Last week I was reminded of the importance of book talks. I was visiting a classroom of middle school students who struggle with reading. These students have learned to dislike reading through countless hours spent “reading” books that are well above their reading level with content they don’t care about, and completing worksheet packets. When a new teacher came into the class that day and had pulled 4 new novels that would engage the students, she spent a few minutes sharing information about each of the books. As she enticed the students by telling them about the intriguing story lines, twisting plots, and well-rounded characters that could be found within these books, I watched the students slowly look up and lean forward. Their response to a simple book talk was amazing! These students, who usually only read when instructed to do so, were listening and thinking about the books the teacher was sharing. After each talk, the class chorused, “Can I read that one, Miss?” I have always used book talks, but never seen them have such a significant impact on a class in such a short period of time and conversation. I left with a renewed excitement about the possibilities of using book talks!
I also began thinking that, while booktalks are fabulous tools, book trailers are even better. A book trailer, very simply, adds technology and an element of creation to a book talk. Book trailers can be found on YouTube and can be shared with students, or can be created by students to entice their peers. My favorite “go to” place for book trailers is Naomi Bates website, http://www.scoop.it/t/book-trailers-for-21st-century-readers. Remember, not all book trailers are created equal, so definitely check them out prior to showing them in class.
Some great basic sites for students to use for book trailer creation are: iMovie, YouTube, and Animoto.
Have you used book talks or book trailers with your class? Have you seen, first-hand, the impact a book talk or trailer can have on a student’s interest in a book?
Do your students create their own book trailers? What do they use?
Let me know!