Mrs. Lipshaw’s (b)Log – Question: What was first on my lesson plans after a six week medical leave? Answer: BOOK TALKS!

During the last week of my medical leave from teaching, I began to think about what I wanted to do with my students my first day back. I could…

  1. Follow the lesson plans my guest teacher thoughtfully left for me.
  2. Progress monitor my students and get data showing me where they were at on their IEP and intervention goals.
  3. Do an activity that will help me reconnect with my students since the guest teacher actually had them one week longer than I did.

The choice was easy – three! And I instantaneously knew the best way to do that; I would BOOK TALK all the amazing #kidlit I read while I was home recovering from surgery.

This summer, I was inspired by the most invigorating professional development I have ever attended–nErDcampMI.  As all good PDs should, nErDcamp led me to a pivotal AHA moment.  Reflecting on my teaching practice, I knew I was successfully teaching my students how to read. I knew I was getting my students enthusiastic about learning. BUT, I realized my performance was less than stellar when guiding my students to enjoy reading and become lifelong readers. This from a teacher who has been a devout reader all her life – blasphemous! This realization prompted me to clean out all the old dull leveled books in our resource room library (that were sitting on shelves for teacher use, not for students use) and replace them with updated, diverse books of all genres–creating a living classroom library!

My next step…

…getting my students excited about books!

Before returning to school, I reached out to the Twitter #kidlit community to get their expertise on chatting up books and as expected they were generous with their suggestions.

My first days back to school, I raved about my favorite books, showed the students book trailers of  others, and introduced them to  Flipgrid/authorconnection is an amazing website created by @MissNikkiIn5th that features authors introducing their books and reading the first chapters of the books they have written. I was thrilled to see that my students couldn’t keep their hands off the books. They were staking their claim on their favorites before I even said “GO!” Since I only see my students for 30 – 40 minutes at a time, I had to curtail their enthusiasm and have them hold off from choosing their books until I saw them again. I know, mean teacher…

The next day, I had the books spread out across the room. Students had time to browse, touch, and yes, I saw a few hug the books. They put a post it note with their names on the books they wanted to read and then numbered their top three. By the end of the day, I was able to sort out the post its and deliver a first choice book to each of my students. When I went to deliver a book to one of my second grade students, he interrupted his classroom reading time to announce “Hey guys look what I got!” and held his book up high for all to see! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

Thank you to the authors of these amazing books! What books are you talking about with your students?






Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw is an award-winning nonfiction children’s book author and former elementary special education teacher who is passionate about growing young minds. Suzanne’s first nonfiction picture book, I Campaigned for Ice Cream: A Boy’s Quest for Ice Cream Trucks, debuted in April 2019 from Warren Publishing. Her second book Mighty Mahi launched from Doodle and Peck Publishing in March 2022. Suzanne enjoys speaking to schools about writing, leadership, and how kids can make a difference in our world. The proud momma of two grown boys, Suzanne lives in Waterford, MI with her husband and furry writing companion Ziggy. When she’s not dreaming up new writing projects, you can find her kayaking on the lake, hiking the trail, practicing at the yoga studio, or comparing paint swatches at the local Sherwin Williams.

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