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This article describes our collaborative inquiry, three teacher educators/researchers of literacy from different institutions who shared a concern about how few teacher candidates in our programs neither viewed themselves as readers nor possessed a love of reading, qualities we view as key to supporting all children as lifelong readers, writers, and communicators. In this paper, we share how we took action and studied the use of book talks in our programs to support a culture of lifelong reading among our teacher candidates and to offer possibilities for candidates’ future teaching experiences. The study took place over two years. In phase one, we studied groups of our candidates from our literacy/ language arts methods courses as they engaged in book talks. In phase two, we followed-up with nine of the participating candidates, three in each institution, during student teaching or their first year of teaching to explore how the book talk experience influenced their early teaching efforts. Findings show that book talks and the culture created in reading for pleasure and purpose made a positive impression on the way candidates viewed what it means to be a reader and their role as future teachers of literacy. In addition, we found many challenges that impeded candidates’ efforts to act on their visions of using book talks and developing independent readers in their classrooms.

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