A Student activity on Talking about Books
A book talk is a presentation of a book by one student to others in the class. In a period of 45 minutes, two children can talk about a book they have read recently. This activity can be done over one term in the academic year for each class or for selected classes.
Children have the incentive to read, appraise the book in many different ways, plan how to present, organize their talk in point form, speak coherently, read out clearly, listen and comprehend, ask searching questions and finally , to be participative in the discussions. Also, the listeners often get attracted to borrow a book based on the presentation.
1. Introduce this idea and show them how it works by doing a book talk yourself or having an older student do one, of a story that they all know well, like “The three little pigs” or Akbar and Birbal.
2. Explain the format to them or have it written on a large sheet and keep it on display.
3. Make the plan for the sequence of ‘talkers’ and enter it on the calendar for convenience.
4. Give them some tips on how to organize and prepare the presentation.
5. Help them with their selection of book if they wish.
Each student talks about:
1. The title of the book. Is it part of a series? If so what are the other titles?
2. The author/s along with any information about them. This is more in-depth as the student gets older
3. The illustrator/s. Recognition of other books illustrated by them
4. Kind of book or story. (Adventure, mystery, fantasy, wildlife, science fiction, humour, human interest, etc)
5. A brief outline of the story (not a narration of the story), making sure the end is not given away.
6. Style of writing. Conversational, descriptive, first person etc.
7. Main characters and which, if any, they identi fied with and why.
8. Reading out of one or two short excerpts.
9. Their personal response and why.
10. Suggested readership level and interest.
11. What made them borrow the book? Did anyone suggest it?
12. Any other interesting features they noticed.
This is a vital part of the book talk. Time is given for questions from the listeners. The librarian must guide this discussion unobtrusively! Each listener must be urged to ask a question, I have found that amazing aspects and sub tleties are brought out in this session. It is also possible to touch upon delicate issues of -gender bias, discrimination, sexuality, disabilities, prejudice etc in a very natural way when the book has these elements. Therefore the importance of having well-written boo ks for children and young people in your library! Some books which have engendered very good discussions are: The Harry Potter series, Journey to Jo’burg, To Kill a Mocking bird, books by Judy Blume and many others.