I love collecting bookmarks. My favorites are those that have been handmade by my children or have beautiful quotes and images on them to inspire my reading and thinking. I have one bookmark that I purchased at a craft fair in Boston that was made completely from recycled wrappers. Beautiful. While I love these bookmarks for the feelings they evoke as I slip them between the pages of a book, I have a particular love of another kind of bookmark when working with teachers in book clubs: the QR bookmark. Let me explain.

I love technology. And I especially love QR codes. They easily link us to information, provide access to new texts and resources and add a layer of activity and interaction to almost any learning activity. They are evident in all aspects of my coaching, but I have a particular fondness for using them in book clubs to enrich teachers’ reading experience. How? I create oversized bookmarks that link teachers to websites, videos, resources and even additional texts to support their reading of the book and make reading more interactive. Take a look at one of the bookmarks I created for DIY Literacy by Kate and Maggie Roberts:

So, how do I do it?

  1. Create a bookmark template. I simply divide a document into two columns to create oversized bookmarks, but get as creative as you want (and feel free to share your ideas with me!). Label each side with a section of the book you are reading. You might create one for each chapter or you can create one for each block of text teachers should read before meeting next.
  2. Read the chapter/section. As you read, visit the websites/resources/tools that are shared in the book that teachers would appreciate having right at their fingertips. Open each in a different tab in your browser.
  3. Gather additional websites/resources/tools that might not have been included in the book, but would be relevant to the book topic and related to your work with teachers. Open those resources in a separate tab as well.
  4. Find additional texts that could enhance teachers’ thinking. You might include the author’s website, related blog posts or even podcasts to make connections to.
  5. Next, create a QR code for each of the resources above. I prefer to use qrstuff.com, but you can choose any QR code generator.
  6. Paste each newly-generated QR code into your bookmark and add a title.
  7. Print out the bookmarks for teachers and ensure they have a QR reader on their favorite device for easy access while reading.

Now, you might be thinking that many newly-published books already have QR codes scattered through their pages and you are right. But creating your own QR code bookmark lets you personalize what you want teachers to focus on as they read. It can be overwhelming to focus on everything a book offers, but with the bookmark, you can highlight key resources that will be explored in more depth during your book club meetings. You might even add the very discussion questions you hope to lead your book study with so teachers are already thinking about their ideas and responses they might share.

But wait….the best part? Once you have modeled this practice for teachers, it might find its way into their classrooms as well. If you would like to learn more about how to create QR codes to spark students’ independent reading, take a look at my blog post here!

How have you used QR Code Bookmarks in your coaching? Share your ideas, templates and questions below!

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