A booktalk isn’t a summary of a book or a review of one. I like to think of a booktalk as a teaser. Or better yet, a movie trailer with live-action theatre.
As the booktalk specialist for Jackson County Library Services, I present booktalks to 4th-6th grade classes throughout the county. I want the kids in my audience to go home and beg their parents to take them to the library. I want them to say, “There was this lady who came to school today and she talked about all these books and there’s this one I’ve got to read so we need to go to the library RIGHT NOW!…Please?”
Booktalks work. I see kids eager to read—and excited to try out new titles and genres. After a 30-45 minute booktalk presentation in their classroom, kids do insist on being taken to the public library. They swarm their school library asking for the books.
I prepare 35-40 books each semester and share them with upwards of 2500 students in our area.The title lists that I use for each grade are available on this page. Also, check out the Booktalk Blog where I post the booktalks themselves, along with commentary and reflections from sharing the books in elementary and middle schools.
I hope this will be a useful resource for school and public library staff who’d like to do more booktalks (but don’t have time to select and prepare titles), as well as parents and teachers looking for great books to share with kids.
Jackson County Library Services
The Jackson County Library’s Booktalk Program aims to get kids excited about reading by introducing a variety of engaging titles during a 30-45 minute classroom visit. This is a free service offered to fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classes throughout the county.
During the class visit, the Booktalk Specialist presents a range of age-appropriate titles, both fiction and nonfiction. The goal is to hook reluctant readers with can’t-put-‘em-down stories, as well as provide great new material for the avid readers in the class.
The fall booktalk session is open to fifth and sixth grade classes and runs from September to December. The spring program runs March to June and is open to fourth and fifth grade classes. Fifth grade teachers may request a booktalk visit during both sessions.
The list of books changes each session, and different titles are used for different grades. Title lists will be available prior to the start of the session.
We offer the Booktalk Program as a free service to public and private schools in Jackson County. The program is supported by a generous bequest from the Kenneth A. and Lucille D. Hulburt family trust.