Summer Gives You Somewhere to Go

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I grew up loving to read and waited excitedly every month for the children's literary book club order that my Dad made sure I received. As I reflect on this, I consider myself to have been fortunate that my parents knew about the power of reading and made a point to support it in my life.

As a child, reading books fueled my imagination and transported me to places I had never been. Some nights, I would hide with my book and a flashlight under the covers because I couldn’t bear to stop reading. You may have done the same.

In summer, the joy of reading was magnified. I remember taking a book with me to all family vacation destinations. Often it was the only way I could fall asleep while we were traveling, as it made me feel safe and comforted. Funny how book can do that, right?

Now, all grown up, I still find the greatest comfort from reading books in all genres (often when I'm dealing with a challenging personal issue). I enjoy the feeling of being transported to places I may never actually have the opportunity to visit, except in my dreams. I especially love the social media options for sharing the book I'm reading with friends around the world.

Today I have some ideas for sharing your summer book reads with friends and family, ideas that might help you to get out there and grow your own interests even farther. Here are three suggestions to get you started on your summer reading travels, even if you're on a "staycation."

1. Pinterest

I love using Pinterest for so many things, but especially for the idea of sharing and collaborating. As I'm crazy about reading and always on the hunt for more inspiring titles, I created a Pinterest board with my own current reads. This board isn't full of education titles, but rather more of a personal focus on areas in which I'm seeking to grow. However, having said that, you could create boards with personal and professional reads -- and invite friends to collaborate on a board with you. In a recent education-focused Twitter chat, I shared my board and found that others were excited to find books in various genres that they hadn't known or heard about. Sometimes by sharing in this social way, we find that others are on the same journey as we are. It was very refreshing to discover. Visit my board in the link above.

2. Crowdsource with Google

As the founder of #ntchat, I frequently run a topic for new teachers on the value of summer reading for fun and professional development. This year was no exception -- we held a recent chat and crowdsourced a list of books that educators would suggest as "must reads." Why not create your own resource for sharing with others as you seek to grow your reading list? You could do this by genre or any other way you like. Use it to expand your reading choices -- and don’t forget to share with us. You can find all the titles in the link above.

3. Join a Virtual Book Chat

Have you ever wanted to join a summer book club but none were offered in your area? Why not try a "virtual" book chat? This summer, a great group of educators who run #PTchat will host #PTcamp and offer a free, open, anytime-anywhere, six-week, virtual summer book chat. They will be reading Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family/School Partnerships to inspire conversations on home-school partnerships. Anne Henderson and Karen Mapp, co-authors of the book, will be joining the chat during certain segments of the experience. This open summer course is available for free to 100 educators, parents, and school leaders around the world. Check it out in the link above.

Here are four more resources that you might want to visit:

  1. What Should I Read Next? -- Type in your favorite book, and it will list 20 others similar to it.
  2. What Are You Reading this Summer? -- More fun ideas.
  3. Five-Minute Film Festival: 9 Boosts for Summer Learning -- Although this playlist is designed for kids, there are lots of cool ideas here.
  4. Summer Books Preview 2014 -- An awesome list of summer reads from the Los Angeles Times.

Now that I've shared my ideas, let me know your suggestions for summer reading travels. Do you have a Pinterest board or a crowdsourced list? I'd love it if you shared them in the comments.