Someone holding a stack of books
Teaching Strategy

Introducing a New Book

Spark students’ interest in a book before reading it by having them make predictions and ask questions about its contents.

Published:

At a Glance

Teaching Strategy

Language

English — US

Subject

  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies

Grade

6–12

Overview

About This Teaching Strategy

This activity asks students to make predictions and ask questions about a book before they jump into reading it. It can be used to introduce students to any new book, whether a work of literature or a resource book such as Holocaust and Human Behavior. Spending some time looking at the cover and previewing the content of a book is an effective way to spark students’ interest and provide students with context that will help them engage with the material.

 

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Lesson Plans

Steps for Implementation

Ask students to examine the cover of their book. In their journals, they can record associations that come to mind either from the words in the title or the cover illustration. Based on the information on the cover, students can discuss in pairs or small groups what they think the book might be about. They can also list questions that the cover raises for them. Prompts for this step include: What do you see on the book’s cover? What does this tell you about the book? Based on what you see so far, what questions do you have about the book?

Allow students five to ten minutes to flip through the interior of the book, recording notes about what they find. You might want to highlight specific features, such as the table of contents or index, or you might wait to see what students first discover on their own. Prompts for this step include: What do you notice inside the book? How is it organized? What words or ideas stand out to you? What does your investigation tell you about the book? Based on what you see so far, what questions do you have about the book?

Provide students with the opportunity to share their predictions with a small group or as a whole class. You can generate a list of questions about the book and post this on the wall. As students read the text, they can try to answer these questions. This discussion time provides an opportunity for you to bring up aspects of the book that students may not have noticed. For example, you might call attention to a glossary or to information about the author. Or you might spend more time exploring the titles of chapters to get a feeling for what will be covered in the book.

Variations

Here are some specific prompts that can be used when introducing our resource book Holocaust and Human Behavior.

  • Why do you think it is called a "resource book" as opposed to a "textbook"?
  • Describe the image on the cover. What does the cover image mean to you? Why do you think it was selected as the cover image for this book?
  • What do you think "Holocaust and human behavior" means?
  • What are “connection questions”? What is implied by the label “connection”?
  • What chapter titles stand out to you the most? Why?

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