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 have spent time writing their booktalks and will spend class time to present them. The goal behind booktalks is not necessarily to improve their public speaking skills. Although that is crucial, the goal behind booktalks is for students to share their love of a book so their peers will want to read the book as well. This will in turn help students build a stronger reading habit, which is a primary goal of mine for my students. As much as I recommend books to students, they always listen to each other more. When there is this back and forth going on between students it helps create a stronger community of readers.
Students previously signed up for the day they would like to present using a blank calendar. Each student put their name on a day so we would only have one student present each day. This helps to spread it out so students are more engaged throughout the process instead of listening to many presentations in one class period which would lose the interest of many students.
Before students present, I remind the class of behavior expectations. I also tell students that they are listening for books that they would want to read. Since each class is diverse in it's own way, the goal is that there will be many different books presented for many different readers and interests. The students do not present all in one day. This is another example of how to indirectly have students work on their listening skills. They are focusing on their peers presenting as a way to think about what books they might be interested in reading. Another strategy is to have students make sure they write at least 2 or 3 books down in their notebooks that they would like to read someday.
Students come up to the class to present their book talks. Some students will read directly from their printed work and others will use a cue card with important information. Occasionally students will use multimedia (video clips, pictures, book trailers, etc.) to increase the engagement of the class.
Here are three examples of student presentations:
Here are copies of their booktalks:
As students are presenting, I follow along using the Booktalk Rubric. I quickly grade the major aspects throughout each students presentation. This helps cut down on grading time out side of class. This rubric was made the way it was on purpose. I can pretty much fill out most of the rubric during the presentation. The only part that may need some review is the writing. Since the writing is around a page, that will not take that long to grade once the presentations are done. Grading for language arts teachers can always take a while so keeping it manageable is key.