Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Friday 24 March 2023

Book Chat – Supporting Reading for Pleasure and Book Discussion

Welcome to Anna Davidson, teacher librarian at Hutchins Junior School, as a new contributor to our blog. Book Chats offer students an interesting and enjoyable opportunity to engage with and respond to fiction with their peers.

In 2022, our school introduced Book Chat, a book-club style program that increases student access to a variety of literature. Sets of quality novels from a variety of genres and with a range of accessibility options are curated and book-talked by the teacher librarian. Students self-select one of these novels, with guidance or recommendations by teachers as needed. 

Examples from the range of titles students select

Students commit to reading (or listening to) to the book and taking notes over a four-week period. The teacher librarian and classroom teachers informally monitor student progress and support students to develop positive reading habits and prepare for the discussion.

Book Chat titles can be accessed in a range of formats; some students
choose to use their Libraries Tasmania accounts for personal reading

After finishing the same book, students participate in student-led small group discussions that are supported by an adult. Adult (teachers, parents, carers) involvement helps students engage in discussions at a deeper level.

Book Chat supports students to:

  • Enjoy reading for pleasure
  • Build awareness of personal reading preferences
  • Develop skills to self-select appropriate and enjoyable reading materials
  • Build knowledge of different genres
  • Expand their reading repertoire
  • Establish independent reading habits
  • Use a common language to talk about books
  • Practise speaking and listening skills during informal rich literary discussion

Beyond the individual level, Book Chat:

  • Builds group discussion skills (listening, contributing, building on ideas, asking questions, taking turns, participating in a balanced group conversation, etc)
  • Connects with the library’s ‘Me as a Reader’ curriculum, which fosters development of strong reading identities, that is embedded in the Pre-K to Year 5 library curriculum. 
  • Fosters belonging to a school community of readers (individual reader – class community of readers – year level community of readers - whole school community of readers) 

The Book Chat program supports the school’s commitment to a values-driven education through the identification of examples of the school’s values, courage, kindness, respect and humility, within the Book Chat books. Empathy and compassion are integral values developed through the program as many of the books that are used offer windows into other people’s lives. The emphasis on discussion provides students with structure and guidance as they unpack increasingly complex themes and different perspectives in stories. 

Anna Davidson

Twitter - @davidsonteach

Junior School Teacher Librarian, avid reader (mad for Middle Grade Fiction), dog lover, yogi, nature lover, tea drinker

1 comment:

  1. Chatting about what we are reading is important to all readers. How wonderful that these students have the opportunity to develop skills to talk about what they are reading - and so much more fun than a written book report!