The Joy of Reading
Supporting children to become interested in books and to develop into lifelong readers can be a daunting challenge; this is especially true for students who have learning differences. After all, when the process of decoding, comprehending, and synthesizing information becomes arduous and overwhelming, the joy of a story is quickly lost along the way. Because that joy is ultimately what keeps lifelong readers continually coming back for more, it is critical to cultivate it in as many ways possible. Presenting book talks to students is a fantastic way to help accomplish this.
All children, regardless of whether they struggle with reading, have an innate love of stories. They tell stories or hear stories or watch stories every day of their lives. It’s part of being human. However, when the reading process is filled with obstacles every step of the way, students start to see only pages and pages of work rather than a story that is worth the time and effort. This is why sending struggling readers off to pick a book from a shelf is usually not particularly productive or successful. They need to be introduced to stories in a way that is both intriguing and accessible.
This is where book talks come in. Ideally, a book talk will begin with an enticing hook and then end on a cliffhanger. The goal is to leave the students wanting more, so that they will be interested enough in the story to read the book themselves. For Lower School library classes this year, book talks have helped to create hype around particular stories and have motivated students to check out genres they might not otherwise be interested in. And, most exciting of all, frequent modeling of how to book talk has inspired students to share their favorite stories with their peers through verbal recommendations, written reviews, and book talks of their own. After all, once students have discovered the joy of stories, they are eager to share it with others.
Book talks can be done in many different ways, and below are some resources and tips to start book talking. However, there is no wrong way to present a book talk: just have fun with it! The more enthusiastic the presenter is, the more excited and curious students become about the books and all the amazing stories that they will find within.
Resources for book talks in your classroom: