Book Talk, a new program at the had students engaged in active conversation last Friday.
All students in the school read (or were read) a book of their choice at home, came to school, and had conversations with other students about the book—summarizing it, critiquing it and analyzing it.
The 402 students, grades kindergarten through fifth, were split into 52 groups, with roughly eight in each group. A staff member or parent or community volunteer led the small groups of students in discussion about their respective books.
“We’re looking to emphasize a message that everyone reads and reading is important,” principal David Barner said.
“The goal is to spark a love of reading,” reading teacher Barbara Hathaway said. “Create excitement and enthusiasm around reading.”
One of the benefits of the Book Talk program, Barner said, was the small adult to student ratio. Students also built relationships with other adults in the building (other than their everyday teacher).
Hathaway was hoping if students heard positive reviews of other books from their peers, the students would want to read that book as well.
Nearly the entire Dawe staff took part leading a discussion group, Barner and Hathaway included.
Barner had a group of first graders.
“My group was great. They were very excited, very well prepared. They were able to identify what they liked [about the book], summarize and make a connection,” he said.
Hathaway led a group of kindergarteners and said they were excited to talk about their book selections.
Barner said he plans to hold another Book Talk, and in the future may guide the book selection (i.e. biographies, works of non-fiction, etc.), whereas this time students were able to select any book.