Book Love by Penny Kittle has really exceeded my expectations. The more I read this book, the more I realize why this book can be helpful in teaching reading and writing. Chapter 5 covers “The Power of Book Talks”. I became aware of what “book talks” were in the previous fall semester. Before this, I had no idea book talks were even a thing. In high school, we were hardly recommended books. If we were, they were recommended by the librarian, never our English teacher. From last semester and this chapter, I’ve come to realize how much I actually missed out on. Book talks can greatly help students become powerful readers. By having book talks in the classroom, we are creating a community of readers. Even the students who claim are “not readers” can become involves by talking about what they enjoy or would want to look at. It can be very helpful to show students books as a group so they do not feel the pressure of being singled out. However, having one-on-one book talks can show the students that a teacher cares about their individual needs and has taken the time to think about what they want. In this chapter, one of my favorite quotes is “Books are co-teachers in our drive to get kids reading.” This is so true but a lot of teachers do not allow for silent reading within their classroom. High school teachers are usually wanting their students to read the classics because they are what they were taught or they are in the curriculum. While some kids will enjoy the classics (like me), a lot of students will not or just simply not understand them. When students are silent readings, they are practicing their reading skills. Isn’t this what we want?
Chapter 6 covers “Conferences”. This is an engagement with students in order to help them explore more titles and learn their reading preferences. The important thing I learned from this chapter is that conferences do not have to take very long. They can take as little as three minutes. With that, every student should be able to have a conference at least once a month. It is also important to have a conference with every student. We are not just teaching 10 students out of our class, we have to teach every single student we get so it only makes sense to have a conference with them. It is also helpful to keep notes about these conferences. This way, we can learn their preferences and see if they are exploring different genres. We can also keep track of what they have already read so we do not recommend titles that they already know.