On June 1st I sat down with my third grade reading group to talk about this one more time. Here's what they had to say:
I must say the boundaries of what they read online is also changing, morphing - in very much the same way the boundaries established by a teacher in a traditional silent reading period might change. For instance, there was this real excitement over reading about (ahem, looking at the pictures of) different Pokemon characters on Wikipedia. This wonderful discovery came from reading some of the posts from Doug Noon's fourth grade bloggers. So I watched for a couple of days, finally put my foot down, and said, no more just clicking on this or that to just see pictures of the different characters. Get off Wikipedia, for goodness sake. Kind of like a teacher might not allow somebody to "read" Where's Waldo? day after day.... Know where those boys eventually wound up? - reading and rereading the posts on Pokemon from Doug's kids.
Then there are the walkabouts that happen, like today, a student was at a classblogmeister blog that had Google Earth embedded into a blog post. Never having used the program, she figured out how to see our school from space - pretty much on her own. Reading? Sure, she had to. I have to check with her tomorrow to see where this was - very cool!
Then there is the reading of a post that leads to "non-blog" reading, like a news report linked within a blog. Several of my kids have done this thanks to the fifth grade bloggers in Gordon Brune's class.
At the end of all this, I will say there is a renewed and excited interest in reading with this group - which had not existed before I opened this door. Sure, they still read from books, but they read also from blogs, online reference, online news, and who knows what else tomorrow. Just like their teachers - and their parents.