Book Chats – 30 Days, 10 Minutes to a More Literate Classroom

Today I want to talk to you about a really fun idea for connecting readers. Book Chats is a perfect activity for Back to School, and I use it when I want to strengthen connections and make new ones – for example, in January after the long break. To make this a no prep activity, grab my Book Chat resource from TPT. Just print and go or use on Easel!

The idea is simple – two readers interview each other about their interests and reading preferences, and then they choose books for each other! This is a powerful literacy strategy because:

  • Students make connections and talk about books!
  • It builds the idea that students should help each other find books that they will love. I’ve noticed that, weeks later, some partners are still bringing each other books!
  • As students are choosing books for each other, they often find books for themselves.

You will want to give yourself a little more than 10 minutes for this idea (I know, but still, it’s pretty quick!). I do this over two days, about 15 minutes each day. Spreading it out helps keep my Book Nook from getting too congested and it helps me fit it into a quick moment during the day. Here are the steps. Feel free to click each step if you want to read practical tips for bringing this to your classroom.

Students interview each other.

I usually spread this over two days. So, Day One, the first person interviews their partner and then goes Book Shopping. They try to put two or three books in their “shopping cart” for their partner. They present the books to their partner and explain why they think it’s a suitable book for their partner. You can purchase my Book Chats resource on TPT and use my Student Sheets, or create your own!

Students use what they have learned about each to choose 2-3 books that their partner will enjoy.

This can be tricky for some students and easy for others. One pitfall is the student who wants recommend every book. That student is having trouble discerning, and they may need your help narrowing things down for their partner, and maybe for themselves as well. Lots of unmotivated readers actually suffer from reading too many of the wrong books.

The shopper presents the books to their partner and tells them why they think they are a good fit.

This is the heart of the activity. As students are presenting to each other, you will hear a buzz of excitement in the room. Kids are discovering new books and new friends, and it’s a good moment to be a teacher!

The shopper is responsible for putting away any books their partner does not want to read.

Be sure to have the shoppers do the re-shelving. In theory, they removed the books from the shelves and should put them back!

And that’s it! It should take about 30 minutes total for kids to connect over books, but the connections they make to each other will last far longer. With a small commitment of time, your students will make some new connections and find new books to love. Grab your copy today and use it tomorrow!

Watch the video for more tips and a clip of me modeling the strategy with a fifth grader.

Leave a Reply