One of the reasons (and there are many) why children who are reluctant to read tell me they don’t like reading, is that books are very old fashioned. Who reads books anyway?
Obviously, they still need to read books, no matter how boring and ‘old school’ they are, so educators and concerned parents have to come up with ways to make books seem slightly more exciting.
There are lots of ways to do this, but one of the ways I’ve found that works very well is to tie their reading/literacy goals into some kind of social media project. Linking what the children are learning to a virtual project where they get to use the internet in some way shape or form is always a winner.
There are lots of different approaches you can take. I have already discussed children and blogging on this blog, which you can access by clicking this link.
You could also help them to create a Pinterest board.
Pinterest is a social media site that allows you to create virtual notice boards. When you register you create a pin icon which sits on your tool bar. As you browse the internet, if you come across an image, article or website you are interested in, and want to refer to again, you simply press the ‘Pin’ icon on your tool bar, and you can pin it to your virtual notice boards.
You can create as many notice boards as you want, on any topic you like. You can pin directly from external sources on the internet, or you can browse what other pinners are pinning and repin from their boards.
As I discussed in my post on children and blogging, Pinterest, like blogging sites, are not child specific. They are created for adults to use. The content, therefore is not always suitable for children, and I would never advise you to set up an unsupervised Pinterest account for a child.
Schools tend to block sites like Pinterest for this reason. There is no reason however, that you couldn’t take the idea and work within school using the same principle but at a low tech level, using mood boards that the children can pin to but with paper images or stuff they have printed from the internet.
If you are a home educator or parent who wants to enthuse their child, you could set up a Pinterest account and allow your child to create boards which are supervised by you.
The concerns with Pinterest are not that children might be contacted by unsuitable people. Pinterest does allow interaction between Pinners, but as the majority of the content is visual, most people confine their comments to discussions of the things you are pinning. The comments are also all visible to everyone.
The concerns are that your child will see something which you or they may find offensive. Pinterest has policies about what is and isn’t acceptable to pin, but their guidelines are broad. Parental supervision is required.
If you do wish to set up Pinterest for your child to create boards related to a particular text you could look at creating various types of board:
You could create a board for each main character and get the child to pin images and ideas that reflect the character’s personality, and help them to build their own vision of the character as a real, fleshed out, human being.
You could create mood boards for where the child wants the story to go next. You could create one for what might have happened before the story started, or what happens after the last page. Get them to extend the narratives, or develop stories for the minor characters.
You could create mood boards for certain scenes. Get the child to imagine they were going to make a film of a particular scene or chapter in the book, ask them to pin the stars they would choose to be the characters, what clothes they might wear, other props and ideas for making the scene come to life.
There are lots of different ways you can play with the images on a site as versatile as Pinterest to get your child to become immersed in the world of the story.