Book Talk

Grade Levels: Middle and high school


Sunshine State Standards:

View all Sunshine State Standards


  1. Sign-up sheet
  2. directions worksheet
  3. remote class (establish a relationship with a participating remote class prior to initiating the activity)
  4. computer(s)
  5. class collection of young adult books related to the Holocaust
  6. paper
  7. pens


Prior to initiating this activity with your class, establish a relationship with a remote classroom, preferably outside of your school. You may consider posting a message on an Internet Message Board for teachers interested in being involved in this project.

When you have a partner class established, explain to students that they will be engaged in a unit-long reading/writing project via e-mail, corresponding with a remote classroom. Every student will be paired with a student from the participating class, based on the book they choose to read.

To help students in deciding what books to read, you may wish to bring in the books for a class period and have a book swap. Students sit in a circle and have one minute to glance through the book, look at the cover, and read the back. When you say, "Switch," students pass their book along to the next person, clockwise, and repeat the process until all books have been passed around the circle.

Pass around a sign-up sheet, where students may write their names and the Holocaust book they have chosen to read. E-mail the participating teacher with the list of students and books so that students may begin being paired.

As students read their selected book, have them keep a response journal about what they are reading. Instead of summarizing the material, they are to reflect upon it and relate what they have read to their own lives. Responses might begin with a brief summary, or the statement, "The themes of this book are..." but the main portion of the response states, "This reminded me of a time in my life when..." or "These themes are relevant today because...."

Students are to write in their journals and correspond with their remote reading partner once a week, sharing portions of their journals, questions they might have, new words, dilemmas, and issues brought up by the novel that left them puzzled. The mission is to create an open book talk between the students. E-mail correspondences are to be printed and kept within the journal. These will be collected at the end of the project.

After reading the book, students are to complete one of the following projects:

Students may share their final projects with their e-mail partners as well as with their class.


Evaluate the students based on the journals and projects they have completed. You may wish to develop a rubric specifying the criteria that you will be assessing.

A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 1997-2013.

Timeline People Arts Activities Resources