Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
Students listen to each other more than myself when trying to figure out a book. Since students are more engaged when their peers offer recommendations, it is great to find a way to allow students to booktalk in class. This lesson is devoted to students learning the fundamentals of a booktalk so they can work on creating their own. This helps students to gain ideas for books they would like to read, which will hopefully help improve the volume of what they read. Listening to each other to find book recommendations is another way to build a community of readers. The teacher should not be seen as the only one who talks about books. When they can talk with their peers about books, they are much more inclined to read.
To start class I pull up the How To Booktalk Powerpoint. Students begin writing based off the first slide, which asks students to write about what makes them excited about a book. By this time in the year, they are hopefully aware of what they are enjoy when it comes to reading so they have ideas to pull from. They spend a few minutes jotting down ideas as a way to think about how they can bring this enthusiasm to others.
The rest of class is then devoted to going through each slide of the powerpoint. This breaks down the basics of what a booktalk is and how to write one. It also reminds students that the focus of a booktalk is to get others to read and not just to share one's love of the book. I use language that focuses on selling the book and appealing to an audience rather than just presenting. Students also have an understanding of the process of drafting one, which will be completed in the next lesson. Throughout the lesson I remind students of some of the booktalks I have completed so far. Here is a picture of the Booktalk List that hangs in my classroom.
This video of Writing A Booktalk Powerpoint Explanation discusses the powerpoint that is used.
Most of the class is devoted to direct instruction. They have seen me doing booktalks since the beginning of the year but may not know the specifics of what go in a booktalk, so I have no problem devoting the entire lesson to doing that so when students work on creating their own, they know what to do.