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Student Reading Consultations

In this program, the librarian works individually with students to learn about their reading preferences and make personalized book suggestions for the students.


Literature appreciation




Classroom teacher and/or parent


Students will discuss elements of a book that they enjoy to assist in finding new titles to read.

Students will select titles to read based on a librarian book talk.

A place to write notes from the meeting with the student, on paper or online, can help when making selections for the next meeting.


Two twenty-minute meetings


AASL National School Library Standards

V.A.1 Reading widely and deeply in multiple formats and write and create for a variety of purposes.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.9 Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.

Instructional Procedure

Communicate with teachers, parents, and students that you are available to meet one-on-one with any students who would like help with selecting new books to read. Ask them to include the reasons for requesting help when asking for a meeting.

Arrange a twenty-minute time to meet one-on-one with the student in the library.

During the meeting, acknowledge the reason for meeting. Allow the student to share his or her perspective on the reason for the meeting. Listen for clues that may give insight into how to overcome barriers with specific book selections.

Ask the student about books that he or she has read and enjoyed recently (this may be over the entire school year or the previous summer), and then ask what he or she enjoyed about the books.

Listen for clues about why the student connected with the stories. Typical connections may be the genre, format, or story elements. For example, a student may express interest in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid. When discussing what was enjoyable about the book, he or she may mention the illustrations, the humor, or the family elements of the story. If you immediately think of books with similar elements, ask if he or she has read those books as well. Continue to discuss elements of the story, encouraging the student to do most of the talking. Inquire and listen for more detailed aspects of their enjoyment of the books to look for stronger connections.

If the student is interested in nonfiction, ask the same question looking for clues about whether the topic or type of nonfiction is appealing. If the topic is the appealing element, encourage discussion to see if books with a related topic or fiction books with a related topic may be appealing.

The meeting should end with your having a sense of what the student enjoys as a reader. The success of the selections you will offer to the student hinges on the understanding of why and how the student connects to certain books and knowledge of the library collection to find related connections.

Between meetings, select books that are related to the student's interests and address concerns. For example, if a student is consistently abandoning books, choose titles that are shorter while still meeting the student's interests.

During the second meeting, make a goal number of books for the student to select and share your goal with the student. The student should have final say on whether he or she is willing to try a book. Express that not all books have to be finished, but that the student is expected to commit to trying the books. If abandoning books is a concern, remind the student why he or she is meeting with the librarian and that the hope is that the student is selecting books that he or she hopes to finish.

Book talk each title and include a reference about why it was selected and how it connects to something the student shared at the first meeting.

After book talking, ask the student what books he or she would be willing to try. Ask the student if he or she needs a book for today and let the student know that you will share a list of the books chosen.

Type up the list of titles the student selected and follow up with the student during the next meeting to see how he or she is progressing with what they are reading.


Each of these experiences will be differentiated based on the needs and interests of individual students.


Check in with the student one week following the meeting. Make the discussion conversational but informative about what the student is reading and his or her enjoyment or feelings about the experience. Address any concerns as appropriate through additional follow-ups.

Additional Resources

Book reviews containing summaries from School Library Connection and other publications may be helpful in identifying books that would appeal to particular students' interests.

About the Author

Tom Bober is a school librarian, 2018 Library Journal Mover and Shaker, former Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress, and author of the book Elementary Educator's Guide to Primary Sources: Strategies for Teaching. He is a Digital Public Library of America Community Rep, a member of the Teachers Advisory Board for the National Portrait Gallery, and a co-chair of the Education Advisory Committee of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. Tom writes about student learning on AASL's Knowledge Quest blog and publications such as School Library Connection and American Libraries and has given workshops and spoken across the country. His foundation is built on over twenty years in public education, with six years as an elementary classroom teacher, seven years as a building and district instructional technology specialist, and over eight years in school libraries. Find him at and on Twitter @CaptainLibrary.

Select Citation Style:
Bober, Tom. "Student Reading Consultations." School Library Connection, December 2018,
Bober, Tom. "Student Reading Consultations." School Library Connection, December 2018.
Bober, T. (2018, December). Student reading consultations. School Library Connection. Retrieved from

Entry ID: 2183399

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