Learning Center


Tempt Readers with Booktalks

March 18, 2019

Teachers are always looking for ways to motivate students to want to read more. Booktalks might be a powerful strategy to add to your toolbox.

A Booktalk shouldn’t be confused with a book review or a book report.

  • A book review critiques the strengths and weaknesses or the reader’s likes and dislikes of a text.
  • A book report demonstrates comprehension of a text’s ideas.
  • A Booktalk is intended to convince others to read a text.

With a “sell, don’t tell” approach, Booktalks can be compared to a commercial or advertisement for a text where the goal is to hook the listeners and persuade students to read that book.

A Booktalk done well will feel like a performance. It takes a little drama to excite and entice some students to pick up a book. So consider bringing in visuals, props, or minor costuming to reenact a key scene or to read aloud a pivotal excerpt. While there’s no one perfect way to add energy, use every trick you can think of to make the Booktalk fun, exciting, and/or suspenseful.

Although you don’t want to “give away” any big ahas or conclusions, you do want to reveal the book’s cover, author, and title. You also want to end every Booktalk with an invitation for students to add the title to their SOMEDAY-READ list.

View examples of teachers delivering video-based Booktalks and posted on YouTube:

30-Second Booktalk: Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer
30-Second Booktalk: The Door by the Staircase
Booktalk: The War I Finally Won
Dr. Lamkin's Summer Booktalks for 3rd-5th Graders

Acquire more ideas as you listen to audio-only recordings and read through optional scripts.

Booktalks: Audio Examples with Nancy Keane

Listen to audio examples of K-12 Booktalks by Nance Keane.

Scholastic Booktalks

Scroll down and click on various book covers to read dozens of Booktalk scripts.

Mrs. Readerpants

Scroll down to read dozens of Booktalk scripts that cover the range of early chapter books (e.g., 30 pages) to advanced novels (e.g., 300+ pages).

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