Long before the NSBA report on social networking was released last month encouraging schools and school leaders to embrace the opportunities afforded by social networking technologies for student learning, leaders of The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) began working with read/write web tools to take their ideas and mission where students increasingly spend their free time: Online.

YALSA’s read/write web and social networking spaces include Ning, Flickr, MySpace, an organizational wiki, an organizational blog, and more.

I have written about YALSA and their digital advocacy for reading, literacy, libraries and librarians before, but most recently my attention was directed to them after finding the YALSA read-alike list for The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe available on Walden Media’s website. Walden Media’s website for teachers is WONDERFUL, and includes a rich array of resources related to their films and (in many cases) the books on which the films are based. Each of their films (which are based on a book) includes a “read-alike list,” which are perfect for students who say “I really loved that movie…” or “I really loved that book…” and want suggestions for additional books to read related to the original.

In this spirit, it would be wonderful to see a group like YALSA get behind a digital storytelling project like “Great Book Stories” to invite more students to powerfully share the books they love, the reasons they love them, and reasons why others should consider reading them.

Helping students experience their own “home run book” is one of the most important things we can do as educators, especially in elementary school, but also later in life if students don’t have this experience sooner. It’s great to see YALSA continuing to utilize read/write web and social networking tools/environments to share their positive messages of advocacy for literacy. It’s also great to see them partnering with a creative organization like Walden Media, who (thankfully) has strong concern for “faithfully adapting” books to the silver screen.

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