One of the advantages to having books available on electronic devices is the ability to quickly share out key ideas and statements in order to start or continue a discussion. I have seen many groups try to start an online discussion about something they were reading and by using the digital form of that book you are more able to share out than ever before. Sites like Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/) and Amazon Kindle’s site (https://kindle.amazon.com/) allow you to easily share out what you are reading as well as being able to quickly share highlights and notes (in the case of the Kindle site).
First, if you already read books on your Kindle, go to https://kindle.amazon.com/ and set up your account. You can choose which books you want to share out that you are reading and even if you want to make your notes and highlights public. This is an account that many people already have but may not know about these features. My wife and I share a Kindle account so I only made those books and notes public that are mine and that I feel like sharing out.
Sharing out notes and highlights can be a great way to start a book chat or study and can easily be done by anyone with a Kindle account. You can go to the site to view your books and even look at all of the highlights and notes you have made in the text. These notes and highlights are backed up online when your Kindle (device or app) is connected to the internet. You can even sync your Twitter and/or Facebook account to make the sharing quicker by hitting a button and adding a description. This quick sharing of key points can allow conversations to happen more easily and even asynchronously if needed.
Starting a book chat or study with people you may not meet face to face with can be just as beneficial as forming one where you do meet face to face. The discussions that normally would happen in person can happen online in many forms, from a simple Google Doc to a discussion carried out on Google+, Facebook or Twitter. You can have each person share out an important highlight from the section you are discussing and can even look at each other’s list of highlights from that book. You may have a quote from another book you want to share, something you can do quickly using the Kindle site. This is an easy way to get a discussion started to help you learn together, without having to meet together.
You can see my profile, as well as my books and highlights, at my Kindle page.
While I am new to the Goodreads site, I know some teachers who use it regularly and enjoy being able to share out what they are reading and get suggestions on what to read next. While this does not have the ability to share out notes and highlights directly from the reading app, it does allow you to share out what you are reading or have read, digital or not. While many of my books are now digital, there are still books that I read that are physical copies only. This means that Goodreads is a great site for sharing out all books you are reading or have read.
The social factor of Goodreads means that you can get quick updates from the people you follow when they read something new or add to their list to read. You can get a group together and compare what books you have read in order to get an understanding of the different viewpoints each will have experienced. This could be the starter to the overall discussion that would take place in a book chat or study.
No matter which tool you use, we are now able to easily and quickly share out what we are reading and what we find interesting in order to have those discussions that we really want. Being able to read a book together with others in order to compare and contrast ideas is a great way to build upon the learning we would get from our reading. Make use of the digital tools you have to accentuate the learning that is already taking place or to create new learning opportunities that were not possible before.