|Day 19 of 31 at Two Writing Teachers!|
"Is it like adoption?"
"I think it's like when someone's parents don't have enough money to take care of their kids."
As we figure out what foster care is, the students are already hooked. This book isn't going to take a lot of selling, but it's easy to sell because I just finished it recently. "I LOVED this book and I think you guys will too! The narrator speaks with such an authentic teen voice: she is funny, spunky, and emotional..."
After a short introduction, I open up the book and start reading from an early chapter, where Carley has just recently come to live with the Murphys. She doesn't trust them yet, doesn't believe she'll be staying long, and isn't very happy to be there. In the page and a half that I read, she's snarky and sarcastic while also revealing the heart-tugging emotional depth the story is charged with. No fidgeting, no whispering: all eyes are on me. I stop and leave them hanging right where she lodges the basketball between the rim and backboard after asking God to swish it if her mom still loves her.
"So if you'd like to see how she gets along with her foster family and find out with her if her mom really does love her... you might like to read One for the Murphys, by Linda Mullay Hunt!" Fingers are tapping on Goodreads apps and scribbling in notebooks, and I remind them that it's now written on the Realistic Fiction book talk list.
|lists of book talk books by genre, next to the bookshelves|
If you'd come to my classroom at the beginning of class today, that's what you would have seen. Any other day, you'd see the same thing with a different book... unless I'm showing a book trailer from YouTube instead!
However, if you would have come this fall, you might not have seen a book talk at all, because I didn't do them every day. And if you saw one, it wouldn't have looked like that. I wouldn't have read a passage from the book, because I didn't know how powerful that could be! There wouldn't have been any book talk lists on the wall either.
What changed? Penny Kittle's Book Love convinced me of the importance of frequent book talks. Even better, she gave a detailed breakdown of the components of an effective book talk so that even an ineffective salesman like myself could "sell" books!
(This is part 2 of my series about creating readers in my classroom, based on ideas from Penny Kittle's Book Love. Yesterday, I shared a peek at how I've made changes to my classroom to encourage authentic reading.)