Starting a Booktalk Club: Success in Just 12 Weeks!

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1 Starting a Booktalk Club: Success in Just 12 Weeks! It s wonderful that you re interested in starting a booktalk club at your school! Before you even begin, you may want to familiarize yourself with some of the resources Scholastic has already made available to you: Visit the Scholastic Book Fairs site and check out some sample booktalks at Here you ll find lots of pre-written booktalks for inspiration. If you have a Book Fair approaching, consider ordering our very popular Booktalk Preview Pack from the online School Resource Catalog. Each pack features a selection of books which will be arriving on your Fair, as well as booktalks for those books and information about starting a booktalking culture in your school. There are five assortments available: K-3, K-6, 4-6, K-8 and middle school. Kids and teachers love these packs! Talk to your Book Fair consultant to see what additional resources may be available to support a booktalking culture in your school. Scholastic is enthusiastic about booktalking, and we know you will be too! Once you think you ve gotten the knack of booktalking, it s time to jump in with your own booktalking club! We think the element of choice is incredibly important students should be able to choose their own books and present booktalks in their own way. For this reason, we also hope you will be able to host your club before or after school, during lunch, or during free period; we believe that students who make the choice to join a booktalking club get the most out of the experience. Although booktalking is a great in-classroom activity, this is something a little different, and we think that s part of the fun! The outline provided in the following pages will have your club up and running in 12 meetings. We advise meeting once a week or less to allow students time for reading. But the fun won t stop after ten weeks! Once you ve tried this outline, we think your booktalking club will be running smoothly. From there, it s up to you: what do you and your students want to do with this club? The possibilities are endless! Page 1 of 14

2 Before the First Meeting Create Interest Get the word out during the morning announcements. Create posters or hand out flyers. Enlist the help of teachers and administrators to talk about the club. Ask a few students who know they want to join to be student ambassadors to help spread the word to others. Gather Books Find current titles that might interest students (from your library, purchased from Book Fairs or Reading Club, etc.) and display these prominently in a communal area, touting these as possible reads for your booktalk club. Try to have a wide variety of genres, including nonfiction, graphic novels, humor, poetry whatever you think will appeal! Pair Students With Books As students begin to sign up and hand in permission forms, help them select books to read before the first meeting. Spend one-on-one time with the student if possible, discussing his or her interests. Get insight from his or her teacher. The first book is the hardest! Page 2 of 14

3 Week 1 What is a Booktalk? Ensure that all students have chosen and completed (or are close to completing) their books. Have a brief discussion of some favorite titles and why they were chosen. There may be some students who are not close to completing their books. Counsel them privately after the meeting so they are aware of the pacing of the club and the commitment to read. Do the parameters meet their reading style and allow for their school workload? If they still wish to participate, by all means allow them. Show exemplary booktalks first one of your own in person, then several student videos, online booktalks, and finally, some written booktalks, distributed for them to take home. Also distribute Booktalking Tip Sheets (found in the Chairperson s Toolkit). Using chart poster paper, lead students in creating two documents: a working definition of a booktalk and a list of what makes booktalks great. Save these to hang during future meetings. Also discuss individuals in the school who give exemplary booktalks. How can we use those people as leaders? For the next meeting: Using the written booktalks as inspiration, along with the Booktalking Tip Sheet, ask students to come with written drafts of their own booktalks to share and discuss. Ask them to bring four copies. Chart paper, markers, written booktalks and Booktalking Tip Sheets, large lined sticky notes *Note: Our lesson plans are created for a 45-minute session. If you have more or less time, plan accordingly. Page 3 of 14

4 Week 2 Writing Booktalks At this point, all students should have completed their books. If any students have not, suggest pairing them with shorter books, such as reference titles, so they can keep up with the group. Review the definition of booktalk and What Makes Booktalks Great. Ask students to keep these in mind as they read their own. Have students work in pairs, switching off every 10 minutes, to peer-review booktalks and exchange ideas. Supervise the editing process by spot-checking groups and giving suggestions. While visiting a group, take a copy of the booktalk and provide your own edits, ensuring that you provide feedback to every student who would like it. Advisor and peer edits should be written on the copies of the booktalks, editors initialing in the bottom corner. Students should store all edits to their booktalks in a folder for reference. After three rotations (or more if time allows), gather the group to discuss general comments on how to improve booktalks. For the next meeting: Students should come prepared with newly edited versions of their booktalks, based on the edits from the advisor and their peers. Definition of booktalk and What Makes a Great Booktalk from previous meeting, folders for students to store edits, colorful pens for editing Page 4 of 14

5 Week 3 Practicing Booktalks Begin by delivering a booktalk yourself. Encourage students to volunteer to practice their booktalks. Create a relaxed atmosphere where they may feel free to start over or ask a question after all, this is a rehearsal! Do not force students who do not want to rehearse to participate. After each rehearsal, encourage students to begin offering feedback by providing at least two positive comments. Then, using I wonder statements ( I wonder if you could get listeners more excited to read the book by using a cliffhanger? ), guide the students to offer some suggestions. End each rehearsal by offering your own positive feedback. Once all students who wish to rehearse have had a chance, students who want to try again can do so if time allows, keeping the feedback in mind. For the next meeting: Students should rehearse their booktalks. Students must remember to bring their edited booktalks. Page 5 of 14

6 Week 4 Filming Permission is needed to film students, so follow your school or district guidelines and have appropriate forms completed and signed prior to filming. Capture video footage of each of your students. This will vary from advisor to advisor perhaps you d like to capture it all yourself and have the rest of the group serve as the audience while you film. Perhaps you d like students to work with smart phones or digital video cameras to record in pairs in different settings. At the end of the meeting, let students choose new books to begin the cycle again. Encourage them to think about what they ve learned about themselves as readers when they make these selections. Are they likely to finish a long book? Do they feel more comfortable presenting nonfiction? Offer guidance where needed. For the next meeting: Students should read about half of their books. Cameras or smart phones, new books, snacks (popcorn, movie candy, etc.) optional As the cycle continues, students have a little less time to read (two weeks instead of three) and are also asked to go into a bit more detail. Think of the first booktalk as getting their feet wet, and the rest as diving deep. Page 6 of 14

7 Week 5 Discussion Ask students to share their thoughts on the filming experience. How prepared did they feel? How could they improve or feel more prepared in the future? Lead a discussion on how to share these booktalks. Should you upload them to a safe place (such as schooltube.com) and share them on the school s website or Facebook? Should you play them as a DVD for Back to School Night? Can you play them on the morning announcements? Write down ideas. What can you do with booktalks in general not just videos? Could students from the club perform booktalks at the Book Fair? Print written booktalks to be displayed in hallways or in the library. Share booktalks with younger grades. Capture these ideas. Students should complete their books and bring rough drafts of their booktalks. Butcher paper, markers Page 7 of 14

8 Week 6 Writing Begin by reviewing the list of what makes a great booktalk. Now that we ve performed them, are there any changes we d like to make? Once again, students should bring four copies of their written booktalks. Students will edit in pairs for 10-minute rotations while you observe and provide your own edits. Students should feel more comfortable giving stronger edits. Students should come prepared to practice their edited booktalks for the class. What Makes a Great Booktalk? handout and folders for student booktalks Page 8 of 14

9 Week 7 Rehearsal Students volunteer to rehearse their booktalks. This time, every student should be strongly encouraged to rehearse, as it is now part of the writing process. Ask students to provide feedback. Once again, they must provide strengths before giving ideas, and should be encouraged to use the I wonder format. But they may now focus more on improving the booktalks as part of the creative process. The advisor should also share both positives and negatives. Students should bring four copies of a revised version of their booktalks. These edits should be made based on their experience rehearsing the booktalks: what feedback did they get? What felt a little off? Edited booktalks Page 9 of 14

10 Week 8 Editing and Performing Deep Dive Begin by revisiting the group s ideas to create a booktalking culture in the school. What progress has been made? What still needs to be done? Students should bring the second edits of their second booktalk. These should be based on the feedback they received last week, and should be close to a final draft. Once again, students will be divided into pairs for 10-minute rotations. However, this time students should perform their booktalks for their partners, while partners simultaneously read a written copy. Partners then offer feedback on both the performance and the writing (i.e. Pause after you say the year and mention her little brother s fear of snakes ). Visit groups and offer feedback as well. Afterward, as a group, discuss memorization strategies. How can we get these booktalks fully memorized while still sounding natural? Students should come with booktalks close to being memorized. List of ideas to create a school-wide booktalking culture, second drafts of edits, and folders Page 10 of 14

11 Week 9 Memorization and Rehearsal Begin by performing a booktalk yourself to encourage your students. Spend 10 minutes working on memorization in small groups or pairs. Students should practice their booktalks without looking at their papers, while their partners or group-mates prompt them. Students then volunteer to rehearse their booktalks in front of the class for the final time. Only encouragement (no I wonder statements) should be provided, as these are the final versions. As a group, discuss your plans for next week. Practice, practice, practice! Final drafts of second booktalks Page 11 of 14

12 Week 10 Booktalk Performance Day This will vary from school to school. You might want to invite parents for an exhibition or booktalk at the Book Fair. Perhaps you could perform live for younger students. Whatever you do, it should feel like a big production to give your students a goal to work toward. Be sure to capture video footage of these booktalks. Students should read about half of their new books. Butcher paper and marker for notes, new books Page 12 of 14

13 Week 11 Review Plans to Move Forward Congratulate students on a job well done last week! Spend the majority of the meeting discussing three key points: What has worked so far for the club? What should we change in the future (pacing, meeting length, etc.)? What are your plans to continue promoting booktalking school-wide/recruit new members? Choose new books. Ask students to reflect on what they ve learned about their own reading preferences, while also telling the group something about the thought behind the next book they ve chosen. Students may want to read books others have already booktalked, and that should not be discouraged! This makes the booktalks feel more real someone may just fall in love with a book based on your suggestion. This is part of the fun! Students should read about half of their new books. Butcher paper and marker for notes, new books Page 13 of 14

14 Week 12 Celebrate Your students have worked hard and now they re ready to enjoy themselves! Celebrate their successes with a premiere a screening of their first and second booktalks. Discuss: How did they improve over time? How can they continue improving? Close by making note of the changes you ve agreed upon as a club and offering your support to any of the endeavors they ve begun to create a booktalking culture in school. Students finish books. Movie theater snacks, videos of booktalks, new books Permission to reproduce this item is granted by Scholastic Book Fairs Page 14 of Scholastic Inc

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