Booktalking Clubs - Increasing Enthusiasm and Excitement for Reading

Hi everyone! It is Bex here from Reading and Writing Redhead, coming to you to share about Booktalking and Booktalk Clubs! I recently did some professional development and went to a session on the topic and am inspired!

So before we do anything else, you are probably wondering, "Hmmm, is that a typo? Does she mean Book Club, not Booktalk Club?" Nope! Booktalks are a bit different than book clubs. Here is the scoop. Booktalks are 2-3 minute presentations someone gives to persuade others to read a book they  recommend. You know what I thought of? Reading Rainbow! Remember those kids would come on and give you a 1 minute spiel about a book they read and loved and then you would think, "Oh my gosh I need to read that"? Similar!

Booktalk Clubs are after school clubs that students join voluntarily. At some schools Booktalk Club is held before school, during lunch or during a free period. Students often get involved for one or more of the following reasons: They love reading, love writing, are social butterflies, or enjoy performing for others.  Booktalk Clubs rely a lot of peer assistance - more so than lessons during your reading block - and kids that join end up reading more  and recommending more books to others even outside of Booktalk Club. 

In my post I am not going to go into every step of how to run a Booktalk Club - that post would be extremely lengthy -  but at the end I will post some links for places you can get more specific information.

Let's talk about some basics though. Booktalk Clubs work best in 12 week cycles. Plan for 12 meetings, which may mean they go longer than 12 weeks because f vacations and holidays. How do you get students to join? Well, start with your own class and promote it to them, and get all the teachers at your school to do the same. Make up a flyer and encourage those students who already want to join to ask their friends to join. The Booktalk Club likely needs to be a coordinated effort across your school- your principal obviously needs to be on board to allow you to meet with students outside of class time, and the more your colleagues know about it and the more they discuss it with their classes, the better it will go! By the way, Booktalk Clubs can include students in different grade levels. It is up to you what range you pick. I will post some links with suggestions but I think 2nd grade-4th grade might be a good range, 3-5, 6-8 and so on. You don't want children to be so far apart in age that they no longer are really "peers". I think you also want the youngest students in your club to be able to read independently - not struggling. That's just my take!

How do you decide what books get picked? The element of choice is so important here. Students are volunteering to do this one their own time and need to have a lot of input in what book they read.  Grab a lot of books from your classroom library, the school library and town library and have them on display. Be sure to have a wide range of types and levels of books. As students sign up and give you their permission slips work with them to pick out a book (before the first meeting of the club). They need to have  their book read or almost read for the first meeting.  The first book choice is always the hardest. Try too encourage students to be realistic about book choice- for example a third grader choosing a 350 page Harry Potter book to complete if the first BookTalk Club meeting is in 5 days is probably not going to work! Sometimes students will realize their first book was too hard, too easy, too long, or too short and the next time around will adjust for it.

A big part of Booktalk Club is the presentation. It is encouraged that all booktalks be videotaped. Some clubs have a night where everyone's family is invited and all the students do  their booktalks live. Some clubs do both. Club members will make  decisions together  about what they want the culmination to look like.

To get an idea of what Booktalks look like as a finished product, check out these videos. I found 2 younger students and one older student. They did a super job!

This is a slightly different take on a booktalk - this older girl is recommending a book for younger children.

So have you ever done a Booktalk Club at your school? Might you try it? Let us know what you think and comment!

Scholastic's Booktalk Website

Waco ISD's Book Talk Update

Scholastic Reading Summit: Booktalk Update

Nancy Keane's Children's Literature Page

Reading Online Booktalk Resources

And thanks to Erin of I'm Lovin' Lit (and Adventures in Literacy Land!) for the terrific frames used above and KG Fonts for, well, the font!


  1. Thank you for this very informative blog post. As a librarian I understand the power of booktalks but never would have thought of having a booktalk club before. You gave some great tips and ideas on how to start one ourselves. I love the videos too. I will definitely keep this in mind as I begin a new school year.

    1. Great! Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out the post! Have a great start to the year!

  2. Love your post! I'm a reading specialist always looking for new ways to get students to enjoy reading. Thanks for sharing what you do with BookTalks, as well as providing wonderful links for more information. :)
    Literacy Loving Gals

  3. P.S. You're top on my "Blog Roll" list on! I'm new to the blogging community and love your, ideas and all! :)
    Literacy Loving Gals

    1. Yay thank you ! We are flattered! Love the title of your blog, by the way!