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Student Book Talks: An Effective Way to Advertise Books

There is great advertising power in book talks. When you invite students to choose an independent reading book to talk about each month, you improve students' listening capacity and introduce them to myriad books and magazines. A class of 25 students that presents book talks for ten months introduces one other to 250 books. Yes, it's a powerful way for students to motivate and engage one another as readers. Each month, reserve about 30 minutes of two or three consecutive class periods for books talks.
Books talks should take no more than two to three minutes and should focus on high-level thinking, not retelling. It's important for you to model how you plan, take notes for, and practice presenting books talks so you build students' mental model of the process. In my book Differentiating Reading Instruction, you'll find an entire section on book talks in the classroom. If you have the binder (Teaching Reading: A Differentiated Approach), you'll find guidelines for book talking in the section that discusses classroom libraries.
You shouldn't have students complete a project for each book; this discourages and punishes your best readers. However, book talking is short, beneficial to the entire class, and develops students' public speaking skills and self-confidence.
Laura Robb


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Lori Hill

HI Laura. I am going to try this with my ESL students. Thank you. This will be great for them. Confidence instilling is huge for them. They almost always feel non-confident in the vast amount of vocabulary and grammar English always seems to bring.

..Also, in a post this summer; I wrote about a movie clip I saw; where Bill Gates and otehrs are trying to improve the educational system; especially in New York ("Waiting for Superman") I just saw; that movie is the topic Monday on Oprah's show!
Maybe can all watch it and get some ideas and inspirations. Thanks again for all you've done for education. Lori

Laura Robb

Thanks for your lovely note, Lori. We all need to work together to support children.

Keep me posted on the books talks. They should be fun and non threatening. You might want this group to go through the entire process of preparing and practicing in class to insure with your nurturing hand always available. Then they will understand the process and succeed.

All best,

Laura Robb

Lori Hill

Hi Laura! Thanks for your response.

..Right now I am watching the reaction to the OPrah Monday show "Waiting for Superman."
..Wow. I hear so much of what you so long ago shed light on and did in your classroom; wrote about in your entries.
Oprah mentioned education superheroes on her show;Geoffrey Canada; and Ms. Rhee Chancellor of DC schools. -You should have been on there too, as a Superhero:)
Thanks again, Lori

Laura Robb

Dear Lori,

Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words. You have made my day! To me, its important to keep supporting teachers and children. Together well make that happen.

All best,


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