Keeping track of what books I talked about to which classes all throughout the semester or year can be a big task. How many times has a student come back to ask, “what was that book you told me about with the green cover”? This school year I created a checklist to help with organizing and time when planning for book talk carts and lessons.
To give myself a head start into the school year jump off, I created a book talk checklist outline over the summer. Starting with teacher name and hour, then moving to listed books below. I wanted the checklist to be simple and fast to complete for each class. I created it to be used on paper for me, but this could easily be done in a digital format as well.
When I thought about the most common books I talk about each school year, I picked to start with the Lincoln Award books from our state book award. State book award lists at any grade/age level provide a base of great books in both fiction and nonfiction for a diverse population of readers. Book talking these titles will also increase your student participation in your state book award reading challenges, and will give them a voice in what titles they enjoyed best.
Once I created the outline for my checklist, I printed my first weeks worth to put into practice. I keep my blank copies in a folder that is easily accessible in my desk for when I’m lesson planning. While prepping for my first round of freshman orientations and book talks, I found the checklist super fast and easy. Just a quick mark with a pen over the boxes of each title for each class was a huge time saver. Each page will be kept for the year and added onto as our book talks progress. Here is an example of a completed checklist.
As I meet with teachers and class periods throughout the year I will have all the books I talked documented and ready to add onto at any time. My plan is to organize them in alphabetical order to help with ease when pulling them for future book talks down the road.
Having a structure to start with when choosing books to book talk has been a wonderful time saver. Not only in the planning process, but in the ease of remembering what titles I have talked about with which groups of students. I feel organized and prepared as I do what I love, talk about books with kids.
Author: Elizabeth Libberton
Elizabeth Libberton is the library media specialist at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles Illinois. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal. She is a member of the ALA Awards Selection Committee. Also, she is a member of the steering committee for the AISLE Lincoln Book Award.