Student book talks are one of the many ways that students share recommendations for each other. Recommendations of books are a natural way to grow readers and they help immensely in the classroom when peers can hear from each other rather than just recommendations from me.
In the past, I would often ask kids if anyone had a book to recommend and yet it seemed that it was always the same awesome students who felt brave enough to recommend their books in front of the whole class. There is just something about 7th grade that makes even the boldest kids shy.
So rather than limit the book talks or force kids, we created the 30-second book talk. Yes, some kids still get nervous, but now they are prepared rather than feeling like they are coming up with something on the spot.
The idea is super simple. Every student gets a notecard, on it, they write a brief recommendation of the book they want to share. They can talk about the book and why it is a great read and who may like it as well. Their names go on the book and then they hand the cards to me.
Every day, when we remember, or sometimes just when we have a little bit of extra time, I pull a few cards from the stack as students enter. I then have the book covers ready to be projected, I give the card back to the student as a way to let them know they will recommend today and then we are off after their independent reading time. This gives the kids recommending a few minutes to read their book talk and adjust if needed. Kids read off their cards if they want or they invent on the spot. Their peers have their to-be-read lists out and add as they hear great titles shared. The book cover is projected so everyone can see the title and author and the intimidation factor is lessened.
Because we have so many students, these cards usually take us at least two weeks to go through and then we can do another round if we choose to.
There you go, another simple idea to create more passionate readers.
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If you like what you read here, consider reading my newest book, Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child, out August 2017. This book focuses on the five keys we can implement into any reading community to strengthen student reading experiences, even within the 45 minute English block. If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students. Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.
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