Sunday, June 10, 2012

Talking About Book Talks and a Freebie

 We all know that kids love to talk! Using Book Talks as part of a literacy block is an extremely effective way to motivate students to read, to capitalize on their need to socialize and interact with their peers, and to share with others all the good things they are reading.  I know that many of us already use this as an after reading activity or assessment tool. Teacher book talks not only model the process, but expose students to new books, excite them about new books in the classroom library, and help to foster a community of readers, thinkers, and learners.  I love giving book talks when I find or read new book, but what I love even more is hearing and watching my students give a Book Talk.
Research shows that oral language is a huge component in how the brain functions:  how we learn, manipulate information, remember, retrieve information, and advance our thinking.  Talking about our learning helps the learner, but also those that we talk to.  Conversing about learning helps students to become critical and reflective thinkers and aids in comprehension

Over the years, I have used Book Talks in a variety of ways:
  • As part of Reader's Workshop
  • As part of Literature Circles
  • As part of read to self/ DEAR time
  • One minute- "Lightning Fast" Teaser Talks
  • Individual and group talks
  • Using a decorated "reader's chair"
  • Using skits, Reader's Theater,student-made videos.
  • With kindergartners!
Sometimes the Book Talks were informal and spontaneous, just like a conversation among friends.  Other times, it was more formal:  structured, scheduled, and included set criteria.  Two years ago, I taught a group of fourth graders reading and language arts.  We progressed throughout the year to more formal Book Talks.  A calendar hung on the back bulletin board where they would schedule their talk when they were ready.  They were required to complete one a marking period, but many students opted to do more.  By the end of the year their 5-7 minute talks had morphed into presentations using Glogs, a Prezi, PowerPoint, and videos made with a Flip Camera.  Amazingly, this was all student generated.  One group of boys became very excited after I showed them a Glog, and instantly asked if they could create one for their Book Talk.  I am all about student-centered learning and having them take the lead as much as possible, as I facilitate their learning.

In any case, this is a very long-winded way for me to "preface" a book talk rubric that I have used with grades 4 and 5.  However, I think it can also be used with third graders and tweaked for lower grades.

You can check out one I made and used with success on Google Docs.

How have you used Book Talks in your classroom? 

Have a sensational Sunday!

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