Over the years I've read about and been involved in various projects to encourage children to read more books, such as: lib dub music videos, Harlem Shake dances and reading flash mobs. As one-off events they are great for capturing children's imaginations and no doubt prompt several more children to pick up a book and read.
Helping them to choose a book which will interest them can be much more challenging, however. A search on the Internet will find various recommended book lists for children that contain many classic novels but seem to lack contemporary works of fiction. Online bookstores let you read user reviews of books to find out what the general opinion of them is but sorting through the thousands available can be a laborious task to do.
To help children share their favourite books with others and hopefully help them find some stories to read themselves, I've set up a Twitter account called @recommendastory. The idea is very simple - whenever a child you know has read a book that they've really enjoyed, Tweet a photo of them holding the book and with it mention the @recommendastory account or add the #recommendastory hashtag. You might also want to type a quote or ask the child for a mini review to fill up any of the remaining characters. The photo gives the recommendation a personal touch and helps children to appreciate that another real child has liked a particular book.
I will aim to retweet all the mentions the @recommendastory account gets so that any followers can learn about stories other children have enjoyed reading. The project is very low maintenance for me to manage and easy for children or classes to take part in - just Tweet a mention to @recommendastory. I want the account to promote reading for pleasure, allow people from different places to compare the stories that they're reading and inspire children with ideas for books to read themselves.
Children will always love reading a good story book and following the adventures of the characters in them. Access to them couldn't be easier nowadays through: libraries, charity shops and e-book readers. Please make it your New Year's resolution for 2015 to get involved with this exciting project and help to promote the joy of reading to as many children as possible!