I love reading. And I especially love sharing my reading with others. That’s why I love professional (and personal!) book clubs and book study groups so much: they invite me into a community of readers that always expands my thinking and furthers my learning. 

But here’s the thing: teachers are busy. Sure, we might want to take part in book clubs, but we might hesitate because of our busy schedules, wondering if we will REALLY get something out of participating that we wouldn't get reading the book alone. 

As a coach, we need to connect teachers to the right book, convince them the content is worth reading and ensure their time spent discussing the book will be worth it. In short, we need to show them the value of the book club. And we can do that with book bits. 

Book bits are short phrases and bits of information about a text. Originally coined by Molly Ness in her article in The Reading Teacher and later shared on The Margin Notes blog, book bits capture curiosity, activate background knowledge and set a purpose for reading. Designed to hook students into personal reading selections, book bits are the perfect way to invite teachers into professional book clubs, too. 

Here’s how they work:

First, you’ll need to select a professional book for your book club. You might choose a newly published text, a book focused on an upcoming unit of study or a text based on a topic you know teachers are interested in learning more about. Be sure that you’re choosing books with the teachers’ (and students) interests and wishes in mind so they feel like the book was especially chosen for them. Better yet, offer multiple books for teachers to choose from to guarantee a good match.

Then, it’s time to create the book bits. Think of this book bit as an invitation to jump into the book...and the book club. You can create the book bit in any format you’d like: a Google Slide, a Google Doc, a digital Smore, a Canva graphic, a paper handout or even an old-fashioned index card. Here’s a sampling of what you might include:

  • Book title and author
  • A sampling of chapter titles
  • Compelling quotes
  • A question or two the book addresses
  • The name of an important chart of graphic
  • A list of lesson ideas or resources
  • Sample resources from the Appendix
  • A link to a website included in the book

Basically, you want to offer teachers important bits of information to entice them into reading the book, give them some background information on what’s included and leave them wanting to know more. 

All that’s left is to share it with teachers! You might feature the book bits at a faculty meeting as you get ready to launch the book club, leave printed copies in teachers’ mailboxes or send it off in an email. Need some inspiration? You’ll find a simple book bit I created for my newest book, Leading Literate Lives: Habits and Mindsets for Reimagining Classroom Practice below:

It only takes a bit of time (get it?!) to create the book bit, but teachers will likely appreciate having this information at their fingertips so they can see the benefit of joining in the book club. And not only that, the book bits act as perfect conversation starters for your first session together. You might talk about what convinced teachers to attend, which book bits piqued their professional curiosity and which bits they can’t wait to jump into conversation about. 

One last thing: Save your book bits and curate them together on your website to easily invite teachers into future book clubs and celebrate completed book clubs, too!

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