Common Sense Review
Updated April 2013

Goodreads

Lively community for bookworms to share their love of lit
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • One of the many Goodreads groups teens can join.
  • The home page offers new releases in chosen genres.
  • A user's library view.
  • The search feature is very easy to use.
  • A kids' book summary (note the incongruous ad on the right.)
Pros
Goodreads is a wealth of literary information and enthusiasm that teens can really sink their teeth into.
Cons
Teens and adults mixing in the forums could be problematic.
Bottom Line
Using Goodreads can enhance teens' reading experience and help them become thoughtful, enthusiastic readers.
Polly Conway
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

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.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

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.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

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.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Teachers need to know that Goodreads is an excellent place for older kids and teens to discuss their favorite books with fellow readers online. However, the site is geared primarily toward adult users with no special "kid section," so teens may be connecting with readers of all ages. With that in mind, Goodreads is generally very focused on literature and the bulk of communication occurs within reviews, not private discussions or email.

While Goodreads isn't set up for classroom use, there are a few ways teachers can integrate it into curriculum. Recommended for high school-age students, Goodreads offers another way for kids to communicate about books, which is always a good thing. It's easy to set up a classroom group within the site where students can talk about the current class reading selection. Teachers can post questions and assignments. They can also create quizzes based on classroom material or even come up with contests: Having students review extracurricular reads sounds much more fun than an old-fashioned book report.

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What's It Like?

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 teens can see what their friends are reading and can join discussion groups for their favorite books. Users of Goodreads create an account and then use the search function to create an online library, book by book. Users can also add books that they want to read in the future, marking them "to-read," or note a book as "currently reading." It's then possible to share the library with friends invited to Goodreads through email or Facebook. The bulk of the site is review-based, but there are also quizzes, quotes, and biographical author information to delve into.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Teens learn by reading books, then forming and sharing opinions in an online setting. By engaging in friendly discourse about books, they'll learn communication skills. They'll be proud to add newly ready books to their own online library and talk about their favorites with peers. To review a book, teens will have to think critically about their opinions and find the best way to share their feelings in writing.

Goodreads is the largest and most popular site of this type online, and it shows. It's a great 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." Every book imaginable is reviewed here, and kids can explore their favorite genres with ease.

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See how teachers are using Goodreads

Lesson Plans