Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Talks & Book Raffles

I just returned home from my very first Ed Camp. To say that the Ed Camp Model is probably the best model for Professional Development might be my grandest understatement. As my first experience outside of my school district for PD, I was blown away. This wasn't just any Ed Camp either, it was NERDCAMPMI. A magical place I've been dreaming of since last summer when I read Reading in the Wild (obsessed) by Donalyn Miller. I was introduced to the Twitter world as a tool and PLN for teachers. There was no turning back. Twitter has quickly turned into my daily go to for all things Education, reading and books!

The second day of nErDcampMI was the true Ed Camp Model. People who want to learn about certain things or lead a session about certain things throw their ideas up and everyone attends what THEY want to hear more about. What a novel concept!! I wish schools would take on this model so learning would be more valuable for their teachers! Anyways, I digress..

I got up and decided that I would like to share about how I use Book Talks and Book Raffles in my Upper Grades Classroom. First off, over 20 people showed up and I thought they had walked into the wrong room. Ha! I learned so much from the people that attended, I connected with new to me teachers and librarians and two authors even showed up to talk book talks with us!

I wanted to post some pictures of raffles from my classroom and talk about how I use these two things to promote reading excitement, anticipation and engagement with my big kids!

I connect Book Talks with Book Raffles because the talk is usually what takes place as you introduce the raffle books. Make sense? I use this time to either talk about the book myself, have a student who has read the book lead the talk or (my favorite) share a book trailer!

Quality book trailers are out there, you just need to prepare ahead of time and look for them. Always check Mr. Schu Reads on Twitter or his blog for great book trailers. Here are a few favorites:

I Don't Want to Be a Frog

Wolfie the Bunny

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Comic Squad: Recess!

The Wig in the Window

The One & Only Ivan

These are all great places to start to help you "sell" books to your kids. Looking for trailers can be hard and you won't always find what you're looking for. Wouldn't that be a great chance to talk with the kids about what you WOULD like to see in a trailer? The kids could also create their own!

Once you have the perfect trailer or speech, you're ready for the Raffle. Let's go with bulletpoints for tips on using raffles, okay? Great!
  • The amount of books is up to you- but I like having 5 or more so it ensures that there are options for everyone and overall better chances of winning

  • I use new books as they are introduced into the library (I had a lightbulb moment at nErDcamp to include old favorites from the library too!)

  • NEVER EVER EVER ATTACH THIS TO BEHAVIOR OR ANYTHING ELSE!!! You're a teacher, and you will want to, DON'T. What's the message there? You didn't do your homework so I don't want you to read? You had a bad afternoon so I don't want you to read? Just don't.
  • I give my kids two slips of paper and they add their name and drop them in the bucket for the books they would like to win- easy peasy! If they really want one book (they can do both in that bucket- the possibilities here are completely up to you & the class)
  • I draw the first name and that person gets to read the book first
  • All the other names go on the wait list posted in the room and the kids just let me know when they're finished and they can give it to the reader (hand this one off to the kids as the year goes on, this is just a classroom management thing so it doesn't eat up all of YOUR time)
  • I usually give my kids about two or so weeks with the new book (again, use your best judgement here! You know your kids better than I do!)
  • Start a new raffle everytime you get fun new books for the class library, I would say we did raffles in my 5th grade class this year every other week. Sometimes more and sometimes less!
Good luck! If you have any tips for me please post them below and happy reading!


  1. I LOVE THIS! I'm going to do my first one the second week of school! I love your instagram by the way!

  2. I love the book raffle idea! I usually buy books with specific readers in mind and save the book talks for literature circle texts. I'll definitely try this idea in the fall.


  3. LOVE love love love love love love. LOVE! I can't wait to host my first one this year! Any suggestions on when is a good time to implement? Beginning of the year..a month in? And, how often to you have book raffles?

    A Rocky Top Teacher

    1. And you totally answered my second question in your post :)

  4. I started using the raffle towards the end of the year! I did them monthly usually after a Scholastic order came through... It was super fun! Students could earn 1 extra raffle ticket for me by being SUPER readers. If they read more minutes than required on their reading log they could ask for an extra ticket. I let this be honor system since I don't check reading logs daily or weekly. Most kids were really honest and it also got a few to finish up their current books a little quicker knowing they'd have ONE more chance at a NEW book!

    Love your ideas and this post! I'm saving it to remind myself of this for the upcoming year!
    My Shoe String Life

  5. This is an awesome idea and seeing as I just returned from a trip to Barnes & Noble I think I'm going to try it this week. Thank you for sharing!


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