Let’s get real here. Reading workshop is the greatest thing for getting students hooked on reading, but there are a lot of moving parts that can get hard to juggle, right? There are mini-lessons to give, and conferences to have, and close reading to be modelled. And, on top of all that we’re supposed to read lots of books so we can give great book talks.
It can be exhausting.
Here’s a little secret: you can’t do it all every day (and you definitely don’t have to read all the books). One way to manage is to get some help with book talks. and I’ve got some book talk hacks to help you (and a free resource!).
Book Talk Hacks Save You Time
And we all know that is a very good thing. Book talks are short, yes, but they are one more thing we need to squeeze into class. If you had another way to tell students about books, then you could use those precious minutes to do something else: attendance, review your mini-lesson, find the handouts you photocopied the day before and misplaced (do others do that too?)
You could also just sit back and breathe for a moment or two. We don’t have to be whirling dervishes all the time, and a little breathing room is good for the teacher soul.
So let’s get to it. How can we get help with our book talks?
Lean on Technology for Book Talks
The Internet is a beautiful place for teachers looking for some help with book talks. Just a few searches on Youtube will show you that there are many authors featured in videos, doing short promos or even readings from their books. Most of them are quite short and provide you with the perfect little snippet that you can use to do the book talk.
You can also find reviews that others have done. These may take more time to go through, though, as they can get long and rambly. However, they are there if you want to use them. There are also readings and reviews on sites like Soundcloud, like this one on The Insignificant Life of a Cactus.
👉🏻 If you want more instructions and slides you can use to set up a book talk, I’ve got some freebies for you! Just click below:
Let Your Students Take Over
Once your students are comfortable in your classroom, and you’ve modelled what a book talk looks like, you can toss the responsibility over to them. Student book talks can often be more powerful than your own, after all, since they are coming from a peer and not the teacher.
Students can do live book talks, or record video ones if they are more comfortable with that. They can even just do the background work for you and you can do the talking about the book.
So there you go. I’ve shown you several book talk hacks that you can use with your secondary students – and hopefully save yourself some time. I’ve got instructions and templates for both you and your students, so be sure to grab them below. And if you have any great book talk hacks, please leave them in the comments!