The book trailer, Caps For Sale, was sent to a school librarian who decided to invite local celebrities to make book trailers for books they love. She put up a website that included an example of a booktalk, tips for creating one, and a sample list of books. I love that you can link to the website from the article. Then she sent out invitations—and she made the news! Why not try it for your class? You don’t need actual celebrities—booktalkers could even be parents.
Nancy Keane, author of a popular book on booktalks, suggests trying to end a booktalk on a cliffhanger. The “Booktalking Tips” page on her website contains dozens of great tips like this from librarians around the country. The website has over 1,000 booktalk scripts for grades K-12. The really nice thing is that the books are indexed by author, title, interest level, and subject.
Bring your upper elementary students In on the game of creating book trailers. This 6-session unit is complete with a rubric, a template, a checklist, and questions for student reflection. Watching the recommended book trailers for Inside Out and Back Again and Turtle in Paradise would be a great way to introduce your students to the “feel” of booktalks, and how they differ from the usual book reports. You can also find lots of student-created booktalks on YouTube.
This site is specifically about booktalking your classroom library. The really, really great point made here is to be sure to do booktalks on some of the below-grade-level books in your classroom. This validates these books for your struggling readers: “Students who find reading challenging can thereby read these books books without being stigmatized.” And, who knows, your more advanced readers may choose to read these books as well, adding even further validation.
This is adorable. It made me think about how emergent readers will peruse their favorite books again and again, and often even learn to “pretend read” a few of them. Caps for Sale is an easy-to-read book with patterns, repetition, and lots of color. How great would it be to have little teasers like this one available for some of the favorite books in your classroom! You could even send book trailers to parent volunteers’ phones for them to share with children during reading time.
What are the basic parts of a booktalk? Here is a simple one-page overview of how to put together a booktalk that will engage your students’ interest. Booktalks are best when they are informal and enthusiastic. You could keep the contents of this resource on a note card in a handy spot near your classroom library for spur-of-the-moment booktalks. I love the final bit of advice in this overview: “…your booktalk should flow nicely, like a commercial.”
Not sure how to start? Scholastic has hundreds of print and video booktalks on their titles at this site. Here too, though, most don’t include actual quotations from the books, or the booktalker’s personal reasons for loving the book, so you may want to consider starting with scripts like these and adding your own flair. There are lots of other booktalk and book trailer collections out there as well. Or, just google the term “booktalk” or “book trailer” with the title of any book.
Booktalks can be short or long, in person or on video like this one (video versions are called book trailers). Sometimes the booktalker reads one or two high-interest snippets from the book, and sometimes they tell what is that they, personally, like about the book. The main thing is to grab the listeners’ interest—to hook them on the book. It would be fun to follow up very short book trailers like this one with a few quotes from the book and your own personal thoughts about the book.