One way we're celebrating and sharing our reading in room 209 is through book talks, which is when a reader talks up books that they think fellow readers will enjoy getting their hands on. These are usually quick--under two minutes--and are designed to pique students' interest in the book. At the beginning of the year, I did a ton of fast and furious book talks just to get a lot of titles out into the room and to help students fill up their "Coming Soon" lists. These lists are essential--having a plan as a reader for what to pick up next is a key piece in establishing a growing and flourishing reading life.
|After I book talk titles, I have interested students add their names to a Post-It note. I randomly choose one reader at the end of the day to be the first to check out the title.|
Over the past few weeks, we've been transitioning into having students book talk books they love too.
|Kate is talking up To Kill a Mockingbird.|
|Sienna did a great job selling Ms. Peregrine's House for Peculiar Children.|
I don't have a ton of criteria for these talks because I like for my students to have the freedom to be creative with them. Some go for the "classic" book talk where they give an "elevator pitch" of the book live to their classmates, while others have designed book trailers using sites like Animoto or PowToon. This helps out my more introverted students who may balk at the idea of talking in front of all of their classmates--they can make a video instead and still share their reading without the fear of speaking in front of a crowd.
I love doing book talks, but I'll be the first to admit that having my students do them too has brought a whole new layer of community to our reading relationships that isn't possible when I'm the only one talking about my books. We're all sharing what we read and learning from each other.
As we move forward in the year, I have some more ideas on the list for how to continue to grow our reading community. I've started an Instagram account that I plan to use to record book talks (both mine and my students'). With the new Stories feature, I can record clips that will play back-to-back to make an entire book talk. I like this idea because I have 49 minutes in class, and while I think book talks are a valuable use of that time, pushing that content out via a social media platform that my kids already use just seems smart. I'm hoping to record my own book talks with my "real time" reaction to finishing a book, and Instagram is an easy way to do that. I hope to give students the option to record and post their book talk on Instagram soon!
I'm always looking for new ways to get titles out there. Wonderfully written books will languish on shelves if readers don't know they exist. Book talks are an easy, simple way to give readers options and also get a conversation flowing about books we're read and loved.