Book Commercials

Book Commercials are a highlight of my Language Arts block in fifth grade.  The rubric (below) is passed out early in the year so they understand the expectations and how they will be graded.  I model Book Commercials many times at the beginning of the year to teach the procedure, but also to introduce my students to books I think may get them reading at the pace I expect.  It is also a great way to review genres at the beginning of the year.  Modeling Book Commercials also begins the dialogue of sharing great books between myself and my students as well as my students to each other that lasts all year.

When a student is ready, they choose a date and sign up.  I usually allow two Book Commercial spots per class.  That way, it only takes 2 minutes but we always have a steady flow of books to learn about!  The students are very familiar with the procedure since it has been modeled so many times.  I keep a stack of rubrics on a clipboard by my desk for easy grading.  The clipboard also has a class list where I can easily reference who has already done a Book Commercial that quarter and who may need a gentle reminder to sign up.

The purpose of a Book Commercial is to share great authors, books, or genres that other classmates may not be familiar with.  For that reason, we don’t do book commercials on books that have movies or books that someone in class has already done a commercial on.

One great aspect of Book Commercials is being introduced to amazing books and new genres.    Last year, after my students’ raved about graphic novels, I finally tried a few.  I’ve discovered a love of graphic novels!  But the best outcome of Book Commercials is the shared dialogue and experiences we have as a class.

Book Commercial Rubric

Reader’s Name: ___________________Date:__________

Outstanding- 10 Satisfactory – 7 Unsatisfactory – 4
Student shows evidence of having thoroughly read the book.
Book is a “just right” book level for student (not too hard or too easy).
Student brought realia to link the book to real life (to link the book to a real object).
Student shows evidence of having practiced the book talk at home (prepared, not stumbling over words).
Student made eye contact with the audience.
Student used an appropriate volume.
Student told the name of the book and author, and showed the book’s cover.
Student read aloud the lead or favorite part (PRACTICE AT HOME, KNOW ALL THE WORDS).
Student thoroughly summarized the book, but didn’t give away the ending.
Student persuaded the class to read the book within the one minute time frame.

Cynthia Lord’s A Handful of Stars


I asked my husband to pick out a book for me from the large stack that resides on my shelf.  He gamely looked at the titles and covers and chose this one.  I groaned and told him, “It’s summer…I don’t want to read a sad book about a dead dog!”  I thought I had the plot already figured out, even though I love Cynthia Lord (Rules, Touch Blue) and should have known she’s good enough to surprise me.

This book is perfect for my realistic-fiction loving students who enjoy stories about friendship and/or animals.  I’m going to buy an additional copy of this book to keep for a special book/note combo for when a student might need some extra attention and advice on what to do when friendships hit hard times.

My favorite quote in the book is, “To do brave things, you don’t have to be hugely brave.  You only have to be a little bit braver than you are scared.”