Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 5 - Booktalking

                                                            Day 5 of the 20 day Blog Challenge

Book talking  - how do I book talk to students? 
How often, and do use have any resources for this?

I am book talking all the time at every opportunity - I book talk when I select books for the collection, I book talk when I deselect books for the collection, I book talk when I set things up for display and when students come to me to ask for recommendations. I book talk when classes visit to change books, I book talk to teachers about latest releases, I book talk to literature circle groups.  I book talk when I add to the pinterest,  the Facebook page and add something to the Goodreads page. Book talking is about selling and promoting literature - fiction and non fiction. It may not necessarily be about standing in front of a class sprouting on about a particular title, just selecting a book for a collection is saying "I think this is a great book and we are going to give you free access to it so you can enjoy it".

My attitude toward book talking is that I am trying to sell time and and taking chances. Students are discerning when taking risks with their time in reading a book. It is fascinating to me how serious they take the decision in choosing a book. It is like it is a major life decision that cannot be taken lightly. Is it because of the time they need to invest, the risk they may not enjoy the story and feel like they need to finish it even if they are not enjoying it?  Every time I book talk or suggest a title, my reputation is on the line. I am continual reminded of the saying "Every book you read becomes a part of you". I continually mention, if you do not like a book, you do not need to finish it, but you must give it a go to about 1/3 of the way through.

At every opportunity I need to be ready for THAT question 'Miss, can you recommend a good book to read?" Sure - I have a whole library of them - but lets find out a bit more about you and what you like ... what was the last book you read and liked? What genre do you enjoy the most? Do you think you might like .... legal crime? Epic fantasy where whole new worlds and creatures are created for new adventures? How much are you comfortable reading? What font size do you prefer? Do you have a mobile device - would you like to look at the ebook collection
? I also always use ordinary words like sex, swearing, death, blood and guts, zombies and mutants, to give the core of the story rather than literary speak. 

When I place a couple of books into a students hands I give them a brief outline of the book (see the image above), I suggest they read the first 5 pages of each of the books, then make a decision on which one they would like to give a chance to. It really has to be their decision in the end.

I think the best way of book talking is to have students book talking their own reading. I have set this up in year 6 and it is working really well. The students are very happy to tell each other about the books they have read. They do need to be reminded that we just need an outline - not the full details and if they follow the book talking formula above, they usually do a pretty good job with the other students really, really wanting to to read the books that have been book talked.

It is also interesting with my Pix for year Six box that if I am there and able to briefly talk about each of the books, the books are more likely to be borrowed - it adds a personal touch to the experience.

I am always book talking. I received a fabulous compliment the other day from an English teacher who had told me he had recommended that other English teachers come to see me because "she knows more about contemporary young adult fiction than anyone he knows ". WOW. (I am glad he doesn't know too many of the other people I know who know much more than me!!) This is part of it, if you do not know your clients or your product you cannot possibly do well at sales in that area. Read, read, read your collection. (or at least read about what is in your collection).

The books are my tools and resources.

Previous posts similar to this : Getting noses into books

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