Re-Thinking Book Shopping

During Pernille Ripp’s workshop “Creating a Passionate Literacy Classroom”she talked about how the book shopping time in her classroom is all about sharing and talking about books. After reflecting on her students’ book shopping experience, I decided that mine needed an overhaul.

Previously, book shopping looked like four to five students each day in the classroom library quietly changing their books first thing in the morning during Calendar. I expected my students to be quiet while book shopping so the rest of the class could still be working. There were no book conversations or recommendations made. Pernille challenged me to think about how I wanted my students to be excited to read, talk about books, and make recommendations to each other – how else would you ever find your next great read?

Last week, we tried the new and improved version of book shopping. We are now book shopping as an entire class on Friday afternoons so we have a box full of books to look forward to enjoying the following week in Daily 5. Book shopping now has three components: Booktalks, To Be Read Lists (Thanks Pernille!), and Book Shopping.

Booktalks take place before book shopping and are completely optional. I invite my students to booktalk any books they want to share that they think their classmates would enjoy. A booktalk consists of a student giving a quick snapshot of a book that will hook someone into wanting to read it, making sure they don’t give away the entire book, in less than one minute. Last week, over half of my class did a booktalk!

To Be Read Lists
While listening to the booktalks, if my students hear any titles they want to read, they will write the title and book bin number down on their To Be Read List. They can use their To Be Read List to help them choose books during book shopping. My students keep their To Be Read List in the back of their Tiny Topic Notebooks.

Book Shopping
The entire class book shops together at the same time. Last week, book bins were pulled off shelves, books that hadn’t been read all year were being put into Book Boxes, conversations about books were happening and recommendations were being made. Yay!!

I haven’t seen my class so excited about talking about books all year! They told me that they enjoyed book shopping as a class better than quietly in the morning. Since the ‘new and improved’ version of book shopping was launched last week, my students haven’t stopped talking about books with me and making recommendations all week. They left tonight with books already picked out to share tomorrow.

One of my personal goals is to read more of the books in my classroom library so I can make recommendations for my students. This week I have read six different books, albeit short ones, that I plan on booktalking tomorrow. Eerie Elementary was a recommendation made by half of my class – a definite must read.img_6597


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