I’d like to offer this challenge out to schools and school folks who are interested in improving students’ reading: every student in your building or class has a Read Next List.
What is a Read Next List?
It is exactly what it sounds like. It is a list (at the back of a notebook, on a Google doc, posted on the walls of classrooms, etc.) that contains titles of books each student would like to eventually read. The idea is that having a list will support and encourage the reading habit by
- ensuring that readers have a plan...what will they do after they finish an engaging book and don't know where to get the next book, or are reluctant to start a new book?
- allowing students to experience a width and breadth of authors...how many kids get stuck in one genre or on one author because they don't know where to read next?
- getting students more quickly to the next book, independently.
- allowing us to differentiate for our readers by interest and ability...perhaps by way of a well-directed suggestion of a particular book for a particular reader
- Allowing students to experience and contribute to the reading culture in their schools by providing them a way to plan their reading experiences and a way to share their reading experiences.
There is power in having a plan for what you will be reading next, of course. But the real power of the read next list is that it requires students to be exposed to enough books so that they actually have something to put on their Read Next lists. And if we know one thing: what makes a good reader, is a good book!
The Book Talk is a quick, easy way to expose students to enough different and engaging books that they will (hopefully) find something to put on their Read Next list. A book talk is a brief (2-5 minute) talk about a book. Book talk essentials, according to Penny Kittle, are:
- Hold the book - so kids can see the cover and the size
- Know the book - Speak about the book...maybe talk about the plot, why it appealed to you, or what you have heard about the book. A brief summary and some identification of its appeal factors (its fast paced, it’s funny, if you like this author, you’ll like this book…)
- Read a short Passage - read something from the book that is interesting...a brief passage read well, can be very persuasive for readers
- Keep Records - Keep a list somewhere in the classroom of all the books that you have book talked in class.
- Accept Help - allow teachers, librarians, online book trailers, and, eventually, your students to book talk for you.
- Remember How Important You Are - your passion is what drives the action in your class...and it works the same when you are selling a book.
If you think this might be a challenge that you want to take on, here are some resources to help with book talks :
- Scholastic Book Talks
- Book Talks Livebinder
- Nancy Keane Book Talk Site
- Book Talk Essentials (Penny Kittle)
- A Beginner's Guide to Booktube
- The Booktube Network
- How to Create a Book Trailer
- Book Trailer List
- ASLC LitPicks Site
- The Book Nerd YouTube Channel
- EIPS Mighty Book Smackdown
Now, just think: If every kid had a Read Next list in your class, then next list they could make might be the Books I Have Read List.
I’d love to hear about your Read Next Lists….