Books talks are a great way to reinvigorate reading in your classroom. Students enjoy talking about the current books they’re reading without a lot of additional folderol (ha! I didn’t know that was a real word!).
I have my students present book talks once a month. It’s a great way to start class, get students comfortable with public speaking, and get my students new titles to try.
Here are some ways to get your students talking about what they’re reading!
Tips for getting started:
Model it! Show students exactly what you’d like their talks to look like by giving your own book talk. Be sure to pick a book that your students would be interested in. A dystopia title is sure to capture their interest!
Model it again! When you model book talks — even every month — you provide students with a great example of what they can and should do to “sell” their book.
Model the “wrong way” Sometimes it’s fun to model it wrong! Provide your students with the rubric you’ll be using to grade their book talks and model everything wrong. Students usually love this and enjoy grading the teacher for a change! Plus it provides students with an opportunity to discuss finer points of delivering a talk like eye contact, voice volume, and energy level.
Choose monthly themes. Students can get stuck in a genre rut. You can challenge them to read a variety of genres by using a theme for the month. Students can read historical fiction, nonfiction, a classic, or a book in a series. You can also challenge students to give a book talk that focuses on a memorable character or unusual setting.
Provide clear guidelines. Create a simple rubric that you can use for grading and that your students can use to practice their talks. I provide extra points for students who practice in front of a parent.
Time management. It can be deadly (boring!!) to have an entire class period of book talks. Instead, allow students to sign up for a book talk and have just a few a day. It’s a good way to start the class.
Visuals. Students can create posters, sales ads, PowerPoints, or Prezis to accompany their talks.
Ramp it up. Students will get bored if each month is the same. They’ll get stuck in a book talk rut! Add variety by including monthly challenges or increased requirements. For example, you may want to start out by allowing students to use note cards, but later require they memorize their talks. Other ideas for “ramping it up” include: monthly genre, require a prop, wear a costume, act out a scene, create a book trailer, make a commercial, or create a readers’ theater scene.
Create a sharing/graffiti wall. Post a big piece of butcher paper in your classroom and entitle it “Read it!” Students can share titles on the wall.
Involved the audience. Encourage your class to actively listen while their peers give talks. They can use a simple feedback sheet, which will help them pay attention.
You can download these free feedback “tear off” sheets — just click on the button below! ⤵
Ditch the Book Report!
I find that book talks are more fun for students (and me) than traditional book reports. They give students the chance to practice their speaking skills, and older students enjoy using Prezi to create visual notes for their talks. I can grade the talks immediately, so students get quick feedback.
Ready to give book talks a try? You can find forms, rubrics, and guidelines in this resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Happiness (and reading) always,