What are Book Talks?

During book talks, students discuss with classmates books they have read, heard or "discovered." The shared selections may be ones read to them by a librarian, babysitter, parent, Elder, relative or older student, or they may be books students have read themselves. Book talks can be scheduled during daily shared language sessions.

What is its purpose?

  • to focus students' attention on enjoyable and informative print
  • to provide opportunities for students to share responses to a book, and to exchange ideas with peers
  • to entice students to read peer-recommended selections
  • to develop personal interpretations and responses to literature by reflecting upon, discussing and evaluating selections

How can I do it?

  • The teacher demonstrates book talks before asking students to participate.
  • Students prepare in advance to talk about books of their choosing.
  • Students talk about the book or briefly summarize it, read an interesting or exciting part, show illustrations, dress like one of the book's characters, talk and/or act like one character, or answer questions about the book.
  • Listeners are encouraged to ask questions.
  • Short sessions should be scheduled daily, with only a few participants sharing.
  • Initial participation should be voluntary.

How can I adapt it?

  • Students can participate in class or school book fairs.
  • Older students can read to and talk about books with younger students.
  • Teacher-student conferencing about books can occur.
  • Teachers and teacher-librarians could use this activity to introduce selections for literature study or to introduce recently acquired resources.
  • Teachers and students could collaboratively critique books for bias in print and in illustrations.

Assessment & Evaluation Considerations

  • Monitor students' interest in books.
  • Note students who do not participate -- they may not be familiar with books or may not have sufficient access to books and resources.
  • Conference students about their participation if they are reluctant to share comments and questions with the class.

Teacher Resources


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