As a teacher, you know that one of the most important things you can do is foster a love of reading in your students. However, this can be difficult when you have students who claim they don’t like reading. Teacher book talks are one way to help engage reluctant readers and get them excited about books.
What is a Teacher Book Talk?
A teacher book talk is simply a short presentation about a book that is given by the teacher. The purpose of a book talk is to generate interest in the book and encourage students to read it. When giving a book talk, be sure to focus on why you enjoyed the book and why you think your students will enjoy it too. It is also important to mention some key plot points so that students have an idea of what the book is about without giving away too much information.
Why Use Teacher Book Talks?
There are several reasons why teacher book talks can be beneficial in the classroom. First, they help to engage reluctant readers. If you can get students interested in a book, they are more likely to be willing to give it a try. Book talks expose students to new books that they may not have heard of or seen before. This can help broaden their horizons and get them excited about reading something outside of their comfort zone. This is also beneficial for your high readers because they tend to stick to books and genres they love and rarely branch out unless given a little push.
How to Give a Teacher Book Talk:
Some things to keep in mind when giving a book talk. First, make sure you choose a book that is appropriate for your students’ age and interests. You don’t want to lose them by talking about a book that is too difficult or too boring. Not all students will enjoy the same book so be sure to vary the style and genre of the books you choose to share.
When it comes time to actually give your book talk, be sure to keep it short and sweet. Students have short attention spans, so try to limit your book talk to 5 minutes or less. If your book talk is longer you run the risk of giving away too much information. The goal is to give students a brief overview of the plot, just enough information that they want to find out what happens. You don’t want to give away too much of the plot or bore students with too many details.
Be sure to have at least one copy of the book with you as you are sharing. It is sometimes helpful to post a picture of the book on your screen and pass around the physical copy of the book – there’s something to be said for having the book in your hands that makes you want to read the story.
And finally, be enthusiastic! If you’re not excited about the book, your students won’t be either. So get passionate and let your students know why this book is worth their time.
Here’s an example of how you might structure a book talk for the novel “The Hunger Games.”
The Hunger Games is written by Suzanne Collins and it’s the first novel in a trilogy. The story is set in post-apocalyptic America in a place called Panem. The country is divided into 12 districts and each year two tributes from each district are chosen to compete in The Hunger Games, which is basically a battle royale where the last person standing wins. The story follows Katniss Everdeen, who is chosen as a tribute from her district and has to fight for her life.
Tips for Effective Book Talks
If you are not used to sharing about books it can be a struggle at first. Here are a few tips to help you as you plan your first book talks for students:
- Make sure that you are familiar with the book before you begin. This will help you feel more confident when discussing the book with your class. This does not mean you have to read every book you book talk, but be sure you’ve read enough (or researched enough) so you can clearly and accurately talk about the book.
- Start by telling your class why you decided to read the book. If This will help them understand your perspective and will also give them some background information on the material.
- Make connections for your student when possible. If this book is part of a series, point that out. If this book is similar to a book you know students like, let them know.
- Be sure to give a brief overview of the plot. Try not to give too much away, but do provide enough information so that your students can get a general idea of what the story is about.
- Read a short passage from the book so students can see the writing style and tone of the author. Keep it short – remember you don’t want to give away too much information.
- Finally, be sure to end with a question or two that will engage your students in a discussion about the book. This is an important step in getting reluctant readers involved in the material. Keep it as open-ended as possible, you want students to read the book to discover the answers/perspective from the reading
If you’re looking for a way to engage your reluctant readers and get them excited about books, start with teacher book talks! By choosing an interesting book and giving an effective book talk that will pique your students’ interest you’ll get them excited and eager to start reading.
Read about student Book Talks here.