What if I told you there’s a magical place where young people spend hours upon hours discussing, sharing, creating, and theorizing about their favorite books? What if I told you that place was TikTok? Or, more specifically, a corner of TikTok known as BookTok. Well, that’s what this week’s episode is all about. My guest this week is Dr. Sarah Jerasa, Assistant Professor of Literacy at Clemson University in the Department of Education and Human Development. In addition to being a friend of the show and fellow member of the Writing and Literacies Special Interest Group, Sarah is currently researching the impact of BookTok on reading, writing, and creating content about literature. Far from being a random trending topic or flash-in-the-pan hashtag, the discourse on BookTok has already proven to have a major impact on the publishing industry and features millions of book lovers connecting over their most loved and loathed books. Considering the popularity and influence digital spaces have on literacy practices, Sarah believes (and I agree) it’s high time English teachers begin to consider how we can expand “what counts” as literacy in academic spaces. Even if you have no idea what a "For You Page" is or is generally anti-social media, this episode still has some worthwhile food for thought about the relationship between academic literacies, youth literacies, and the future of English Language Arts.
BookTok 101: TikTok, Digital Literacies, and Out-of-School Reading Practices