Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Booktalks with Third Graders: Book Suggestions, Tips and Tricks

A new month means a new post about the booktalks I am doing at my local schools!

So far I have been very pleased with the results of these visits. As the year goes on, I find the school/library connections I am making are getting stronger. I also have had many children come to the library and tell me they saw me at their school. Quite of few of them have been asking about the books I've promoted. I'm hoping that this is a sign that my love of reading is wearing off on them!

In case you've missed it here are links to my previous posts about my booktalks. Each post contains the books I recommended for each grade, as well as tips and tricks about doing booktalks:

Here are the books I promoted to the third graders:

Cronus and the Threads of Dread by Joan Holub: Holub's "Heroes in Training" series is on the easier end of the spectrum for this age. I like to make sure I include a variety of reading levels for each grade and this one provided a much needed simpler title.

Zero Degree Zombie Zone by Patrick Henry Bass: This title has an African American main character, which adds a little welcome diversity to my selections. It also includes zombies, which are a perrenial kid favorite.

Amber Brown Horses Around by Bruce Coville: I try to include at least a few different genres at each school visit, and I figured this entry in the "Amber Brown" series would be a good example of contemporary realistic fiction.

Beforever series (multiple authors): This new "choose your own adventure" series from American Girl gave me an opportunity to promote our library's American Girl Club. There is one book for each of the original American Girls.

Frank Einstein and the Anti Matter Motor by Jon Scieszka: Jon Scieszka is one of my favorites and this is the first entry in his new series. Frank Einstein, kid genius, is trying to win the science fair and get money to save his Grandpa Al's store. The climax of the story is written as a cliffhanger in the book's introduction and makes a great read aloud.

Tips and Tricks:
  • This is a great age to start promoting any of your library's digital offerings. We recently started lending music through Freegal and I got a great response from all the third grade classes when I mentioned it. Especially following the holidays it seemed especially relevant: when I asked who had iPods almost every kid raised their hands.
  • Genres become more identifiable as you get into chapter books.This makes it a good idea to include a variety of genres in booktalks for upper elementary grades.
  • As much as I hate to label books, at this age "boy" and "girl" books can be a little polarizing. This was as especially clear in the reactions of some of the boys when I mentioned American Girl. For the sake of balance I tried to include a mix of both.
I hope these suggestions, tips and tricks come in handy. As always any comments, questions or book suggestions are welcome!

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