Pause for a moment to consider what you do to get your students reading? Students in upper elementary NEED to have book discussions. Maybe you help them find books that match their interests Perhaps you use read alouds daily to show your students new authors. Do you talk with them about what they’re reading? That sure can give you a window into their thinking and interests. Well, on today’s menu is the topic of book talks. Today, I’d like to share with you some simple ways you can make this time purposeful, fun, and motivating.
What’s the Purpose of Book Talks
Students need to talk to demonstrate their thinking. If students are sharing about their reading, they will be more likely to pay attention to the important points of the text which provides accountability for them. By talking through their reading, we are able to observe comprehension skills/strategies, and by listening to students discuss their reading, students are exposed to new reading options they may select in the future.
Making Book Talks Fun
Book talks can be as simple or complex as you want to make them. Students can have a scheduled time for sharing and even have a limited time for their presentation, but teachers can also make an event out of the book talk day. Look at the image to the right. Most kids would love the opportunity to dine in a “Paris Cafe” and have cookies and milk during their sharing time. Check out this image and post from Second Grade Smarty Arties. This would be so much fun.
Another great option that may be easier to do is a graffiti wall. You can give your students time to record important quotes or have them share a brief introduction. The key with whatever you choose as the book talk format is to allow time for conversation and make it a positive experience for the kids. Book talks can also be brief and worked into the daily routine for much of the time.
With struggling readers, you might have a parent volunteer come in for a lunch bunch book club. Last year, we had an enthusiastic parent come, and all she did was chat with the kids about what they were reading and daily reading routines. It really encouraged the group and made a huge difference for them (and they loved the lunchtime attention.
If you can make this work, you might set up a rotating schedule and allow the kids to choose special friends. If a child isn’t into it, certainly pick others to keep it something kids want to do.
Ways to Keep Track of Reading Plans
More important than anything else is to keep your kids enthusiastic and eager to read. Help them to make plans for what they want to read next. Use book bins to let them keep a stash of books on hand at all times. Also remember that they can’t stay motivated if a routine is not established. If it helps for your students to keep a running list of books they’ve completed, then do it. However, have them keep a list of book recommendations that they’ve gathered from friends, your librarian and from you. When students get to recommend to each other, it also gives them something to talk about.
Book Talk Freebies
If you’re interested in seeing a few other ideas, you might check out these products to get started.
Related Posts You’d Enjoy:
- Keeping Kids Motivated with Summer Reading Opportunities
- Using Technology to Spark Motivation with Your Readers
- Using Early Morning Book Club to Motivate Readers
I hope you’ll get this plan into practice and spark reading motivation this year.