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How to Launch Book Talk Podcasts in Class

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Book talk podcasts can provide gentle choice reading accountability, target presentation of knowledge and speaking skills, and build a library of book recommendations for future students.

Not bad, right? Today on the podcast I’m going to walk you through how to launch a book talk podcast with your students, and why it will be fantastic.

You can listen in to this episode below, click here to tune in on any podcast player, or read on for the full post.

Setting up your Book Talk Podcast

The first step to success on this project is to let students read a book of their choice. We’ve talked about choice reading for years here on the podcast, so I’m going to direct you back to episode 142 on building a choice reading culture if you’re new to this delightful world.

Their reading can come in the form of a choice reading unit, a book club, or just an ongoing choice reading program in which they’re reading books of their choice alongside the shared curriculum.

Along the way, you’ll want to let them know they’ll be sharing a short review when they finish to help other students figure out if they’d like to read the book, and that you want them to be HONEST. I suggest lightheartedly calling your class book review podcast “Why read Bad Books?” It’s a reminder to your students to be honest as they record, so no one else ends up reading a book they didn’t like. Their titles and reviews should reflect exactly what they really thought of their book.

book talk podcast cover

How to Frame your Book Talk Podcast

This doesn’t have to be a complicated project to produce gentle accountability and a library of helpful book reviews your students can tap into for years.

Invite students to tease the plot, mention the author style (and what they thought of it), and the genre of the book, as well as connecting the book to other books listeners may have read to help them get situated in its fictional universe.

Remind them that the goal of their short podcast is to help others decide whether or not to read the book. They are NOT just doing this for a grade for you. Their work will become part of a class library of reviews that everyone can use.

As you begin drafting your scripts, you can show them the example above for Jason Reynolds’ Long Way Down, and/or record a short example of your own for a book that you love and want to recommend to them.

Managing the Tech

OK, I know tech is the scariest part of any podcast project. But it doesn’t have to be. Students can write their script and then click the big red button on the Vocaroo website to quickly and easily record it as a sound file. From there they can upload their sound file to Drive, make it public in their settings, and send you a link. (Get a full step-by-step walkthrough for how to do this here).

Releasing your Podcasts

When students finish their book talk podcast, you can create a linked library of the episodes in Slides and give the whole class access. Invite them to listen to several episode they’re intrigued by and get ideas for their next read, then return over the course of the year to the podcasts when students are looking for recommendations or it’s time for everyone to pick out a book. When you repeat the project the next year, you’ll have a ton of models ready to go, and your audio review library will only grow.

Ready to Try It?

OK, ready to give this a whirl?

Lighthouse members you can find this full project in our student podcasting section. If you’re not there yet, and you’d like my version of this project, you can find it on TPT here. Otherwise, feel free to craft your own!

This project is a great way to practice speaking and presentation of knowledge skills while also promoting wonderful books in your choice reading program.

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