Hey, fellow ELA teachers! Raise your hand if…
- you’ve ever been overwhelmed by students who don’t know what to read…
- you love recommending books to kids, but don’t always have the time to have those convos…
- you’ve ever had multiple students swarm you, asking “What should I read next?”…
- you want to recommend better books but don’t have the time to read them yourself…
- you want a stronger independent reading program but don’t know where to start…
- you just want to get more good books in the hands of students…
- you need book recommendations for your middle or high school readers ASAP…
If you can relate to any of these statements, then I think you’ll absolutely love the idea of book recommendation brochures! If you’re unfamiliar with my book brochures, you can check them the middle school version HERE, the high school version HERE, or keep reading for more information & frequently asked questions/answers!
WHAT ARE BOOK RECOMMENDATION BROCHURES?
These book recommendation brochures are designed to help students answer the question of “What should I read next?” Through interactive reader personality quizzes, these brochures automatically suggest personalized book recommendations to your students. These magical brochures ask all the right questions and answer them, leaving students with book recs tailored to their interests.
These brochures and the reader personality quizzes within them are modeled after the countless conversations I’ve had with students. You know, the ones that go like this…
So, what genre are you thinking? Have you read this book? Okay, so you like books by this author? Alright, and are you interested in this topic? What about this? Sure, so let’s see…you might like this, or that!
You know how it goes! I cherish these conversations, but the reality is that I don’t always have time for them every single day. Or I have dozens of books floating in my head but can’t remember one when I actually need to recommend it. And sometimes, there are just 10 kids swarming me because they think I’m some kind of Magical Book Fairy who can rapid-fire book recs like I’ve trained my whole life for this moment. In other words, sometimes it’s refreshing and fulfilling to recommend books, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. I love it, I really do, but I quickly realized I needed either a clone of myself or a really efficient system to streamline the book recommendation process. These book brochures are that system…which brings us to the next question!
HOW CAN I USE THESE IN MY CLASSROOM?
These brochures are unique, cute, and fun, but they’re so much more than that: They are an entire self-sustaining system for recommending books to students. When a student comes to you wondering what to read, all you have to do is ask them what genre they’re most interested in reading at the moment, and direct them to that brochure. The brochure will take care of the rest and give the students the chance to explore more books on their own!
Because the brochures ask many of the questions I would ask the students myself, they automatize that part of the process. Ultimately, this gives me more time…time I can spend helping a reluctant reader who doesn’t even know what they like to read or having an advanced discussion with a voracious reader who already has too many books on their to-read list.
In other words, these brochures are always working for me behind the scenes so that I can focus on what matters the most! 🙂
WHAT COMES IN EACH BROCHURE?
There’s a whole lot jam-packed in each book brochure, so here’s a breakdown:
- COVER: The cover features an introduction to the genre, along with a student-friendly definition and a little blurb “advertising” the genre to readers.
- READER PERSONALITY QUIZ: When students open the book brochure, the first thing they will see is a magazine-style reader “personality quiz” designed to answer the question of “What should I read next?” Based on the students’ answers, the quiz scoring guide will offer 1-2 personalized book recommendations.
- 6 FEATURED HIGH-INTEREST BOOKS & NO-SPOILERS TEASERS: Once students take the quiz, they will be able to open the rest of the brochure to see their recommendation and a no-spoilers summary with more information. Six different high-interest books are featured in each brochure.
- BONUS BOOK RECS ON BACK: On the back of the brochure, students will find a list of 25+ additional book recommendations from the genre. These recs are perfect for voracious readers who have already devoured titles featured on the inside, or students who want to explore texts other than the ones recommended to them!
This breaks down to 30+ book recs per brochure, so students won’t run out of anything to read!
WHAT ARE THE “READER PERSONALITY QUIZZES” LIKE?
Each reader personality quiz differs & depends on the genre/featured books, but they’re all fun, magazine-style “quizzes” where each multiple choice answer option corresponds to a different book recommendation. If you’ve ever seen a silly personality quiz on Buzzfeed, these are similar (but much less ridiculous than the “Which pizza topping are you?” quizzes you’ll find there). The book brochure questions ask everything from what topics readers are interested in, what fictional scenarios are most intriguing, and what types of features readers like to see in books.
Here’s an example from the novel in verse book brochure:
As a reader, what’s most important to you?
- unique structure or writing style
- lots of action & suspense
- a story that feels real
- a book that transports you to its setting
And another from the fantasy brochure:
Which setting would you like to explore?
- a kingdom divided by blood
- secret magical cities in Nigeria
- a magical universe with a burning sea
- a kingdom threatened by civil war
- a world that kills Unwanted teens
- an enchanted, magical forest
Based on students’ answers, the quiz scoring guide will recommend 1-2 different books, which are featured inside the brochures!
HOW SHOULD I DISPLAY THESE IN MY CLASSROOM?
As long as the brochures are accessible in some way, the possibilities are endless! Here are a few ideas:
- Display them in small bins or containers from the Dollar Tree, Target dollar spot, Walmart, etc.
- Display the brochures on a bulletin board. You can use tacks to hang them up. Even though the back won’t be visible, students will be able to open the brochure, see this quiz, and view the featured books. If you do this, I recommend having extra copies of the brochures for students who want to use them as intended (and take the personality quiz).
- Display the brochures on your board with magnetic clips. Again, if you go this route, have a stack of extra brochures for kids to grab when the display copies catch their attention.
- Display them in a clear hanging shoe organizer. I actually have a few of these to display books, but they’d work well for the brochures, too.
- Display them in a trifold brochure holder. This is the “extra” route, and I’m guilty as charged! This is not necessary at all, but I found a sturdy but affordable brochure holder on Amazon, and I really like the way it’s working so far!
…or simply set the brochures out in piles. It does not have to be fancy! As long as the brochures are available to the students, they’ll work perfectly, no matter your setup.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I DON’T HAVE ALL THE BOOKS FEATURED IN THE BROCHURES?
First of all, that’s completely fine—I don’t either. I do own physical copies of some of the featured books, but definitely not all. The rest are available digitally! Here’s how: I had my students sign up for free library e-cards at the beginning of the year. These ecards give my students access to unlimited ebooks and audiobooks through the website Overdrive and the app Libby. To find a library that uses Overdrive, enter your zip code on this search page. Then, select “Need a library card?” or “Get an instant card,” or head to the library’s website for more information. In addition to local libraries, your state may have a digital library system on Overdrive. For more information on using Overdrive, check out this blog post.
ARE THE FEATURED BOOKS APPROPRIATE FOR MY STUDENTS?
This varies so much from student to student and school to school that only you know the true answer! However, I have taken extra care and time to find books that are appropriate for grades 7-8. I’ve attempted to highlight a healthy mix of books at various reading levels, so you will see some middle grade titles, as well as young adult lit. If you’re a fellow middle school teacher, then I’m sure you know the struggle of featuring good books in the “in between” stage that is 7th-8th grade. I have done my best to do just that, and I hope you find the recs helpful.
If you have any concerns, I highly recommend double-checking the titles and adjusting the brochures as you see fit. I have made the book brochures entirely editable so that you can remove any books that you are not comfortable recommending to your students. For information on age-appropriateness, I recommend looking up publisher age ratings, looking up the book on Common Sense Media, and reviewing the interest level on AR Book Finder. The last two suggestions are typically more conservative than publisher ratings, but they are a starting place. If you have any questions about the content of each book, feel free to ask me. I have read all of the 6 books featured inside the brochure (but not necessarily all of the titles listed on the back).
THIS IS LISTED FOR GRADES 7-8. WILL IT WORK FOR 6TH?
I’ve listed the middle school book brochures for grades 7-8 for the aforementioned reasons. 6th grade is right on the bubble in between upper elementary and middle school, which can make it even more difficult to recommend appropriate books. Since I haven’t personally taught in 6th, I did not want to make a judgment call on maturity levels. For example, Long Way Down (novels in verse brochure) and Hey, Kiddo (memoir brochure) are two phenomenal titles with some mature content/language.
Because the resource is editable, I think you can easily make it work for 6th. Just make sure to check the books and swap out any texts that feel too mature or challenging for your students.
HOW DO YOU PRINT THE BROCHURES CORRECTLY?
When you go to print each book brochure, you’ll need to select the following settings:
- Print on both sides
- Flip pages on short edge
“Short edge” is the most important part of this; if you select “long edge,” the inside of the brochure will be upside down.
DO YOU HAVE A HIGH SCHOOL VERSION?
Yes, I sure do! After teaching high school for 6 years, it’s still very near & dear to my heart. I read a lot of YA lit, so I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to create a version of this resource for high school teachers. It’s something I would have loved to have during my years of teaching high school. 🙂
My high school brochures are a work in progress, but you can check out the “growing bundle” HERE to lock in the resource’s best price and guarantee all future additions for free!
I will keep everyone posted here on my blog and via my Instagram, where you can get day-to-day updates on what I’m teaching and creating. 🙂
WILL YOU BE CREATING AN UPPER-ELEMENTARY VERSION?
Maybe! After some interest in this, I am considering it. I am going to focus on finishing the high school resource line first, and then I’ll explore that option. If I create an upper elementary version, I will most likely partner with another teacher, since I have not taught those grades. Stay tuned for more info on this!
I hope this FAQ helped! Please let me know if you have any additional questions about the book brochures. If you try them, I would love to hear about how your students like the book recommendations!