Book Talks on the Menu

Are you looking for a way to get your students to read more? Book Talks are a great tool to use to build enthusiasm for reading. This post includes ideas you might enjoy trying.

Pause for a moment to consider what you do to get your students reading?  Maybe you help them find books that match their interests, or 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.
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. 
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 just daily routines. It really encouraged the group and made a huge difference for them (and they loved the lunchtime attention).
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, and let them keep a stash of books on hand at all times. 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, but have them keep a list of book recommendations too. (ones their friends have enjoyed) When students get to recommend to each other, it also gives them something to talk about.  

If you're interested in seeing a few other ideas, you might check out these products to get started.
Book Talks - Presenting and Writing Book Talks   Book Talks
If you'd like a set of directions, rubric, and form for peer reviews, [this freebie] offers all three.

I hope you'll get this plan into practice and spark reading motivation this year.

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