Blogging is an excellent tool for facilitating book clubs and reader's response in a Reader's Workshop. Read on so see how to use it in your classroom. A YouTube tutorial appears at the bottom for a simple overview of set up and management.

Reader's Workshop: If you have students participating in a Reader's Workshop (ala Fountas and Pinnell) then here is a modern day way to keep up with the workshop letters. Set up a class blog! There are many blogging tools available, but the newest one I have learned about is Kidblog. It is designed with education in mind, and the design is made to protect the students and the teachers.
Edublog: Edublog is a great educational site and has video tutorials to help you see how easy this can be.

Create your own blog, then add members to it. I had been having the kids write a weekly letter about a book of their choice. They would dig deep, make connections, question the author, and reflect on events in their book. I would respond and try to stretch their critical thinking. This worked fine, but it wasn't "fun." Then I introduced blogging. Same thought, but new toy.

THE KIDS: They got jazzed! They liked typing rather than writing. They tended to write longer posts. They uploaded pictures to support their thinking. They became members of each others blogs and motivated others to read these books based on their posts.

ME: I didn't get a hand cramp. I can type my thoughts way faster than writing so it was less burdensome. I knew who posted when because it showed up on my screen so I didn't have to drive myself crazy keeping track of activity. Parents got involved with their kids reading since they would requerst membership from their child.

Book Club: Have kids that out pace their peers in book club? The avid reader who absorbs the books and stories but doesn't quite engage in verbal discussions? Then try a blog! You as the facilitator can post for every chapter, or cluster of chapters depending on the story, and the students can type in a response. It is flexible, so they can post from the classroom or home, if they happen to be reading at night or the weekend, since a blog is open 24/7. The groupings can switch up out of one master blog and you as administrator, control the initial prompts, but allow the readers to feed off of each other and maintain a healthy discourse (had a pregame huddle on appropriate "nettiquite" and being sensitive to opposing thoughts).