Longtime readers of BubbleUp Classroom may recall that my secret librarian admission is that I'm not a huge fan of book talking. In a quick conversation with a student, I may offer short book talks, describing a few titles at the shelf. However, book talking five books to a class of 30 students, leaves 25 of those students without one of those compelling reads. So, I'm constantly looking for other ways to share books with kids -- ways that get as many books as possible into their hands, giving them lots of choices. This posts offers a few strategies to work into your routine as you aim to connect readers with great books.
This is a quick, low-prep activity. First, pull together a cart of books and put a sticky note on each one. Then, arrange the chairs in a circle, enough for an entire class. On each chair, place a book and a pencil. Students start at one chair, with about 30 to 45 seconds to look at the book on the chair. If a student likes a book, she writes her name on the sticky note and puts it under the chair. Then, start music (popular songs middle school students will like) and have the kids move around the outside of the ring of chairs. While they're circling, add new books to any empty chairs. When the music stops, students settle in a different chair and look at another book. After 5 or 6 rounds, most kids have found at least one title they'd be interested in reading and many have discovered more than one. Students grab their books of interest from under the chairs and cozy up in the library to explore them further.
Ahead of time, gather a selection of books. Type out the first sentence of each book on a slip of paper. Put 8 to 10 books with first line slips at each table. When students arrive in the library, ask them to sit at tables in groups of 4 or 5. Challenge them to match the first line with the book -- they can look at the cover and the back of the book, but they cannot open the book to peek! After about 5 minutes, they can check their work by opening the books! Rotate through 3 or 4 tables.
Another easy-to-implement way to get the kids involved, is to have them share books with each other. First, model several easy #SixWordBookReview examples -- books that kids will have read and recognize. Then, task students with finding a book they have read on the shelves in the library. Upon finding their book, they write a #SixWordBookReview on a bookmark -- six words and only six words. Build in time for sharing out before displaying the books (with accompanying reviews) on a central table for all to see and check out.
Sticky Note Keywords
This idea comes by way of my librarian friend and colleague, Leslie. It requires a bit of work in advance, but it's not overwhelming. Before classes arrive, pull some interesting titles. Add a sticky note to the cover with THREE words describing the book -- just three adjectives. Then, set the books out for students to peruse. I like to use a variety of sticky note colors to make the set-up more visually appealing. And, the best part about this strategy is that it's perfect on a day when there isn't time for a lesson. A class that might be popping in for ten minutes (just for checkout) can engage with a table of books and, thanks to these sticky note keywords, quickly find something great to read.
How do you connect kids with books?
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