Getting our students or children to read is often challenging in this multi-media world. Yet, I’ve found, that even my reluctant readers are interested in a good story. The thing is- they’re lazy. Not all of them, but many of them, and the idea of having to sift through books to find one that interests them doesn’t sound like fun. Or, they don’t find what they want in the first 3-5 books and they give up. Many of us have AWESOME classroom or school libraries. We’ve taken time to collect books, buy books, and organize our books only to have our shelves sit there unused. This is a waste! Books are not for decoration, they are to be read!
If you’re like me you have a hard time passing up a good deal on a book or a new book so your library is ever growing. What I like to do when I get new books that I am adding to my shelves is do a brief Book Talk about them. I often use this as filler right at the end of class. I show the students the book and give a brief (no spoilers) synopsis. I tell them, much like I do on this blog, who I think will be most interested by the book. I relate it to other books or movies I think they may have read/seen and enjoyed. I let kids thumb through it. I answer questions. I am EXTREMELY excited and animated when I discuss the books. I GUSH about how much I loved it and why. And almost always the books are immediately checked out.
I also do something similar when a student asks me for a recommendation or when the class finishes a book that they overall enjoyed. I suggest several other options for their next read. I find out what they like and are interested in and make suggestions off of that. I don’t worry about reading level too much because I’ve found that if they really are interested they will find a way. I also suggest audio books for some of my lower level readers.
Your excitement can and will rub off on your students. Use it to your advantage. Get our children reading so they can become lifelong learners.
What about you? Do you do book talks? How do you let students know about new books on your shelves? Or ones that just aren’t getting the attention they deserve? What works for you and your students/children? Let me know in the comments.