Book Hooks (it’s cooler than it sounds)

Remember the puppets on the reading rug when you were little?  They got your attention and direct it towards books.  For older grades, Book Hooks are 1-5 minute activities to introduce books, build excitement for a story, and find joy in books.   Used before read-alouds, guided reading, or book-commercials, they show students that with a good book, you can let your hair down, smile, and be silly.


Publishers offer ready-made Book Hooks!

Most publishers offer wikis or exciting interactive sites.  When students were able to click on Captain Awesome‘s “Meet the Characters” and “Read an Excerpt”–they got excited about a book series while doing nothing more than reading.

Other fun, low-tech options can be found on the publisher’s sites like this Lunch Lady series printable.


Involve students.

Elicit students to help you think of fun ways to get their friends to preview a book.  One Plants Versus Zombies enthusiast loved both the game and books, so I helped him print a screenshot of him playing the game to share.  The 60 seconds it took to explain the premise of the fantasy world (and maybe another 30 seconds to brag about his high score), resulted in 5 boys reading the entire 9 book series for hours of total reading time.  Silly hooks build community and friendships around books.

Less output is more.

Limited output is needed to build interest in the books.


Here, students previewed illustrations from Raina Telgemeier’s books Sisters and Drama.  They signed their name (most also discussed spontaneously and unprompted) to a situation they could relate to.  A subtle, almost subliminal connection is made between students and books they sign their names to…but without any pressure.

Don’t let elementary grades have a monopoly on excitement for reading.  Take a minute before you read and bring on the fun!


Published by

Claire Walter

I am an ESL teacher and I promote differentiated, compassionate instruction and assessment for English Language Learners.

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