If you poked your head into a 7th-grade English class in the last week or so, you might have thought you’d walked onto the set of a live television show—complete with microphones, graphics, and an anchor desk. And if you’d sat down in the audience and listened to the newscasters, you’d probably have come away with a stack of new books that you just had to read!
“Hello, and welcome to Book Talk Television. I’m your host…”
“I started this project several years back as a way to do something fun and meaningful with summer reading,” explained 7th-grade English teacher Sean Etigson. The basic idea behind Book Talk Television was to put the students who had read the same book over the summer into a small group and have them act like newscasters reporting on different aspects of the novel.
“It sets us up for so many skills we want to practice throughout the year—literary analysis, collaborative work, engaging presentations,” Mr. Etigson continued. “The thing is, it’s also a really fun and dynamic way to celebrate and encourage independent, student-directed reading.”
The presentations are only about 3 minutes each, but the students take time to appreciate each other’s work—another opportunity for the teachers to reinforce important skills and concepts with a receptive group of learners. Because it’s a television show, the students also incorporate (mostly) hilarious commercials having to do with their books in one way or another.
Isaiah ‘27 explained, “I like talking about books always, but getting to present it in that kind of format was interesting and fun.”
The students usually have the opportunity to do Book Talk Television several times during their 7th-grade year, and it’s almost always greeted with a, “Yes! We get to do BTTV again!”