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Ideas for AASL Best Websites: BiblioNasium December 30, 2013

Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Technology.

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BiblioNasium….A Fun Social Network For Our Young Readers To Flex Their Reading Muscles

Being a teacher librarian and part of the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee, I spend a lot of time trying out all of wonderful websites on these lists each year.  I was especially excited to see BiblioNasium as part of the 2013 list under the “Manage & Organize” section.  My students, teachers, and families have been using BiblioNasium for over a year now and we all love what this free, safe, and secure social networking reading website has brought to the young readers within our school community.

We love how it connects young readers to their reading interests and friends; gives librarians, teachers, and parents a place to explore;  lets them share book reviews and recommendations; and  how students use BiblioNasium to “flex their reading muscles” as they connect to a large variety of good books to read.

When I first came across BiblioNasium on Twitter I went to the “About Us” page to read this quote from founder Marjan Ghara about why she created this social reading network,

“Marjan and her kids realized they needed a digital solution to organize the information, keep track of their own favorite books, and connected a new generation of digital kids.  Part kids social network, part parent’s guide, part teachers’s tool, BiblioNasium blends technology with personal connection to create a supportive, engaging space for reading success.”

What a great idea!  I couldn’t wait to get our students using BiblioNasium and even more excited about reading!

I started using it with our 3rd through 5th grade last year by introducing it as their own “virtual reading” space.  We talk a lot about social networking and digital citizneship throughout the year and by using BiblioNasium it has given us a chance to have great conversations about being resonsible and respectful online with others in these types of networks. This fall our students in grades 2nd through 6th grade are using BiblioNasium, while our younger and older ones will too second semester.

Once in BiblioNasium, students can search for books, including titles that are just the “right fit” by getting the reading level information for any title; mark, favorite, and review books; place books on their very own shelves; create reading challenges; log their reading minutes; and recommend books to others within their class.  Teachers enjoy it for many reasons, especially how they can track students reading through the logs and recommendations.  And as a parent, I really love looking at what my 8-year-old Hagan enjoys reading and what he looks forward to read too.

As part of sharing BiblioNasium , I also asked Marjan to share a few thoughts.

Marjan stated in an email to me,

“Within BiblioNasium, there are over half a million books that are shelved by our students on their virtual bookshelves and we are growing at the rate of about 1000 new students a week.  

Second, I think its so important to mention over and over that we support “independent reading” which is the best predictor of a child’s reading comprehension and reading fluency achievement. (Independent reading in our definition means reading that is usually done outside of the classroom setting, at home, on the weekends, breaks, summers …)  We are also agnostic to the format or content that they read.  We want them to track, record and get credit for reading print books as well as ebooks,  fiction books as well as comic books, what ever excites them to read.

Third, we are strong believers that when educators and parents collaborate,  the kids can get the most gains. Therefore we support and encourage the connection between the school and the home.  

Fourth , we have been very responsive to the feedback from our librarian community and they have helped shape and directed the many new features that are now on the platform.  

Finally, we want to make reading fun!!!!!  :))”

As you can see BiblioNasium is a place for students to fall in love with reading and books over and over.  It is a social network that we can encourage our little ones to connect and collaborate with others through reading and writing. I just know you and your students will love it as much as we do within my school community and home.

You can connect with BiblioNasium on Facebook and on Twitter at @BiblioNasium.

Shannon McClintock Miller  @shannonmmiller

2013-14 AASL Best Websites For Teaching and Learning Committee


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