After searching for ways to strengthen my independent reading program, recommend better books to my readers, and help students who never know what to read next, I decided to create my own solution. The solution I landed on was not only a new resource, but an entire system designed to give students better book recs AND save me time: book recommendation brochures with interactive reader personality quizzes for middle and high school.
Each book brochure features a different literary genre and includes a quick reader personality quiz. Think magazine/Buzzfeed-style quizzes, but for books! Based on the quiz answers, the brochure automatically recommends one or more books tailored to the student’s interests. Inside the brochure, students will find 6 different high-interest books and no-spoilers summaries. On the back page, there are 25+ bonus recs, so students will never run out of books to read!
If this is your first time hearing about these book recommendation brochures for middle and high school, head back to this FAQ blog post for more information. Then, come back here to learn about all of the fabulous ways you can use these versatile brochures in your ELA classroom! Here are 15 ideas for using the book brochures to help your students fall in love with reading this year:
1. Classroom Library Display
I designed these book recommendation brochures for middle and high school to help students answer the question of “What should I read next?” so they are the ultimate classroom library resource. Instead of aimlessly browsing the shelves, students can select a brochure, take the personality quiz, and receive instant book recs tailored to their interests. The brochures ask all the right questions and then answer them, mimicking all the conversations you would have if your only job was to recommend good books to kids. It’s like having a clone of yourself to give students endless book recommendations! Magical, right?
In other words, it’s a self-sustaining system for getting good books into the hands of your students! The brochures are an engaging and efficient way to streamline the book recommendation process. Better book recs = happier readers & a less-stressed teacher! To work their magic, the book brochures just need to be on display in your classroom library. It’s that simple!
For ideas on how to display the book brochures, head back to this blog post.
2. Independent Reading
In addition to displaying the book brochures in your classroom library, you can use them to launch independent/choice reading. The most important and challenging part of independent reading is matching students up with good books that they will actually enjoy reading. This takes lots of time, effort, and patience, and many students will abandon multiple books before they find “the one.” Because the brochures only feature the “best of the best” books, they jumpstart the book matchmaking process and help students find “the one” a lot sooner!
When you’re prepping your independent reading plans, make sure to structure in some time for students to peruse the book brochures and explore your classroom library. If you don’t have a classroom library or your selection is limited, schedule a trip to your school library and/or introduce your students to the wonderful world of digital libraries! Like I mentioned in this book brochure FAQ blog post, I don’t own all of the titles featured in my book brochures, but all of the books are available through Overdrive/Libby in partnership with our local library. I’ve gotten many kids hooked on audiobooks and ebooks this way. For more information on how to access digital libraries and expand your students’ access to books (for free), check out this helpful blog post.
3. Book Clubs & Literature Circles
If you want to launch book clubs/lit circles but don’t know where to begin, the book brochures offer a helpful starting point. Because the brochures are organized by genre, you can easily use them to round up titles for genre-based literature circles. For example, I launched novels in verse book clubs this spring, and they were a hit among my students. You’ll see the titles I used featured in that book rec brochure. Because the brochures are all editable, you can easily change up the titles to reflect your literature circle options. If you decide to do thematic book clubs/lit circles, you can edit the brochures for that, too. In the future, I will be creating thematic/topic-based book brochures, but until then, feel free to edit away (for personal use – not commercial).
4. Interactive Bulletin Board
If you’re still searching for the perfect spot to display the book brochures, consider creating a bulletin board display! Pair the brochures with images of book covers, and watch as students curiously explore the book brochures. You can also include genre labels/descriptions, author images, quotes from books, reviews, and more — as much or as little as you want. I plan to use plastic holders to hang the brochures up, but you can always use a tack to display them! (Even though the back won’t be visible, students will be able to open the brochure, see the quiz, and view the featured books. I recommend having extra copies of the brochures for students who want to write in the personality quiz.)
I plan on creating a bulletin board display in my new classroom later this summer. Stay tuned to my Instagram for updates on the final creation. 🙂
5. Book Trailer Tuesday & First Chapter Friday
Book Trailer Tuesday and First Chapter Friday are two of my favorite ways to get students hooked on reading! These strategies are already simple, but the book recommendation brochures make them even easier because they round up tons of great book recs. Instead of aimlessly searching for book trailers and engaging first chapters, use the brochures as a starting point: search for the specific trailers on YouTube and preview the first chapters for free on Overdrive. Not all of the featured titles have book trailers and juicy first chapters, but many of them do! I know because I’ve used them. 🙂
You can check out these blog posts to see the exact titles I’ve featured in my 7th grade ELA classroom:
For First Chapter Friday resources, check out these engaging graphic organizers.
6. Book Talks
Book talks are another engaging way to advertise books to your students, but I know just how difficult it can be to find the time to read & recommend titles students will love! The book recommendation brochures are the perfect shortcut to better book talks. Instead of feeling the urge to read every single book you feature or recommend to your students, just use the engaging summaries in the brochures to hook your students. Each brochure features 6 different high-interest books, and the bundle will include 12 genre brochures when finished. That’s 72 different titles – just what you need for a weekly book talk!
7. Book Tasting or Speed Dating
In addition to using book brochures to advertise books, you can also use them to help students explore books! “Book tastings” or book “speed dating” lessons are fun ways to help students sample books. There are different ways to do these activities, and they can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. But the concept is the same: give students a few minutes to “taste” or “date” different books and record their first impressions. Students can use the book recommendation brochures to preview different books and then select one (or more) that they’d like to sample in each genre. This kind of activity is great because it encourages students to explore new genres and authors they otherwise might never sample.
Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need to have all (or any) of the featured books for a successful book tasting/speed dating activity. You can do absolutely all of this digitally, thanks to Overdrive’s free book samples! For more information on using Overdrive, head to this blog post, and for more ideas for “speed dating” style lessons, check out this blog post!
8. Independent Reading Projects
Once your students are familiar with the book recommendation brochures and see just how cool the interactive personality quizzes are, give them the option to create their own brochures! This makes for a great interactive reading project because it allows students to showcase their favorite books and celebrate their reading progress. In addition, designing a book brochure is a great way for students to exercise their summarizing, reviewing, and critical thinking skills.
But perhaps the best part of a book brochure reading project? The presentations! You can say goodbye to boring book reports, because the personality quizzes make for the BEST project presentations. Students love taking their peers’ book personality quizzes, and they get even more excited about student favorites than teacher-recommended books!
9. Genre Studies
Because each brochure focuses on a different genre, these resources are perfect for teaching literary genres to your students! If you’re planning a genre study unit, introduce each genre with a book brochure! Then, ask students to use the brochure, its featured titles, and their own books/knowledge to generate a list of genre characteristics.
Even if you’re not tasked with teaching literary genres, it’s never a bad idea to highlight different genres to help students explore books outside of their comfort zones. Try featuring a different genre each month: give your students the genre brochure, let them explore titles, and feature a variety of books through book talks, Book Trailer Tuesday, and First Chapter Friday.
10. Back to School Activity
One of my first priorities at the beginning of the school year is rekindling my students’ love for reading and generating lots of excitement about good books! By the time I launch independent reading, I want students to be fired up with a long list of books on their “to-read” lists. So it only makes sense to incorporate the book brochures in back-to-school activities. For example, I am thinking about adding a “explore the classroom library & book brochures” station to my back-to-school learning stations. For more back-to-school ideas that will work for in-person OR virtual learning, head to this blog post.
5 BONUS IDEAS FOR USING THE BOOK BROCHURES
- Reading Conferences: Use the book brochures to support students during reading conferences! The brochures will help you discuss books & tailor your recommendations to each student.
- Monthly Reading Challenges: Use the book brochures to launch monthly reading challenges. For example, you could challenge students to read nonfiction in November and dystopian in December!
- “What To Read If You Liked ______” Resources: The brochures are entirely editable, so you can easily tweak one to create “What To Read If You Like The Hunger Games” or “What To Read If You Love Alan Gratz” brochures for your students! These kinds of specific book rec brochures will be sure to hook even your pickiest readers!
- Library Scavenger Hunt: Help students explore more books with a library scavenger hunt featuring the book brochures. You can ask students to find books in different genres, books with certain words in the title, books published in the last year or two, books with certain colors on the cover, etc. The possibilities are endless!
- YOUR CHOICE: The book brochures are completely editable, so you can design your own creations to add to the collection. For example, I might create the following brochures: Miss G’s All-Time Favorites, Class of 2022’s Best Books of The Year, or What To Read If You Like Stranger Things
FYI, I do have plans to create an entirely new set of book brochures in the future! The current set features genres, but the future set will feature topics & characteristics. Instead of genres, you’ll find topics like “books about sports” and “books with multiple narrators” in that bundle. Stay tuned for that resource! In the meantime, check out the genre book brochure bundle for middle school HERE.
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