The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 1 - Page 51


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Creating a Community of Readers with Book Talks

by Jason Campbell

Jason Campbell

Jason Campbell

also make use of other resources. Scheduling time for students to check out books from the school library and encouraging students to use the public library are also great

ways to increase access to books. But even with access to great books, most students need a little nudge in the right direction. Spending a few minutes at the beginning of class sharing book talks is a great way to encourage students to check out books from libraries for independent reading. Once I’ve modeled several book talks, I begin to get the students involved. In the beginning, I try to keep it very informal. I simply ask for a few volunteers to share

a little about a good book that they are reading. My students usually seem more likely to share when they do not think of it as a formal presentation. They often are given time to share with partners and small groups to avoid the pressure of a whole class presentation, but by the end of the year, most are ready and willing to present to the entire class.

Book talks can change the culture of a classroom. During the last few years, students have formed student-led book clubs to discuss books at lunch with their friends. They have flocked to join our school’s Mock Newbery club. They have brought in books from home to loan to their classmates and marked release dates for new books on their calendars. In short, they became a community of readers. And guess what? After doing all of that reading, they became much better readers too!


National Council of Teachers of English (2017). Statement on Classroom Libraries. Retrieved from

Jason Campbell is a fifth grade literacy teacher at Ruth Doyle Middle School in Conway, Arkansas. He has been teaching for 15 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Reading from the University of Central Arkansas.

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