“What is this kidlitosphere?” you may be wondering. I certainly did the very first time I heard the word. I read the definition over and over again in my mind to fully comprehend its meaning. I tried to attach imagery to the word to understand it. A child reading a book… sitting on the edge of the planet Earth. No, that looks too much like the cover of The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I guess I will settle for a bunch of children’s books, both chapter and picture books, swirling around in a tornado-like funnel until the funnel disappears and the books float like clouds… in the kidlitoshpere.
But seriously, the kidlitoshpere is an online community of members interested in children’s literature. As you can imagine this list includes teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators, and, of course, readers. And they all bring their unique background and experience to the table. They blog about their favorite children’s books, their observations on the struggles children have reading, their own struggles reading, ideas for classroom lessons, and the list goes on. To be honest, I was expecting boring book reviews. But once I discovered the diverse nature of the environment and the focus on a common interest, I was hooked.
As a blogger new to the blogging world, I am still stumbling a little… in getting this blog party started! But I am hopeful it will all come together and become quite a celebration of children’s literature. Following are a few observations I have made so far.
- My first discovery is that a blogger must be aware of copy write laws. You are accountable for what you do online. Fortunately online resources are readily available. This holds true for plagiarism of written material as well as taking credit for licensed photos, artwork, etc.
- A good blog breaks up content with white space and photos but there is such a thing as too much. It is more effective to be focused and uncluttered than it is to have a ton of content choices all in front of you at the same time.
- The use of menus and sidebars offer a solution to organizing your content and providing easy access to it while keeping the page nice and clean.
- Limit each post to a central idea. Add something personal about your own experiences and relate it to your topic.
- Include a title to each post that is catchy, descriptive, and not too wordy. Three or four words seem to be pretty effective unless it using a recurring theme like “The Top Ten …” in which you would need three or four more words in the title.
- Recurring themes offer readers something to anticipate. Anticipation brings followers. For example, Top Ten Tuesday.