Last summer, Penn State Brandywine instructors and librarians worked together to design a unique book discussion group for the Multilingual Student Course Cluster and Brandywine Learning. The Multilingual Student Course Cluster supports students who are non-native speakers of English and need assistance developing English language skills, while Brandywine Learning enhances academic achievement through free, on-campus tutoring.
“University Libraries offers innovation microgrants each year,” said Annie Jansen, assistant librarian at Brandywine. “Over the summer, we came up with this idea of using Kindle Fires so we could use a textbook and audio book simultaneously.”
The audio-visual options offered by a Kindle allow students to interact with the assigned book in a variety of ways, aided by embedded features like dictionaries and reference sites. After interacting with the books on their Kindles, students in the Multilingual Student Course Cluster and Brandywine Learning met for a joint book discussion. The coordinators also raffled off three Kindle Fires to student participants.
The book club format serves obvious educational purposes, such as encouraging intellectual discussion. It has also proven beneficial for social and nonacademic reasons. Christine Brown, coordinator of Brandywine Learning, Jansen and Deb Ousey, coordinator of the Multilingual Student Course Cluster, hope to continue exploring new possibilities with the Kindle-based book discussion, opening more students to a collaborative approach to reading.
The complete Penn State News article is available for online reading.