Blogger Kary Henry

Great Summer Reads

Every May, I look forward to sharing my “Great Summer Reads” booktalks with all of our fifth graders across town. I schedule these visits through our amazing school librarians and share a wide variety of titles and genres.

This year, my Great Summer Reads booktalk theme was “Dynamic Duos.” I paired two books that were connected in some way, reassuring our fifth grade students that they were going to go well with sixth grade in the fall. I create a slideshow featuring the book covers, confessing to the students that I, too, sometimes judge books by their covers.


Each student gets a handout to take home. The handouts show the book covers of these great summer reads, where to find the books in our library, and my stoplight system. First, I explain to the students that after I booktalk the book, they should circle one of the three lights. Did you circle red? The book isn’t for you, and that’s okay because not every book is for every reader. Yellow? You’re thinking about it. Circle green? GO to the library right after school to get that book!

Image of Great Summer Reads 5th grade booktalk handout
Great Summer Reads handout created in Canva.

As you can see from the handout, I typically include a section for additional books. These are wonderful books that I wouldn’t be able to get to in the 20-30 minutes I have but still wanted to highlight as Great Summer Reads. I also share a digital copy of the handout with the school librarian and teachers; the book covers have clickable links that take you right to our library catalog.

Next, it’s off to the booktalks! I warn the students that I go quickly to get in all these great summer reads in the allotted time. Lastly, I take a few minutes to talk up our Summer Reading Program! I’m typically giving the booktalks in the last week or so before summer vacation, so it’s a perfect time to encourage students to sign up.

What’s on your TBR list this summer? Share in the comments below.

This ALSC blog post addresses the following core competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group, II. Reference and User Services, IV. Collection Knowledge and Management, and V. Outreach and Advocacy.

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