What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Goodreads is an excellent place for teens to discuss their favorite books with fellow readers online. The site is geared primarily toward adult users with no special "kid section," so your teens may be connecting with readers of all ages. Teens should be cautious about what they share and use privacy settings to minimize contact with strangers. However, Goodreads is very focused on literature and the bulk of communication occurs within reviews, not private discussion or email.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- forming arguments
- text analysis
- cultural understanding
Thinking & Reasoning
- making conclusions
- thinking critically
- applying information
- conveying messages effectively
- friendship building
- respecting other viewpoints
Responsibility & Ethics
- respect for others
- following codes of conduct
- honoring the community
- social media
Engagement, Approach, Support
With heated conversations going on in every corner, teens can tap into their passion for favorites like Harry Potter with a group of equally invested readers. They'll also get excited about adding books to their growing library.
Teens can have in-depth discussions about character and theme. (They can also just chat about vampires.) They'll be able to transfer the skills they develop using Goodreads to write persuasive essays later on.
When you first log in, the site walks you through how to create a library and rate books. The FAQ is extensive and organized, and the home page features boxes with tips on how best to use the site.
What's it about?
Goodreads is a website for book lovers to review books, share recommendations, and track reading history and goals. It's also a social network where kids can see what their friends are reading and can join discussion groups for their favorite books. The bulk of the site is review-based, but there are also quizzes, quotes, and biographical author information to delve into.
Is it any good?
Goodreads is the largest and most popular site of this type online, and it shows. It's a well-designed outlet for book lovers to share their likes and dislikes, and the recommendation system is spot-on, spurring kids to read even more books. Young bookworms will love the related activities, including quizzes like "The Ultimate Percy Jackson Quiz" and "Awesome Harry Potter Quotes," and can join groups to discuss every detail of The Hunger Games. Every book imaginable is reviewed here, and kids can explore their favorite genres with ease.
Which brings us to the trouble with Goodreads and kids: there's no real filter between kid and adult content. While 13 is the recommended age for signing up, there's nothing stopping a teen from joining the "Fifty Shades of Grey Support Group." It's surprising that they haven't come up with a more kid-focused sister site. But as long as parents help teens establish responsible social networking habits, Goodreads can be a fun and safe place for teens to share their love of books.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what information it's OK to share online. Why should you be cautious about what you share in online social networks? Check out our Social Networking Tips for more discussion ideas.
Take your kids to a book signing at the local bookstore; they'll love to see and hear their favorite authors in person.
Share the books you loved as a child with your kids, then have a family discussion or read-aloud evening. Getting kids to talk comfortably about books will help them with the in-depth analysis they'll have to do in school.