I’m always on a mission to find innovative, fun, and efficient ways to recommend better books to my students. When I manage to get the right book into the right reader’s hands, magic happens. (If you know, you know, am I right?!) While this will always be a magical experience, the reality is that behind the scenes, it’s not so much magic as it is a strong system (and maybe a touch of book fairy dust). In all seriousness, I work hard to recommend great books to my readers. But I’m always looking for ways to work smarter, not harder. I’m always searching for “shortcuts” to help students find books, ways to streamline my book recommendations, and strategies that empower my readers to select their own books. So allow me to introduce you to my latest addition to my book rec toolbox: Visual Book Recommendation Posters.
Designed as book stacks, these posters for middle and high school readers give students quick book recommendations tailored to a variety of popular topics in middle grade and young adult literature. Topics include sports, survival, mental health, grief, coming-of-age, music, refugees, and more. While these convenient book rec posters look great on a bulletin board, the reality is that you can use them for so much more in your middle or high school ELA classroom. Whether you’re displaying them in frames in your classroom or coordinating the posters with your classroom library organization, the possibilities are endless!
Ready to help your students fall back in love with reading this year? Here are 10 different ways to use the book posters to help your readers find better books.
1. DISPLAY THE POSTERS ON A BULLETIN BOARD OR FRAME THEM TO CREATE A “GALLERY WALL” OF BOOK RECS
My favorite part about these posters is that they are adorable AND purposeful–what I like to call “functional decor.” I’m a big believer that you can have your cake and eat it, too: you can have a cute classroom AND a practical, purposeful learning space. Not only will these posters brighten up your classroom, but they will also serve as a resource every time a student needs a new book.
These book recommendation posters are perfect for those students who seem to aimlessly wander the classroom library shelves, because they provide a better starting point. They ask the question, “What topic are you interested in reading about today?” and beckon the reader with a visual array of recommendations.
2. CREATE A VISUAL CATALOG TO HELP STUDENTS SEARCH FOR NEW BOOKS
In addition to hanging the posters up around the classroom or library, consider compiling them into a binder or booklet that can serve as a catalog of sorts. Keep the visual “catalog” by your classroom library so that students can flip through the recommendations when they are in need of a new book.
Here are a few ideas:
- Slide each poster into a page protector and place each in a 3-ring binder.
- Laminate the posters, hole punch them in the upper left-hand corner, and place them in a binder ring so students can easily flip throught the recommendations.
- Get the posters spiral bound into a professional-looking booklet at a local FedEx or Office Depot store.
An important note: You don’t have to own all of the titles featured in the book rec posters to create this kind of catalog or display them in your classroom. I certainly don’t! It’s actually better this way, because it gives you an opportunity to teach students about other ways to access books: the school library, public library, and Overdrive/Libby. Each year, I’ve gotten many students 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. USE THE POSTERS TO COMPLEMENT BOOK TASTING OR BOOK SPEED DATING ACTIVITIES
The next time you notice your readers are in need of some new books, use the book posters to plan a book tasting to help your students explore new titles. For example, you could host a book tasting focused on one specific topic (such as sports, survival stories, mental health, etc). You could also use the posters to set up a few different book tasting “stations” around the room. For example, you could set up books about sports at one table, survival stories at another, and so on. Whether you mix and match or stick to one theme, you can make these book posters work for you and your students. They make it easy to tailor your book tastings and recommendations to topics your students are most interested in. To learn more about hosting “book speed dating” in your classroom, head to this blog post.
4. CREATE MINI BOOKLETS OF BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS TO GIVE TO YOUR STUDENTS
Give your students the gift that keeps on giving: book recommendations! If you’d like to give students a copy of the book recs without using too much paper and ink, print the posters 4 to a page. Then, cut the pages horizontally, and fold/staple the half-sheets together to create a cute mini-booklet of book recs. You can also try printing 9 to a page and cutting vertically to create bookmarks with recommendations, too.
5. COMPLEMENT BOOK TALKS, BOOK TRAILER TUESDAY, AND FIRST CHAPTER FRIDAY WITH THE POSTERS
While the posters are designed for students, they can also be a super helpful resource to help you plan out book talks, Book Trailer Tuesday, and First Chapter Friday. For example, if you’re looking for a great sports book to hook your students on First Chapter Friday, you can scan through the titles to see which one has the most intriguing first chapter. If you’re hoping to feature a survival story book trailer, you can see which book/s in the stacks have trailers on YouTube. Hint: Dry has a great trailer, but you don’t need to spend time searching for Book Trailer Tuesday links, because I’ve actually compiled a FREE list of links for the entire year. Enter your info below and I’ll send you these goodies ASAP. 🙂
6. LINK TO THE POSTER SLIDES ON YOUR LMS TO CREATE A DIGITAL “HUB” OF BOOK RECS
In addition to displaying these book rec posters in your physical classroom, you can display them in your online learning space and create a digital “hub” for your readers. Whether your platform is Google Classroom, Canvas, or any other LMS, it’s super simple to digitally share these posters with your students. The files are Google Slides, so all you have to do is attach/share with “view only” permission on your secure learning platform. With these sharing permissions, your students can access the slides and any updates you make at any time. If you’re teaching 100% virtually, consider hyperlinking the book spines to their corresponding pages on Overdrive or Goodreads so students can check each title out.
PS: If you want to convert the Google Slides posters to PowerPoint, go to File -> Download > PowerPoint.
7. USE THE POSTERS TO STRENGTHEN YOUR BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS TO STUDENTS
One reason I love these book rec posters is that they don’t just help my students; they help ME, too. I read so many books that I often forget specific titles or authors. When students ask for book recs, I often find myself scrolling back on Goodreads or searching on Google to remember a specific book. So part of the reason I created the book posters the way I did was to give myself a visual, accessible “shortcut” to recalling books for students.
To learn more about another favorite resource that will streamline your book recommendations, check out the following blog posts about my book rec brochures:
- Book Recommendation Brochures: Frequently Asked Questions
- 15 Ways to Use Book Recommendation Brochures
8. EDIT THE GOOGLE SLIDES TO CREATE YOUR OWN BOOK STACKS.
The best part about these book recommendation posters is that they are completely editable in Google Slides. This means you can adjust the posters to your students’ interests AND create new, unique book stacks. Here are a few ideas:
- Create a poster of YOUR favorite books, books you’ve read, books on your TBR, etc. The possibilities are endless. 🙂
- Create a poster of books that are currently “trending” in your classroom.
- Each year, create a new poster of the most popular books of the year. Then, keep the yearly book posters for a fun and memorable display of books over the years.
- Create a blank template and give it to your students so they can create their own stacks of favorite books. If you want, you can compile these individual posters into a class book or ebook.
9. USE THE BOOK REC POSTERS TO SUPPORT BOOK CLUBS, LIT CIRCLES, AND/OR INDEPENDENT READING
If you’re looking to launch lit circles or an independent reading unit, but you don’t know where to begin, start with these posters. The book recommendations are especially helpful if you want to facilitate topic-based book clubs. Because the posters are all editable in Google Slides, you can easily change up the book stacks to reflect your literature circle options. If you decide to do genre-based lit circles, you can edit the posters for that, too. For more information on setting up book clubs, check out this blog post. For tips on facilitating book clubs, head to this blog post.
10. COMPLEMENT BOOK BINS, BOOK DISPLAYS, OR CLASSROOM LIBRARY SHELVES WITH THE POSTERS
The wonderful thing about these book posters is that they can probably fit into what you’re already doing in your classroom. This year, I am doing a bit of reorganizing in my classroom library to make certain genres and sections more appealing and accessible. My classroom library is currently organized by genre, but I am working on adding topic-based book bins to give students even more options for finding the perfect book. The posters will complement this structure perfectly because if a certain poster catches a reader’s eye, they can head straight to the corresponding bin or shelf.
I hope these ideas get you thinking about all of the possibilities for these book recommendation posters. They are truly a joy to create, so please let me know if you have any suggestions for topics that I can add to the poster sets in the future. These resources are growing bundles, which means I will be adding to them based on what my students ask for AND what you need in your classroom. So request away in the comments! 🙂 You can find the middle school posters HERE and the high school set HERE. You can also click on the pictures below to go straight to each resource.
If you like these book recommendation posters, you’ll LOVE my book recommendation brochures. While the posters are topic-based, the brochures are genre-based, so the two resources complement each other perfectly. Check out the middle school brochure collection HERE and the high school bundle HERE.
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