The other day I was approached by our AP Literature teacher about doing an end of the year book talk to her classes of some "fun books" for the kids to read. Her idea was that she didn't want to kill their love of reading by the end of the year, and she wanted to have them remember that reading is fun! Therefore, she was wanting them to pick a book they could blast through in a week. I was absolutely up for this, but it got me thinking about a bigger idea.
How could I promote summer reading to students?
How could I encourage students to keep a constant "TBR" (to be read) list in their head?
I started planning and pushed out an "End of the Year Book Talk" to English teachers. The idea was not necessarily to have students grab a book for SSR or even to check out a book from the library. The idea was to give them some resources and get them thinking about what they will read over the summer.
Here's what I ended up coming up with. Below is a handout I made for the students. It was made in Google Slides to eventually be folded in half like a book.
As you can see in slide one, the back of this "book" has a place for students to make their summer reading list. On slide two, I list a few different resources and ideas for the students to keep reading.
One of my favorite resources is the website audiobooksyn.com. This website offers FREE audiobooks as a way to encourage them to keep reading. The audiobooks and theirs to keep forever. The titles change each week, so you have to catch it at the right time. Titles change every Thursday. Even if you don't want to read it right then and there, how awesome is it that you can just download it to read later! They always pair a YA book with a classic or nonfiction. There are many fantastic titles on there, and I listed a few good ones on my handout.
I also included some information about our public library's teen book club, and I also took this moment to encourage them to #1: Get a library card no matter if they stay here in the area or whatever town they go to college. And #2: When they get to their college, do a library orientation! I encouraged students that the library at their future college can save their butt, so they should become familiar. Doing a library orientation will do just that!
Finally, I included a fun book challenge. They could take it or leave it, but it's just a fun way to challenge yourself.
When I presented this to students, I used the Google Slide presentation below.
In this presentation, I covered all of the resources in my handouts as well as a few reasons why they should keep reading over the summer. I wanted to try to keep instilling in them the value of always having a TBR pile!
In addition this all the resources, I then went over with them the top 3 titles that I read this past year, accompanied with book trailers where available. I also included my summer TBR pile. The best part about these end of the year book talks was that I didn't have to worry about what books we had in the library. I could just promote the best books instead!
At the end, I directed them to a page on my library's website that is designed to help students find their next favorite book! This is one of my favorite pages on my library's website and one I don't get to use enough! This page features some interactive slides shows I have made with the tool Projeqt. Projeqt is a multimedia presentation tool where you create "stacks" of information. You can click on each of the stacks to reveal more information.
I use them to promote good books for students to read. If you check out the page on my library's website, you will see I have created a Projeqt slide show for all types of different genres. If you click on any of the book covers, it will reveal a summary of the book, any book/movie trailers of the book, and any sequels the book might have.
Check out the Sci-Fi/Dystopian Projeqt Slide Show I have on my website below:
I LOVED being able to share this resource with students! They actually really got into exploring the slide shows! They would watch a movie or book trailer here and there, and I found they actually started to write books down on the back of their handout, making a TBR pile!
In addition to the slide shows, I provided another link to a shelf on my Goodreads profile of all the books we have in the Ponderosa Library that I have read and reviewed.
Overall, this book was a win-win on all fronts. It took two weeks at the end of the year where I didn't have much foot traffic and created foot traffic. It created a good "filler" activity for English teachers wrapping up the end of the year. And it got students thinking about reading for fun, not just because they have to do SSR.
This is definitely an activity I will continue in future years, and I have been overwhelmed with the response from English teachers willing to let me give them end of the year books talks a try.
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past three years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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