One of the features that I admired in Penny Kittle’s classroom as shown on the DVD accompanying Write Beside Them is a regular book talk in which Kittle shares good books with her class and has them write down titles that sound interesting in their writer’s notebooks.  I tried it out, and realized my students weren’t getting the point.

I understand I was a very weird kid, but I liked book recommendations from my teachers.  I got what we call in my family “a wild hair” [crazy idea] about getting ready for college by reading all the recommended books.  I craved book lists.  I wanted someone to tell me what to read so that I could be ready for college. I asked my eleventh grade teacher Mrs. Patsel for a reading list.  Now that I’ve been teaching about 11 years, I totally understand her reaction.  After she picked her jaw off the floor, she promised to bring me one the next day.  When I asked for the list, I was presented instead with a box of discarded books that used to be used in the school’s classrooms.  I didn’t know what to say.  I just wanted reading suggestions, but she gave me the actual books.  And you know, if a kid asked me for the same thing I asked Mrs. Patsel for, I’d probably do exactly what she did.

At any rate, my point, and I’m getting to it, is that I decided to create a podcast to share these books instead of using the class time.  I don’t know if it’s a good idea or bad idea, but my thinking was that if you decided it didn’t suck, maybe you might want to use in your classroom, so I decided to publish the first podcast here, too.  I will recommend that you subscribe to my podcast feed f you want the whole shebang I provide for my students, including links to Amazon so you can buy the books, links to information about the authors, and other interesting links, as well as a podcast transcript.  Through the feed, you can also subscribe via iTunes or another podcatcher.  I spent an hour or so trying to figure how to create a feed just for the podcasts.  I feel accomplished, but I am also nervous it wasn’t worthwhile.

Here’s my first ever podcast, warts and all:

Mrs. Huff’s BookCast: Episode 1

I probably won’t update this blog each time I post a podcast, so check out the feed if you decide you like it and might want to be notified when it’s updated.  If you want to download the podcast, try clicking through to the feed to make it easier.  I have downloading audio disabled here on this site.

8 thoughts on “BookCast”

  1. The booklist is not a dumb idea at all.

    In 6th or 7th grade, when we were still required to do book reports and projects on books, my teacher gave us an interesting way to find our next book. She had us to the research. We started off by picking a genre, and then were told to go online to amazon or other sites to find the book. Once we found one, we were to have it approved by the teacher and hopefully find it on the shelves of our school library.

    This is how I found one of my favorite books of all time, Sabriel. I'm not much of an outside-of-class reader, but I usually find that the books I end up loving most are the ones I would not have found if not for some in-depth searching or a chance recommendation.

  2. I'm glad you like the idea. And you're right — Sabriel is a pretty good book. I haven't read any of Nix's other books, but my daughter has.

    I'm just hoping that someone likes one of the books. I did get a student in my Hero elective to read the Harry Potter books.

  3. I share in your need to have a list of reading material, and would definitely react the way your teacher did. I will be doing a booklist to share with my students, and I intend to listen to your podcast and see if I might be able to use it in my classes.

    Yay for good ideas on a Monday!

    By the way, thanks for adding me to your blogroll! I'm super-flattered!

  4. Good job on the format/organization/script of your podcast. I wish students could be more appreciative of our efforts to reach them.

  5. Hi, there. I followed a comment from another blog to yours and figured I'd continue the chain. 🙂

    When I took high school classes, very few of the students were ever interested in the reading material. Summer reading lists used to be the jackpot for me, mostly because they were comprised of a long list of books from which students could pick three. I'd always read them all. When I started taking basic English classes at the community college, I grew much more fond of the textbooks, which generally held more material than could be covered within the semester, serving as a starting point to find more reading material. If any of my teachers ever mentioned an author or piece during class, I'd write it down and look for a copy later if I had the time.

    So, while not all students may appreciate a reading list, at least one or two certainly will. 😉

  6. Would you give me permission to post a link to this on my own blog? I think students might really benefit from it. -Laura Mazzola

  7. Thanks, Katherine. I consider it worth it for one or two.

    Laura, you have my permission, and the same goes for anyone else wondering the same thing. In fact, I'm delighted.

Comments are closed.