Little Miss Goody Goodreads

I’ve been on Goodreads for over a decade. Here is my user profile link:

Two things on my mind:

  1. Reading challenges
  2. Stars and reviews



Reading logs irk me. Few things made me feel more like a slatternly and crappy mother than when I forgot to sign the boys’ reading logs. We read to them since day one, and having this accountability drudgery soured my love of reading a bit, too. It was a reminder that reading isn’t for pleasure, thinking, talking–it is about getting a tired parent’s signature and holding children “responsible” to remember something that has no connection to hearth, heart, and home. Add a child with ADD to the mix, and not only are reading logs one more thing that everyone will feel guilt and shame over, but will almost certainly associated only negative feelings with reading.

Last year I thought I’d try the reading challenge, and gave myself an ambitious number. I really thought I could will myself into reading 50 books. Why did I do that to myself? Toward the end of the year I changed the number by almost half and still didn’t make it. And then a funny thing happened: I started seeing my friends’ posts about how they not only read dozens of books, but beat their challenges. And that thing…that thing in me…that is not competitive with others, in fact rebels and fights against academic competitiveness reared its messy head. I felt turned off and a tad defensive. It become all about numbers, not what we were reading and our shared thoughts.

Maybe it’s time to bring back my book club.

I set reasonable goals for this year, and want to read again for ideas and thinking That’s it. Just going to read when I can, want to, and relax about it.


Literary analysis: reviews

But…what if…we use Goodreads and others like it (Book Riot, LitHub, Brain Pickings, etc.) to share with students authentic and real-world reviews, analysis and thinking? This idea sparked from a conversation on Twitter about star ratings, and reminded me of this review about a book called Basic Witches:

Before you question about why I have this book, I have always appreciated kitschy silliness like this. It’s an okay book, and I wasn’t that impressed. Not sure what I thought it would offer, but it was fine. The illustrations are cute, so maybe that’s what drew my attention.

So how do we not only encourage students to read, read whatever they like without judgment, and grow to communicate when they like, love, or hate a novel? Maybe it’s time to share reviews like this one to encourage students to speak against, or for, books.

One reader, “M” wrote a scathing review:

A reviewer from Goodreads
Part 2 of the review

Let me give this some more thought. I think a mini-unit on how to write a book review, (not a report) but true literary critique would be valuable to most middle and high school students.

“I didn’t find the characters believable.”

I have a Youtube channel, and I need to update many of my videos. In the meantime, here is a link to how to write basic Short Answer Responses and Funnel paragraphs (it cuts off weirdly at the end).

Maybe a graphic organizer like this?

What made you:Page number/quotePage number/quote:Page number/quote
Get angry?
Where did you think the author(s) was manipulating you?
Where did you find the text authentic or connecting?

If you have any thoughts or want to add something to this, please send me a tweet @mrskellylove or a comment!