For several months now, I have been having book talks with the fifth-graders. Book talks are an easy way for students to learn about new books that they may not have originally thought to read.
So, what exactly is a “book talk?”
A book talk is just a short summary about a book. I typically give the title, the main characters’ names, and a brief summary of the book. Sometimes if there is a particular passage that can grab the reader’s attention right away, I will read that as well.
Why are book talks important to utilize?
I can recommend books to students every single day, but if I do not know anything about the book then it can be difficult to have the child invested in reading it. Book talks give me a chance to express my passion for reading, and show excitement for several different genres of books. Students are typically more drawn to a book if I have shown high interest in reading it, or even had read it myself.
The other great thing about book talks is that you do not have to be a librarian to do them. If you really enjoyed a certain book as a child, share it with your students. Your goal is to get them to read, so why not pick something you want to read or have read. This way you can talk to the students after reading the book, and continue building a relationship with them.
How do you get started?
Pick one to three books to talk about and do just that. Make sure to get a variety of books since not everyone likes the same things. I usually grab an award-winning book, a new book in the library, and lastly a book that has to do with something going on in the school. Express to the students why it would be a good investment in their time to read the books. Get excited! When reading a passage from the book, I try to leave it at a cliffhanger. It gives them just enough to want more. Students also love to talk, so at the end if any of the them want to recommend a book or series they are reading, go for it! Classmates will more likely take a recommendation from their peers.
And just show your passion…
Not everyone loves reading, but it doesn’t hurt to try. I love seeing the students rush to the library after the book talk, and it is even better when it’s a reluctant reader. We read everyday, so why not talk about it?