I’m participating in the 20-day Blogging Challenge from Jennifer Brower over at Where Books and Technology Meet. She posted 20 days of blogging challenges for librarians back in January. I’m modifying and responding to one prompt each week.
Challenge: How do you book talk to your students? How often do you book talk? Do you have resources you use for this?
This is a good topic for me. I don’t book talk very well. My version of book talking for my students tends to be along the lines of, “Today we’re reading a ____ book. If you are interested in reading more ____ books, you can find them on the shelf at ____.”
I do book talk our state award nominees to third, fourth, and fifth graders and try to mix that list of ten up with a combination of book trailers and traditional book talking.
I find book talking challenging to think about for several reasons, but I need to do it more often anyway and then I’ll get better at it. Right?
My main two issues are: I simply forget to plan it. When I think about it I realize I have to do a lot of research to figure out what to book talk so there will be enough options because kids will usually checkout what you offer them.
So I guess I ask rather than offer… how do you manage planning book talks on a fixed schedule? Do you keep a list? A big stack? When I book talk to one class I can’t book talk the same books to the same grade the next day because the books simply won’t be available. Book talking enough books in a week to keep an entire grade level satisfied is daunting to me…
My goal this year was to do it more regularly and I’m simply failing at it.
I do have ideas. Big plans. Dreams. Goals.
Not enough time….
One of my middle school pals does a great job at keeping book lists that go along with social studies themes. She gets into classes during units to book talk materials related to the content. I love the simpleness of this idea and think it’s genius to get students to the library for book checkout and also to start small with collaboration.
Maybe I need a different tactic? Planning some book lists about topics that I could offer to teachers to relate to holidays, character traits, genres. Save the lists from year to year to build on and grow?
Sigh. You all are probably doing this, right? I’m so not good at this right now. (And while I breathe a great big breath of attitude adjustment, let me thank you for letting me think out loud on my blog. This is the real me all the way…)
Maybe it’s not a matter of a perfect plan or a right list. Maybe it’s a matter of just starting. Taking one step?
So here’s my step… Use the resources I’ve got. Make a book list (I’m seriously doing this RIGHT NOW as I type this post). Offer the topic to just A FEW teachers and ask if I can come into their classroom to book talk.
Here we go… live blogging of my book talking preparation process.
Step 1: Find Books
First, one of my favorite websites for booklists: Teaching Kids Books.
Next, search for a perfect topic. President’s Day is coming up. Let’s get prepared and see what is suggested…
Now I’m scared. My library has exactly 3 of the books on this list. That’s not the true problem. The list looks great and I DON’T HAVE THESE BOOKS! (I’m doing a lot of shouting on this blog post. I apologize.) They all look like “must have!” books!
Okay. So I have books. It’s not that I don’t. I was hoping for some hidden gems. I just have to work a little bit harder to find them…
Search my library catalog the old-fashioned way.
Okay, I found some books that will work.
Step 2: Preparation
- Read them.
- Take some notes and write a post it so that I’m super prepared!
- Put all of the books into a Destiny Resource list so that it can be easily printed.
- Plan a time with a few teachers (I’m hoping for 2).
Step 3: Execute
- Book talk these babies!
- Take the students’ library cards with me to the class.
- Write student ID numbers onto the printed list of the books (that I will bring with me) so that I can check them out after returning to the library.
- Offer hold slips for students who want to read a book but might not have gotten it first.
- Ask students for feedback. Was this good? Would you like to do this again? Do you have a topic to recommend?
I think that’s enough from me about the topic of book talking… I would love to hear ideas and strategies from others that are book talking pros and those that struggle as much as I do.