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New Social Network for Elementary School Readers Now Available

A free new social networking platform aims to encourage elementary school children to read more books. BiblioNasium is a pilot virtual reading village for children aged 6-12 and their friends, parents, and teachers. The site enables young readers to catalogue, share, and exchange their book recommendations. It also offers reading-level-appropriate book recommendations using the Lexile Framework for Reading.

"Our mission is threefold: to instill the habit of regular reading at a young age, to promote reading as a leisure and social activity, and to connect kids, parents, and teachers to create a virtual reading village," said Adele Schwartz, chief education advocate for BiblioNasium, in a prepared statement.

To help ensure safety and privacy, parents or teachers register first and then register their children or students for the site. Children require permission from their parent or teacher to add other users to their network.

Once logged in, users can search for books by title, author, category, or reading level, add books to their virtual bookshelf, and recommend books to other users in their network. Children can track their reading in their personal reading log, including the date, title, reading level, number of pages read in the sitting, and the length of the reading session. Teachers can then run reports on individual students, groups of students, or an entire class to assess progress.

Through a partnership with MetaMetrics, BiblioNasium integrates the Lexile Framework for Reading. The Lexile Framework is a reading-level metric based on 20 years of research, and it is widely used throughout the United States.

"The real power of Lexile measures is that they provide BiblioNasium users with important information about a book's text complexity that helps them pick appropriately challenging titles to read, as well as make recommendations for others," said Malbert Smith III, president and cofounder of MetaMetrics, in a prepared statement.

Key features of BiblioNasium include:

  • Book recommendations;
  • Tools for teachers to monitor and assess reading progress;
  • Online reading logs;
  • Summaries of books; and
  • Reading levels of books.

The beta version of BiblioNasium is now online and membership is free. To sign up or to find more information visit biblionasium.com.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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