3 Ways to Use #BookTok in Class

3 ways to use #BookTok in class

by Tracee Orman

Many English teachers enter the profession because we have such a deep love for reading and literature. But one of the biggest frustrations of teaching English language arts is the time constraints of the job (along with all the added paperwork), limiting the time we have for reading for pleasure.

I am sure I am not alone in admitting that many years I was lucky to read two or three books total. I was embarrassed when students came to me asking for book recommendations. I was their English teacher, after all. Shouldn't I be keeping up with all the latest greatest books? 

Using BookTok in class
This post is for all of you teachers out there feeling down on yourselves for not reading more. I am here to tell you that you should NEVER feel bad; our jobs require us to devote so much time to reading our students' work that we rarely have time to read for ourselves. Plus, I have a solution for you. It's called BookToks and they are fabulous!

Users of the popular social media app TikTok have been using the hashtag #BookTok to share their book recommendations, especially in young adult literature. The videos are short clips and often use comparisons, genres, or feelings to appeal to users. Publishers began to notice that TikTok was actually driving sales and decided to jump on the bandwagon, as well.

So how can BookToks help you? Here are three ways you can use them with your students:

1. Use BookToks to recommend books to your students. Teens are receptive to recommendations from their peers; short videos make the recs all the more appealing. You can share the #BookTok hashtag with students and have them browse for suggested reads. If you have younger students and do not want to refer them to social media, you can research the hashtag yourself to get ideas. Here are some videos and accounts that may help:

    Books that make you cry 

    Books for the sports fan

    Books that represent LGBTQ+ (fantasy)    

    Books that represent LGBTQ+ (contemporary)

    Books with good energy       

    Romantic books     

    Historical fiction                          


@mrs_orman If you like this book…try this one. #bookrecs #booktok #yalit #youngadultbooks #teachersoftiktok #classroomlibrary ♬ Suns - Official Sound Studio

2. Have students use BookToks to make comparisons between books and other mediums (such as songs).
One of the fun trends is to select a song then share all the books that remind you of that song. You can see an example here: Caitsbooks Enemy. Having students create their own short videos actually uses a lot of higher-level skills. Plus, they will get the opportunity to be creative and use a platform they probably already know and love. But just to be safe, you can have them create videos without using the app--especially if you have younger students. You can use my pack for assigning the activity or create your own.

BookTok book talks

3. Replace your traditional book talks with BookToks. Are they shorter? Yes. Do they offer as much information about the book? No. But BookToks are a great way to relate and connect with students and you can show YOUR creative side. Plus, the preparation you go through to prepare book talks for students can be very time consuming. You can create a short BookTok in minutes and the appeal can be just as effective (maybe more!). Don't worry if the idea of creating a video terrifies you--it terrified me, too. But I love to share my love for books and have for years on Instagram. So I decided to start sharing on TikTok and I really love the format. You can find my BookToks here. I plan to keep adding videos with books I am currently reading and those I recommend for your classroom library.

I hope you've found some new ideas that will make recommending books a little easier for you! You can also check out these great posts and resources from my fellow Coffee Shop friends:

Book Talk Hacks for Secondary Teachers by Room 213

Independent Novel Discussion Questions by Presto Plans

Thanks for reading!

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