There are many ways to create buzz about books in the classroom, and one of my favorite ways is to have a “Coming Soon!” bulletin board about new releases. I want my students to develop good reading habits, and one of those habits is learning how to make plans about what to read next. As adults we refer to many sources when looking for new books. We check our favorite blogs, newspapers, journals, and Goodreads. We ask friends for recommendations and we join book clubs. We plan our reading in advance of vacations, plane trips, and cozy weekends. Our students need to learn how to plan too. One way we can help them plan is by teaching them to find books in our classroom libraries and in the school library. Another is to help them find out what’s coming soon.
How do I find these books?
1) I talk to my students. When I’m conferring with them during reading workshop, I find out what they’re reading. We look up the series that they’re reading and the authors’ names on Amazon. For example, if they’re in the middle of reading the Amulet series, we look it up on Amazon in order to find out when the next Amulet book will be released. We make sticky notes with the dates, so my students can make plans for future reading.
2) I also find titles of the new releases by reading the Nerdy Book Club blog. This is an incredible resource! Colby Sharp just had a terrific post about upcoming reads.
3) Goodreads! I google “Goodreads 2016 books for middle grades” or “Goodreads Picture books of 2016.” I look through the new book titles and talk to my students about which books might appeal to them. It takes a bit of time and searching but it’s all worth it. My students cheer when new books go up on the board. (Please let me know if there are other ways to find new releases. I am always looking for new ideas.)
Last, I print out the book covers and short summaries from Amazon.com. I make little stars that say the date that the book will be released. Sometimes I choose not to post a summary. I choose this if my students are familiar with the books in the series (Amulet, Baby-Sitters Club) and I don’t want the summary to give away any spoilers.
The books I have posted right now are:
What I love about the “Coming Soon!” board is that it is a community effort and it strengthens us as a community of readers. Students recommend books and we look up new reads together. My hope is that they are learning a lifelong reading skill- how to make plans as readers.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Dana Johansen is hoping that Punxsutawney Phil will not see his shadow on Feb. 2 and there will be an early spring. In the meantime, she spends her time teaching fifth grade in wintery Connecticut, sitting with her yellow lab on the couch reading YA Lit, and watching the tv show, The Big Bang Theory. She has taught elementary and middle school for fourteen years. Dana is a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University where she studies blended learning in reading and writing workshop. She is the co-author of the books Teaching Interpretation and Flip Your Writing Workshop.